Hrant’s parasites

by Etyen Mahcupyan, Today's Zaman on . Posted in Columns

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The murder of Hrant Dink turned him into something other than himself, making him a tool for general use. The first step of this transformation was to present Hrant as a “secular leftist” to the degree that it made the emotional ties he had formed with society meaningless. And thus we see Hrant being redrawn as a figure almost above society, a hero who is at the same time outside of society.

In the second step of this transformation, the state is switching places with the current elected government, so that while the axis of the struggle for freedoms is constructed as being the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) opposition, there is an attempt to see the state revivified through the de-legitimization of the Ergenekon cases. But this stance, which could be labeled “ideological immorality,” is driven by a Hrant-based opportunism, and is also turning Hrant into a hackneyed and empty-spirited entity.

This transformation of the memory of Hrant into a vehicle, done in the name of the left in Turkey, is nothing other than the sweeping down of a colony of parasites to feed off of an event that actually deserves deep respect and serenity. The latest instance of this sort came from the pen of writer Ece Temelkuran. Her article, published in the Guardian newspaper, no doubt found some positive responses in Western secular circles. But for people who are familiar with Turkey, this combination of a lack of perception and understanding with the desire to give oneself credence really deserves nothing other than the description of corrupt writing.

Temelkuran chose this headline for her article: “Turkish journalists are very frightened -- but we must fight this intimidation.” As we understand immediately from these words, Temelkuran is supposedly showing us an example of great courage, a standard of leadership for her fellow journalist colleagues. But unfortunately, what follows is a rather miserable, and to tell the truth, comic analysis. According to this analysis, Temelkuran’s removal from the Habertürk newspaper is apparently the result of a strategy of government pressures that goes as deep as the murder of Hrant. As she writes it, the true volition driving the pursuit of and the ultimate killing of Hrant actually belongs to the government. Of course, Temelkuran does not really talk about the whole Ergenekon plot about which we know much due to confessions, or about attempts to portray the AK Party as only semi-legitimate, or about other murders. Instead, she presents Ergenekon as an “allegation,” basically implying that the allegations of attempts to “create chaos and prepare the groundwork for a coup” are false. In short, Temelkuran’s ideas are all presented within the framework of a well-known ultra-nationalistic thesis, reminding us with her words that she is not far removed ideologically from the world of Ergenekon.

In order to even “walk around” on top of such rotten foundations, one really needs a hanging bridge that can allow you to hop from one reality to another. Temelkuran uses such a bridge when it comes to the arrests of Ahmet Şik and Nedem Şener. Temelkuran goes as far as to suggest that it was only these two journalists who really researched what went on behind the curtains of Hrant Dink’s murder. Setting aside for a moment the base wrongness of this, Şener’s book gives the impression that he is trying to protect not only certain politicians but also the military. As for Şik’s book, it not only has nothing to do with this topic, but was written basically to prove the influence the Gülen movement is having on the state. Şener is blamed not because of a book he wrote but because of another book published by Hanefi Avci. The problem though is that the writings of both of these people appear to work to the benefit of the Ergenekon circles, and we still don’t know the truth. But the real topic at hand in relation to these two people has nothing to do with political ideas and engagements on their parts. The fact that Şener yelled “For Hrant” when he was arrested and that Şik talked about “those who touch it burn” -- if these are not just exaggerations that indicate how self-important these two men find themselves -- it truthfully indicates much deeper weaknesses in their inner worlds.

The conditions of these two journalists’ trials cannot be approved of under any means. The reasons for Temelkuran’s removal from the newspaper in question need to be shared with the public and it is important that these reasons make sense. But to try and use these cases of victimhood as ideological tools as well as using Hrant as such a tool can only be characterized as immoral. Because not only are the truths being distorted, a person who was brutally killed is being distorted as well and then used to reconstruct the truth.

In the meantime, Temelkuran has not forgotten to say that the book she wrote was “wanted” by Hrant or to add some embarrassing words from the interior minister. So that as the AK Party is lowered to that government minister’s level, Temelkuran sets herself up right next to Hrant.

It appears that in fact “Turkish” journalists are really not all that afraid. To the contrary, they are quite courageous. So much so that they do not even hesitate to go beyond the regular illegalities in manipulating perceptions outside of Turkey.