Please forgive my failure to comment on Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s continued rise to power, as it’s all been according to plan, and I honestly wouldn’t dream of expecting a different outcome.
I hate to say “I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so”, which is why I’m very pleased to say that for once my predictions weren’t altogether accurate.
Avid readers may remember how I, in a late December 2016 blog post, appointed the Middle East the new East–West battlefield. Turned out that I was indeed right, but what I failed to see, was the escalation of the Southeast Asian conflict now materialising in North Korea’s armament and the U.S. Navy’s race towards the Korean peninsula’s shores.
Make no mistake about it: We may think the Middle East resembled hell on earth, but I fear we haven’t seen the half of it. With Southeast Asian conflicts on the rise, on top of Russia’s aggressive stance on neighbouring countries, such as Ukraine, it’s safe to say that it’s been some time since we were this close to a potential world war 3, hard as it is to imagine.
Of course it’s all to do with both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s lack of success in domestic affairs and their need to show international force, coupled with fellow madman Kim Jong-un’s megalomaniacal delusions.
While I hate to admit failing to see this development in advance, there’s no denying it’s currently playing out right under our noses, and I, for one, am scared shitless.
But it doesn’t stop there: With Brexit underway, and Spain and the UK fighting over Gibraltar, Europe’s stability is at risk, too.
The situation may be diffused, if parties involved are willing to take a step back. At present, however, that doesn’t seem very likely.
And then, of course, there’s Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
At the risk of repeating myself, I think I’d better repeat myself:
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Top illustration: U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Blogger’s drawing.
Any attempt to concentrate power to one out of three branches of government must be opposed vehemently.
For about a week or so the Nedtegnelser blog has been all about utter non-sense – or quick visual posts with perhaps a deeper meaning, but with an air of apparent indifference, which is all-too true, I’m afraid, as the political posts have been modest attempts at contributing to the prevention of certain developments, rather than moaning over them in retrospect.
Which would explain the blog’s incessant attention to this merry band of nationalists in particular:
While a warm defender og western values, I can see no reason why I should defend the attitudes and actions of the western world’s most powerful leader. Of course, that is so because he’s everything but a champion of western values. In short, when ever a leader, or any politician, for that matter, show strongman or national and isolationist tendencies there’s much cause for alarm.
So far we’ve seen them succeed, which may very well be all it takes to bring about dark times the likes of which we haven’t seen for over 70 years, but their European henchmen aren’t about to stop, in what we know to be a crucial election year for Europe:
No rest for the wicked
Leaving yours truly – and, hopefully, you – with no option but to carry on. Chances are we’ll lose this battle, too, but shouldn’t use that as an excuse to relax. The battle may be lost, but the war?
Which is where I’m compelled to recite Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland’s (1889–1968) 1936 anti-fascist poem Dare not to sleep (translated to
English American by Lars-Toralf Storstrand):
I was awakened one morning, by the quaintest of dreams
‘twas like a voice, spoken to me
It sounded afar – like an underground stream,
I rose and said: Why do you call me?
Dare not to slumber! Dare not to sleep!
Dare not believe, it was merely a dream!
Yore I was judged.
The gallows were built in the court this evening,
They’ll come for me — 5’ in the morning
This dungeon is teeming,
And barracks stand dungeon by dungeon
we lie here, awaiting, in cold cells of stone,
We lie here, we rot, in these murky holes.
We know not ourselves, what does lie ahead
Who will be the next one they’ll reach for.
We moan and we shriek: But do you take heed?
Is there none among you who’ll hearken?
No one can see us,
None know what befalls us.
None will believe – what the day will bring us!
And then You defy: This dare not be true!
That men can be utterly evil.
There has to be some one with merits pure
Oh, brother, you still have a great deal to learn
They said: You will give your life, if commanded
We’ve given it now, for naught it was handed
The world has forgotten, we’ve all been deceived
Dare not to sleep in this hour – this eve.
You oughtn’t go to your business hence,
Or think: What’s your loss – or what is your gain?
You oughtn’t attribute your fields and your kine,
Nor say you’ve enough – with all that is thine.
You oughn’t abide, sitting calm in your home
Saying: Dismal it is, poor they are, and alone
You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all.
Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!
I cry with the final gasps of my breath:
You dare not repose, nor stand and forget
Pardon them not – they know what they do!
They breathe on hate-glows, and evil pursue,
They fancy to slay, they revel with cries,
Their desire is to gloat, when our world is at fire!
In blood they are yearning to drown one and all!
Don’t you believe it? You’ve heard the call!
You know how infants will soldiers remain,
While dashing through streets, fields, chanting ‘bout pain
Aroused by their mothers‘ assurance of glory
They’ll shelter their land – and they’ll never worry
You know the fatality of the lies,
that glory and faith and honor abides
You discern the dauntless dreams of a child,
A saber, a banner, he’ll flaunt them so wild,
And then they’ll leave home for a rainfall of steel,
‘Till last they hang ragged on barbed wire will,
Decaying for Hitler’s Aryan call,
That is what a man’s for – after all…
I couldn’t imagine – too late now it is
My sentence is just: The verdict’s no miss
I believed in prosperity, dreamt about peace
In labor and fellowship; love’s fragrant kiss
Yet those who don’t die on the battlefield,
Their heads for the axeman, will certainly yield
I cry in the gloom – if only you’d knew
There is but one thing – befitting to do
Defend yourself, while your hands are still yearning,
Protect your offspring – Europe is burning.
I shook from the chill. To dress, up I rose
Without stars were shining, so far, yet so close
‘twere simply a brilliant ray in the east,
Admonishing warning from the dream that just ceased
The day that soared up from earths furthermost strand
Augmenting with blood — and with firebrand
It grew with terror – like a breath that was lost
It seemed like the starlight – was slain by the frost.
I weighed: Something is imminent – and it’s dire
Our era is over — Europe’s on fire!
Ringing truer today than at any given time after WW2. While Russia, Turkey and America are lost, for the time being at any rate, I’ll have to carry on, then, incessantly as ever, and to those among you who have simply had enough of my restless ramblings:
Top illustration: Norwegian, now mostly dismantled, Soldiers of Odin marching. Blogger’s drawing.
The new year started with a bang, or rather a series of shots fired in an Istanbul nightclub last night, resulting in a death toll currently amounting to 39 nightclubbers, in what appears to be a one-man show, carried out by an individual dressed up as Santa (from what I’ve been told).
Terrible as it was, I’d hesitate to call it a terrorist attack just yet, even if the Turkish regime has enemies by the numbers, including this blogger, and for very good reasons, which is not to say that I’d even dream of condoning any attack on civilian Turks, deserving of our collective loathing and rejection (the attack, that is, not civilian Turks).
Yes, we are, like Turkey’s home secretary Suleyman Soylu, quick to label the atrocities an act of terrorism, and understandably so, in a country whose government deliberately provokes actions against itself. Thing is, though, that this probably isn’t one (although I’d like to emphasise “probably”).
Attacks on Turkish civilians do not serve as blows to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime, but as arguments in support of the president’s continued oppression, making it just as easy to suspect the regime itself, as Kurds, ISIL or the PKK – terrible regimes have been prone to similar measures in the past.
But I won’t. What appears to be the act of a single individual may have occurred for a number of reasons, and I’m not about to speculate.
Assuming that 2017 is going to be a tumultuous year, on the other hand, is a fairly safe bet, considering the leaders at the helm in Turkey, Russia and, any minute now, America – and then some.
2016 saw a series of attacks, an attempted coup d’etat against Erdoğan, even, resulting in an even tighter grip on power (hence the Reichstag fire inuendo) – and the budding alliance between Russia and Turkey (soon to be accompanied by America?), which is a move put to use by several authoritarian and totalitarian regimes throughout times, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to connect a dot or two …
But again, I’m not about to speculate, eerily resembling as the early 1900s and 2000s may be.
But I’m making assumptions.
My sympathies go to the Turks, even though I struggle with their support of their leader, just as I will continue to question the Germans’ support of theirs, some 80 years ago. But in the spirit of mutual (?) respect:
Also, I should add that I fear the volatile situation in which the entire world currently finds itself may blow right up in our faces any minute now. I, for one, am going to keep an eye on the Russo-Turkish Middle East involvement. It’ll end in tears, you know.
So happy new year, once more!
The world’s top six global threats, in no particular order.
We do of course have candidates of our own in these parts. Fortunately we are, contrary to own belief, utterly irrelevant.
While serious events took place yesterday, calling for in-depth news coverage, the incidents themselves were nothing out of the ordinary. On the contrary I think we will find that episodes such as the Berlin Christmas market attack and the Ankara assassination, as well as the Zurich shooting, are everyday occurrences.
Europeans may have been disturbed by the proximity to Christmas and indeed to ourselves. Apart from that, however, these things happen on a daily basis throughout the world.
In my neck of the wood the Berlin calamities most definitely drew most of the attention, undoubtedly due to the number of Norwegians visiting this – or any – time of year (our self-absorption knows no limit), but I think it’s safe to say that among the three, the Ankara assassination (yes, I deliberately use a designation similar to the 1914 Sarajevo assassination) offers potentially more widespread consequences, giving more cause for concern than the other two, although it didn’t even take place in Europe. Not least because it involved a prominent member of Ankara’s Corps Diplomatique, and a Russian one to boot.
The seemingly staged, almost cinematic appearance of the incident must have left not only this blogger wondering if it indeed was carefully prepared, in what most observers must consider the hub of current conflicts, involving the Syrian war’s two leading parties (sorry, America, but you’re not even close), headed by oppressors prone to conspiratorial thinking, constantly chasing excuses to initiate drastic responses to actions quite possibly initiated by themselves (for instance last summer’s attempted coup in Turkey immediately springs to mind). To such a degree that we’re all forced to think along the lines of plots that may not even exist.
What ever the case we should acknowledge that we indeed live in violent times, with an extremely volatile situation on our hands, and I hate to sound the alarm, even if I fear there’s every reason to.
With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin, both highly despotic, emerging as close allies, and soon-to-be President Trump at the American helm, as well as an increasingly powerful China lurking in the outskirts, the stage is set for an unprecedented and highly inflammable situation.
Certain powers’ expressed aim to destabilise the west is of course a factor to be reckoned with, too, but let’s leave it at that for now.
Suffice it to say 2017 is going to be a very interesting year.
Since posting this I was made aware of this Foreign Policy article, published last night, touching on some of the same issues – and then some:
Illustration: The Ankara gunman. Blogger’s “watercolour painting”, made with Waterlogue app.
Regular readers will have noticed this blogger’s long-standing scepticism towards the current Turkish regime, since long before my daughter and wife bought me the above depicted tea mug on a vacation in Turkey some years ago. A vacation in which I neither did nor could or would partake – and a mug which is yet to be used, for very obvious reasons.
Reasons that I fear become more evident for each and every day, underlining the importance of the EU’s suspension of Turkish membership talks (which shouldn’t have been held in the first place), as mass arrests are carried out and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tightens his grip, submitting a bill to expand his power even more than currently is the case.
Please understand, though, that I deplore PKK terrorism just as much, but you have to sympathise with the Kurds’ frustration and predicament, facing leaders such as Mr. Erdoğan and his criminal regime.
My “Goodbye, Turkey” includes termination of future EU talks as well as the country’s unjustifiable NATO membership, provided the international community is about to wake up – and realise that we’re dealing with a full-blown dictatorship.
And please, ladies and gentlemen of the press, stop referring to Turkey as a European country, when all that is European about it is the three-percent landmass that is the occupied East Tracian territories on the European side of the Bosphorus, granted Turkey in the aftermath of the Balkan wars some 100 years ago.