In the 1990s, Turkey repeatedly became the scene of attacks and so-called “unsolved” murders. All of the victims were political figures. Since the perpetrators could not be identified and did not face justice, it was believed that what was known as a “deep state” structure was behind most of these killings. There were clear indications that, in particular, people who had come into conflict with the government over the Kurdish question were being killed by a group that had formed within the state. Also victims were pro-secular Kemalist intellectuals. According to the widely held view, behind these attacks were radical Islamist terrorist organizations that wanted to transform Turkey into a country governed by Sharia rules. As a result, the slogan chanted at the funerals of intellectuals murdered by fundamentalists became one of the most popular in recent Turkish history: “Turkey will not become Iran!”
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The reference to Iran was not only due to the fact that Sharia applies in this country and it was decided not to allow it in Turkey. Organizations openly backed by Iran were also behind the crimes.
Turkey did not mutate into the second Iran. However, the undisputed fact is that our country has become more conservative after the change of government in 2002, that we have distanced ourselves from the secular lifestyle and from the principles of western democracy. What has been going on in Iran over the past few days suggests that the country is converging with (old) Turkey as Turkey becomes Iranianized. There were also protests in Istanbul against the murder of Mahsa Amini in Iran because she had not worn the headscarf properly. Iranian women living in Istanbul led the way in the first demonstration on Taksim Square in the heart of the city. Iranian women without headscarves wanted to demonstrate with banners in Persian and Turkish. Do you want to know what happened to the modern day Iranian woman holding up her placard at the head of the train? A Turkish policewoman with a headscarf arrested her!
The second Turkish city where there were actions in support of the protests in Iran and condemning the regime’s brutal response was Ankara. And which place did the Iranian women choose for their rally? The mausoleum of Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, who laid the foundations for the secular way of life. While we in our country, where in the 1990s the slogan was that Turkey would not become Iran, are gradually moving closer to Iran through the measures taken by the palace regime, people from Iran are flocking to our squares so that their country can be like old Turkey becomes.