20 July 2017 13:07

The Nation and Orange

'We saved the future of Turkey of 50 million' said President Tayyip Erdoğan and implied that he has no interest in the rest of 30 million in Turkey.


In the days when the 50% was kept at home, the only source the AKP appealed to in order to stay at power was one-half of the electoral. As for the other half, it seemed easy enough to control it given that it was a fragmented amorphous and non-homogenous mass unable to unite and hence equally easy to rule through classification in accordance with their criminal category…

There were perhaps those who expected messages of unity and togetherness in the anniversary of the 15 July coup as it is customary to in such days. But nothing of the sort happened. For, messages of unity and togetherness usually target those entrenched electors on the other side. For this reason, rather than such a message, AKP raised its hands by bringing together disparate sections while the shade of the recently completed justice march and the results of the referendums were hanging above it. Using Erdoğan’s statement that “we lost 250 heroes on the evening of 15 July. As a result we saved the future of Turkey of 50 million” AKP implied that it has no interest in the rest of 30 million which also makes the country’s population. These sections were already excluded from within the scope of the nation but its clear explanation was presented on 15 July.

While the posters, videos, programmes and finally the public speeches prepared for 15 July continued to speedily weave the nationalist-religious shirt the 50 million has been forced to don, YelizKoray, a journalist was been detained for an article containing “the old type” nationalism. This treatment demonstrating that traditional nationalism which has been seeking to keep the myth of a collective nation, whose historic continuity was founded on victories of the past could now be ground for legal action, it was also a signifier of the changing scope of the nationalism witnessed on the public squares of 15 July. Henceforth, the interests of the people had unified with the interests of the rulers as with their perception of threat combining with threats against the rulers. As of now, the nation is an identity dressed on a monolithic mass comprised of the AKP electoral. 

While daily incidents of attacks on people because of what they wear demonstrate that words such as “it should be evident what someone walking around a public square is from what they are wearing” are not uttered for nothing, it is becoming clear that this matter of wearing and dressing is of utmost importance for those busy with trying to stay in power for years to come. Again the “advice” on 15 July for getting FETÖ [Fethullahist Terror Organisation] prisoners to wear identical uniforms combines with this very reflex. First and foremost; the resurrection of the single type uniforms which were proscribed after struggles by 12 September 1980 coup prisoners where grave prices were paid, is a rematch to these struggles.

On the other hand, once it is recalled that, in connection with the operations against FETÖ, hundreds of thousands of people who have nothing to do with this organisation, have been sacked, imprisoned and that anyone could be branded as such with a moment’s notice, the matter of single type dress cannot be regarded as one that is solely to do with prisons. On the contrary, the single type dress is a uniform the entire society is being forced to wear.

Guantanamo emerged in the US as a particular extension of the “doctrine of pre-emptive war,” the impact of which can be observed on the entire society. And Guantanamo actually stood there acting as the warden for the rehabilitation of first the migrants and then the entire US populous facing attempts to be subjugated through intimidation. As with the occupation of Iraq, Guantanamo was a flagship for the regime of appropriating crimes to one’s enemy after they were identifiedas such and of finding criminals for the crime. The orange overalls the prisoners were forced to wear there for this reason, in actual fact, is a sword of Damocles hanging over everyone whether they were imprisoned there or not.

Here the single type dress must have been found appealing for facilitating the ease with which all are subjected to a blanket treatment rather than striving to divide the opposition which now seems to unite more readily and rather than criminalising organisations by enumerating them one after another. For, 30 million people have now begun to be conceived as being outside the “nation” and have been turned into a demon of a single colour and single identity. The politics which rendered a 50-30 division of the population also chose the dresses of both of the sides. The nation and orange!