Friday, January 13, 2012

The "thing" in Turkish politics

"'Something' has come to power in Turkey, but not sharia," Ahmet Şık, the investigative journalist in jail, said in his letter from the prison. "I can't name that 'thing' properly." "You should obey or you should stay silent or you should go to jail," Şık said. "Yes, this is the new 'thing' that has come to power in Turkey."
Justin Vela's "Behind Bars in the Deep State," published in Foreign Policy on January 11, provides food for thought about the Jama'at. Cema'at in Turkish spelling, this word usually means "congregation" (its Arabic, Persian, and Urdu usages also encompass the meaning of "political party" as in Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan). So in order to be descriptive, it has to have an adjective, such as the Muslim congregation, or the congregation of the followers of so-and-so. The followers of Fethullah Gülen used to be called the "Gülen cema'ati," the Jama'at of Fethullah Gülen. But now they are simply called the "Cema'at." When you utter this word in a Turkish setting, everybody knows what you are referring to. It is not unlike the American "Fellowship," also known as the "Family."

The Jama'at comes under closer scrutiny, as it comes across as the secret coalition partner of AKP, and legitimate questions are asked about their becoming/being the new deep state of Turkey. To find out more, read Vela's analysis.