Erdocracy Censures Picasso!

by    /  September 13, 2013  / No comments

Tarık Günersel thanks the group of American actors and other intellectuals for criticizing the new oppressive regime in Turkey, which he calls “Erdocracy,” a version of Islamofascism.

Censured Picasso

Detail of Pablo Picasso's 'Seated Woman' which was blurred on Turkish ATV. Photo: t24.

Can you believe it?

The pro-government ATV Channel in Turkey has censured a cubist painting by Picasso, blurring the part of the work that represents a seated woman’s breast. ATV, which is a private channel, used to be liberal until a few years ago when PM Erdoğan’s sectarian government took control of it as part of their strategy to change the undemocratic regime into an even worse one—featuring a heavy Sunni Islamic accent.

  1. Wor(l)ds in Danger, a
column by Tarik Günersel
  2. Life is words in action, literature is action in words.
    Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they succeed? Will more humans be alarmed and do something?
    Literature is vital and translators are messengers of world peace.
    Though I shall focus on the literary scene in Turkey and its problems regarding freedom of expression, I shall not omit the other parts of our planet. Today local is global and vice versa.
  3. Tarik Günersel
  4. Tarık Günersel is a poet, playwright, aphorist, librettist and short story writer. He is the president of PEN Turkey and an ex-member of the PEN International Board. He studied English Literature at Istanbul University. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Barış, teaching English. A dramaturg at Istanbul City Theater since 1991, he has acted on stage and screen and directed some of his plays. He proposed World Poetry Day in 1997 which was accepted by PEN International and declared by UNESCO as the 21st of March. His translations into Turkish include works by Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Arthur Miller. His works include The Nightmare of a Labyrinth (mosaic of poems and stories), and How’s your slavery goin’? His Oluşmak (To Become), a “life guide for myself,” includes ideas from world wisdom of the past four millennia.

With this in mind, US strategists should refrain from advising the White House to keep supporting Fethullah Gülen, who has opened numerous schools in many countries, including the US. Gülen cultivates the image of a gentle old man who is sensitive and liberal. His (probably advised) strategy has been to take control of the police force in Turkey, in addition to the media and schools–students and teachers alike. Gülen wants an Islamic state in Turkey instead of a secular-democratic one. Seeming to be a promising ally is part of his strategy.

Both Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen hate Atatürk and his secularist legacy. They want to get rid of his name in school books. They try to discredit Darwin and champion creationism. And Erdoğan promises that women and men will have separate swimming pools.


My neologism above has been formed using PM Erdoğan’s name and the classical suffix for “to rule.” Erdocracy is a flexible and pragmatic version of Sunni Islamofascism. Today’s fascism does not have to be a single-party regime. On the contrary, it is better to have some sufficiently-controlled opposition embodied in several parties in order to secure international credibility.

It’s high time to wake up: The CIA no longer considers Turkey a part of Europe, but a part of the Middle-East. The US strategy has been in harmony with Samuel P. Huntington’s advice in his 1996 book The Clash of Civilizations. From the US government’s standpoint, the idea of “Mild Islam” has been used as a Trojan Horse.

Economic progress does not automatically lead to more democracy and freedom. Erdoğan’s successive governments have been selling the future of Turkey and buying votes while attacking pro-democracy circles, including liberal capitalist ones. In the beginning, Turkey’s so-called liberals naïvely (to use a polite term) expected too much from Erdoğan; now they complain and criticize what I call Erdocracy.

Like many democrats in Turkey, I am grateful to the concerned American actors and the other intellectuals around the world for their open letter to Erdoğan in The Times.

Erdoğan’s supporters call him a master. But a master of what? Demagogy?

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