By Mesrob Sarafian, Toronto, 22, August 2020
Red flags the size of half-a-tennis court, ultranationalist slogans, threatening speeches, gunboats flashing crimson flags, demands for the return of “lost” lands, “we were cheated and robbed” declamations, and an anti-democratic dictator who is socially conservative and is hostile to feminists and social activists… The world is having a déjà vu moment as Recep Tayyip Erdogan imitates the failed Austrian painter who dreamt of ruling the world. Adolph’s “empire” lasted 12 years, compared to his “1,000-year Reich” promise.
One of Hitler’s notorious slogans was “Drang nach Osten” (Drive to the East). In other, words, conquest of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Erdogan’s version is the expansion of Turkey’s borders in the east and the west (Iraq, Syria, Armenia, Cyprus and the Greek Islands) and the restoration of the Ottoman Empire with him as sultan.
Hailing the Indo-European roots of Germans, Hitler claimed Germans were the superior race. The ideal Aryan was tall, blonde and had blue eyes, although he didn’t have any of these physical characteristics. Erdogan has a similar idea: since all languages and cultures emanate from the Turkic language and culture, Turks are the paramount race. In fact, Sumerians who invented the alphabet, were Turks who had migrated to Mesopotamia, asserts historian-anthropologist-geographer-linguist Erdogan. But then again, he also says Turks were the first to try to explore space and they might have “discovered” the Western Hemisphere 300 years before Columbus.
The similarities Adolf and Erdogan share make a long list. Under their administration the military was/is the most respected and powerful sector of society. Like Hitler, Erdogan is dogmatic and anti-democratic. The ignorance of the masses, nationalism, and the belief that recent history has been unfair to Turkey are the pillars on which Erdogan’s regime stands. Germans, in the ‘20s and the ‘30s, also believed perfidious Albion (Britain) and the cowardly French were responsible for German misery.
Opposition to free speech, silencing the media, imprisoning journalists, and shuttering publications which don’t follow the party line are further policies Hitler and Erdogan share.
Hitler’s discriminatory policies were based on his erroneous understanding of racial differences while Erdogan’s policies are based on race and religion. Hitler declared himself “Fuhrer” while Erdogan wants to become sultan of the Muslim world.
There’s symmetry to Erdogan’s imitation of Herr Schicklgruber’s theatrics and threats: When Erdogan delivers one of his frequent speeches, his mannerism, his over-the-top delivery, his flaring nostrils, his demented ire is pure Hitler at Nuremburg.
It’s possible that the coup against Erdogan a few years ago was an imitation of Hitler’s “Night of Long Knives” when the Fuhrer killed Nazi party members who didn’t agree with him.
Through a decree in August, Erdogan established a new police force called Istanbul Security Directorate in a move to form a parallel police force in the city. The so-called Reinforcement Ready Force Directorate is similar to Hitler SS (Schutzstaffel), say his opponents.
“When threatened by internal forces, invent external enemies” is a tried-and-true political strategy for staying in power. To distract Turks from Turkey’s economic slide, Erdogan has invented outside enemies. While the standard-issue dictator would be content with one or two enemies, lugubrious Erdogan has invented more than half-a-dozen foes—from Armenia to France, from Holland to Greece to Yemen… Libya, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates plus the Kurds in four countries with Israel waiting in the wings to become Turkey’s newest enemy. The mid-August statement by the head of Israel’s Mossad that Turkey posed a greater threat to Israel than Iran should speed the deterioration of Turkish/Israeli relations, especially in light of disagreements regarding the exploration of underwater gas in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Erdogan has made no secret of his admiration of Nazi Germany. On Jan. 1, 2016 he was quoted by The Guardian of London saying that Hitler’s Germany was an effective example of good government. Recognizing the similarities between Erdogan and Hitler, a German group projected the images of the two on the wall of the Turkish Embassy in Berlin. Erdogan was Photo shopped to look like Hitler. A member (Oliver Bierkowski) of the group behind the demonstration told The Independent of London: “We as Germans know what happens in the early stages of dictatorships. The similarities between the early Nazi regime and Erdogan’s Turkey right now are frightening.”
It’s important to bear in mind that many of Hitler’s senior henchmen had taken a crash course in the management of genocide in 1915 from their barbarian allies—the Young Turks. The tutoring had been useful when the Nazis launched the genocide of Jews. The same Nazi authorities who had witnessed the forced Turkification of Armenian children during the Armenian Genocide took another page from the Turkish book of genocide and “harvested” blonde and blue-eyed children in Poland and elsewhere in the occupied countries and Germanized them.
Just as in the ‘30s when most of the European states didn’t take Mr. Mustache seriously and suffered the consequences, today the same states are pretending Erdogan isn’t there, that Turkey poses no threat to Europe and the Middle East. These cowards want to forget the Bad Turk and enjoy an Antalya vacation just as in the old days when Europeans vacationed in Baden Baden blind to the evil Nazi ideology. Some people never learn. Some countries never learn.
Great article, recalling similarities between these two maniacs.
Hitler, by the way, was an admirer of Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish butcher. Bloody minds think alike?
One wonders if Erdogan will wind up as Hitler did.
Germany and Turkey also have a lot in common, and not just as allies in WW 1 and buddies in WW 2.
Germany has invited in millions of Turks, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has a soft spot for Turkey.
Perhaps Merkel will someday bring her country down as Hitler did.
It would serve Turkophilic Germany right.
Thank you for this interesting article. According to political scientist Lawrence W. Britt, fascism has 14 characteristics–from “disdain for the recognition of human rights” to “fraudulent elections” to “using ‘enemies’ as scapegoats to unify”. Your article includes all fourteen characteristics plus more.
I agree with every similarity between Hitler and Erdogan the article cites. I’d also like to add one more “exhibit” to the list.
Hitler was an Austrian who became the head of Germany. Erdogan descends from the Laz of Georgia. Outsiders sometimes go to extremes to be accepted. Hitler became a German super-patriot. Erdogan’s belligerence is driven by the same need to be accepted.