The Update – Turkish Politics, 12 December 2011

Match Fixing and Religious Sects


AKP is known for its homogeneity and absolute obeisance to its beloved leader Mr. R. T. Erdogan. In the decade long history of the party only three occasions had caused a visible schism.  First, the rejection of the resolution to allow American soldiers to crossTurkeyto invade Northern Iraq.  The second occasion is the Habur-gate incident, when PKK terrorists were allowed to come home amidst a huge BDP-organized love-fest, which ended the Kurdish initiative for the party.  Finally, President Gul’s veto of an amended bill that would reduce the draconian prison penalties in soccer match-fixing.

Aziz Yıldırım

The penalties were indeed draconian.  The aging president of the Fenerbahce Soccer Club, Mr. Aziz Yıldırım would have served at least 56 years in the slammer without bail, had the old bill remained the law of the land, and of course had he been convicted. Euronews comments:

“It has become a big political issue in Turkey, not only because millions of Fenerbahce supporters are threatening the ruling AK Party government with votes against, but also because of the chaos in Turkish judiciary system. The punishments in match-fixing law are considered disproportionate. A few weeks ago a man was sentenced to 24 years in prison for killing and beheading his girlfriend. He will spend 14 years in prison at most according to Turkey’s penal code. But prosecutors asked for 59 to 156 years of sentence for Aziz Yildirim[1]”.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdullah Gül

PM Erdogan personally urged his deputies to overturn Gul’s veto to moderate these absurd and inhumane sentences. Despite his arm-twisting 74 AKP deputies refused to show up for the final vote. In some sense, the vote on the match-fixing bill was Erdogan’s biggest legislative defeat in his career.

Why has a simple law divided AKP so deeply?  To understand we need to decipher the shady links between the party and religious sects.  For convenience and to make it easier for our Christian readers to understand the narrative we call these sects “orders”, or “churches” throughout the essay. In Turkey, the law recognizes no churches.  In fact, it doesn’t even recognize the very basic differences between Sunni, Alevite and Shia.  To the law, all Moslems are made from the same cloth. This is of course non-sense; every devout Sunni Moslem belongs to an order actively or by birth and tradition.

There is nothing wrong with these orders, they are part and parcel of every modern monotheist society and in most cases serve extremely useful purposes such as charity and education, above and beyond guiding the faithful in spiritual matters. There is also nothing wrong with a party being openly affiliated with an order or church, as Christian Democratic parties inEuropedo.  The key word in this relationship is “open”.  The society has a right to know who runs the party and whether the affiliation with religious orders grants the latter unfair advantages. In case of AKP’s intimate dealings with orders, the relationship is secret and YES, it DOES grant unfair advantages to the order that delivers  the most votes for the party.

Fethullah Gulen

The match-fixing controversy exposed these organic  intimate and illegitimate links between AKP and the Gulen Order.  Renowned journalists, well know to any foreign observer, such as Mehmet Ali Birand[2], Cengiz Candar, and  Fatih Altaylı have all openly commented on the link and speculated whether the match-fixing schism would lead to a parting of ways.  To date, no-one NOT ONE AKP deputy denied these links.

Fethullah Gülen and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

It appears that the Gulen Order is strictly against reducing the penalties for match-fixing, because they firmly believe that soccer serves as the financial conduit for the legendary Ergenekon crime syndicate. This point is openly made by Mr. Emre Uslu who writes for the Gulenist bastion ZAMAN:

Gulenist Zaman Daily

“Initially, the AK Party was perceived as a party that fought against the mafia. In particular, the fight against Ergenekon, a clandestine organization nested within the state trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government, had initially created these perceptions. However, the party’s incomprehensible attitude concerning the match-fixing law has created perceptions similar to those about the Civangate scandal. Everyone who is interested in soccer in Turkey knows that the mafia is part of this sector and match-fixing is a mafia activity. With its match-fixing stance, the AK Party has chosen to side with the mafia. In this respect, too, we can say, the AK Party is likening itself to ANAP[3].”

Yavuz Baydar, Zaman columnist

ZAMAN’s attacks on Erdogan continued on 12th of December, by Yavuz Baydar:

“The text of the indictment comes as another piece of evidence that the “old Turkey” is utterly present in it. As with the other key trials on organized crime — such as Ergenekon — it lacks lucidity, has loopholes and a “mixed bag” of data, and remains open to harmful refutations, which will not help the already wounded reputation of the judicial system here. It is a naked fact: The more the AK Party fails in a swift transformation of the judiciary for efficiency and independence, the more likely it becomes that they will be the ones paying for it. Nobody should underestimate the will of the people.[4]

Why are ZAMAN and presumably the Gulen Order against diluting the penalties in the match-fixing case?  Some answers can be found in Oral Çalışlar’s seminal article in RADIKAL “The land of operations[5]”.  To sub-phrase Çalışlar, a faction in AKP believes that Special Criminal Courts must be utilized as much as possible to purge all the dissident elements in the society.  Whether due process or habeas corpus is respected in these operations is immaterial.  The end justifies the means. This faction is closely affiliated with the Gulen Order who possesses the ulterior motive of dismantling the armed forces and the secular elite, lest they ever attempt a coup again. This is the approach popularized by the Romans who invaded and sacked Carthage, and then tilled the land with salt so that nothing ever grows there again.

If these accusations are true, the links between AKP and the religious orders have gone miles beyond what can be called normal in a democracy.  The orders not only enforce policy in areas which should  be considered their domain, i.e. education, the separation church and state, etc, but also with respect to advancing their rather earthly goals:  To change the social structure by the force of Special Criminal Courts.

Cübbeli Ahmet Hoca

There is further evidence that the Gulen Order is very powerful in the police and the judiciary and has indeed begun to purge other religious orders it considers competitors.  A charismatic TV preacher called Ahmet Hoca (Cubbeli Ahmet Hoca to Turks) is arrested on charges of human trafficking, extortion and running a prostitution ring.  The website of the Ahmet Hoca claimed that the operation was ordered by Gulenists[6]. Ahmet Hoca’s flock is nationalist and harbors a deep affection for Atatürk.

Abdullah Gül - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Bashar al Assad

This has become the land of Turkey under the AKP.  A country where the legislative and the judiciary works for religious orders, which can dictate national policy to deputies. A country where religious orders settle their differences by using the police. A country where justice is sought not at the courts, but by prostrating in front of the pastor.

Freedom of expression in Turkey

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Erdogan’s compassion so richly bestowed upon the suspects of match-fixing scandal will now be directed towards the more than 400 Ergenekon-Sledgehammer suspects, the 4K KCK detainees and hundreds of others who rot in prison for no crime other than being an obstacle to religious orders’ vision of the Brave New Turkey.

Atilla Yeşilada

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2 Responses to The Update – Turkish Politics, 12 December 2011

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