Turkey vs. Democracy

The following is the first part of a paper presented by Professor Katchatur Pilikian at a recent seminar at SOAS, entitled Again and again Turkey: Freedom of expression under attack, Solidarity Meeting for imprisoned journalists, human rights activists Academics, Publishers, Elected Kurdish Politicians. The event was held on 3rd February 2012, and was organised by the Kurdish Society at SOAS and the Kurdish Studies and Student Organisation.

You can download the paper in full here.

“Give me an adequate army, with power to provide it with more pay and better food than falls to the lot of average man, and I will undertake within thirty years, to make the majority of the population believe that two and two are three, that water freezes when it gets hot and boils when it gets cold, or any other nonsense that might seem to serve the interest of the state. Of course, even when these beliefs have been generated, people would not put the kettle in the refrigerator when they wanted it to boil […] No person who did not enthusiastically accept the official doctrine would be allowed to teach or to have any position of power. Only the highest officials, in their cups would whisper to each other what rubbish it all is; then they would laugh and drink again. (Unpopular Essays, 1950)”

The above Mark Twainesque political satire belongs to arguably ‘the most distinguished philosopher of the 20th century’, Bertrand Russell, the Nobel Prize laureate for literature in 1950. The sarcastic image of ‘boiler freezer’ paradox is exactly what’s happening in many countries governed by the dictates of an industrial military complex. Hence their hypocritical practices in the name of democracy, freedom, human rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, people’s rights, sometimes even socialism and what not, are ultimately becoming their antinomies in real life – in other words, the exact opposites of their derailing propaganda. The latter is often camouflaged with post-modernistic neo-con and neo-lib mantras of modernisation, restructuring, collateral damage, hard and soft power, and many more alike, all sanitised, nay even sanctified with cynical panache by the tutelage of Globalisation.
However, the truth of the matter remains, somehow not forgotten by the oppressed peoples of the world, that all the battle cries of genuine Freedom and Democracy in the last twenty six centuries or so have been raised mostly as an outcome of the struggle by the oppressed peoples – often the working masses — whether in Europe, in the Americas, in Africa, in the Middle East, in Turkey, in Asia and in the Far East. Meanwhile the mantra of profit-at-any-cost, proselyted in the capitalist countries, has inflicted a collateral damage upon language itself, whereby once the much admired altruistic politics of Internationalism is now brushed aside by the amorphous politics of Globalisation (…)

Download the full article here.

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