By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 19 December 2018
Ahmet and Mehmet are back at Ataturk Café and talking high politics
Mehmet: Why the sullen look? Is something wrong?
Ahmet: No… I just learned a big secret and am wondering whether I should tell you.
Mehmet: If you can’t trust me, who can you trust, kardash?
Ahmet: That’s true, but this is big. It will shake the political, economic, military and cultural foundations of the world.
Mehmet: With that kind of build-up, I’ll not sleep until I know your secret.
Ahmet: (Looks left and right.) You know I’m studying propaganda techniques at the Presidential Palace.
Mehmet: You’ve told me that several times. What about your secret?
Ahmet: Will you swear not to tell anyone?
Mehmet: I can’t believe you want a long-time friend to swear an oath.
Ahmet: You know that after one thousand years, we—Turks—still don’t know who we are. Are we Central Asian? Are we Middle Eastern? Anatolian? European? Ataturk tried to solve the dilemma but failed. Our religion is Arab; our alphabet is Latin; we live on the lands of indigenous peoples; our food, music, literature, and architecture are borrowed. Our language is full of Persian and Arabic words. The man who headed the change from the Arabic alphabet to Latin was an Armenian named Agop Martayan. Ataturk nicknamed him “Dilacar”. The official signature of Ataturk was designed by an Armenian—another Agop. Now our greatest lexicographer is the exiled Sevan Nishanian whose Turkish dictionary is a permanent bestseller.
Mehmet: I’m still waiting to hear your secret.
Ahmet: Sorry. Soon President Erdogan will make an earth-shaking announcement.
Ahmet: The President will announce the formation of the Islamic Empire. It will encompass 60 Islamic states and have a population of 1.6 billion. The capital will be Istanbul and Erdogan, as the leading imam of the “ummah”, will be president. He will act as a sultan but will be called president because ‘sultan’ has negative associations.
Mehmet: You must be joking.
Ahmet: You know I never joke.
Mehmet: That’s true.
Ahmet: President Erdogan read to us part of the speech he will deliver at the convention where he will announce the establishment of the empire. He wanted our input, you see.
Mehmet: Of course.
Ahmet: I wrote down some of the things Erdogan will say. Here were go: ‘Turkey is bigger than Turkey. We cannot be trapped inside 780,000 kilometers. Our physical borders are different from the borders of our heart. Our brothers in Mosul, Kirkuk, Skopje, Crimea, Al-Hassakeh, Aleppo, Homs, and in the Caucasus might be outside our physical borders, but they are all inside the borders of our heart. They are right inside out heart.’ Mehmet, You didn’t know that Erdogan was a poet.
Mehmet: You can say that again.
Ahmet: The second part of Erdogan’s grand plan will give us a new past and a fresh history. Erdogan will provide evidence that Turks and Germans are brother nations: Ottoman derives from Otto, a German emperor. Ottoman means “defender of Otto.” Thus Guttenberg, Goethe, Beethoven, Mozart, Kant, Nietzsche, Wagner are Turks.
Mehmet: That means Martin Luther was also a Turk.
Mehmet: A Christian Turk? Ahmet, you know there’s a tradition whereby imperiled leaders distract their people by finding non-existent enemies or inventing myths about themselves.
Ahmet: What are you saying?
Mehmet: Turkey has entered a prolonged period of recession, thanks to erratic Erdogan. Foreign investors are pulling out their money. We have rampant inflation and our lira has lost 50 percent of its value. The unemployment rate is a state secret. Thousands of innocent people are in jail while Erdogan establishes his empire of 60 countries.
Ahmet: Yetar, yetar.
Mehmet: What you told me is no secret. I heard about it months ago. I even know the names of some of the empire’s committees. There’s the International Muslim Scholars Association (I-MAD); the Turkish Union of Muslim Societies (TUMS), the Association of Societies of Avar, Lezgin, and Abkhazians (ASALA)…
Ahmet: Hey, stop. Isn’t ASALA an Armenian terrorist group?
Mehmet: It’s obvious those perfidious Armenians have penetrated Erdogan’s inner sanctum.
Ahmet: Vi, vi, vi. What will happen to our Islamic Empire?
Mehmet: Nothing. Erdogan is trying to extend his reign by offering sweet dreams. Besides, the Americans, Western Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and Israel will not allow any Erdogan Empire. But don’t worry about the fate of your idol. He can always join his old football team as chief football inflater. He has a knack for blowing hot air.