Wednesday 25 April 2018 Last Update: 08:07 PM

Interview with Vakkas Dogantekin Founder of GloCal American Cultural Exchange

Published: 11-12-2015 What are your comments on the results of the recent elections in Turkey?

Vakkas Doğantekin: The results didn't surprise me. Stratfor, for instance, said: ‘ The AKP will fall short of a parliamentary majority and Erdogan will once again be denied the privilege of one-party rule.’ Several other pool companies agreed.

The day before the election on Twitter, I predicted a landslide victory and up to 52 % electoral support for AK Parti. Turks are probably the only unpredictable nation in the world. One of the reasons underlying the failure of AK Parti opponents was, once psyched by the June 7th results, they didn’t take their job seriously. They didn’t want to get out of ‘AK Parti lost and they are never coming back’ comfort zone. AK Parti learned from its mistakes, rationally faced the defeat and worked much harder for the November 1st. Opposition parties, the media of Fethullah Gulen and Aydin Dogan and international Israeli-owned Zionist media unanimously demonized Tayyip Erdogan and gravely failed to deal with PKK and ISIS terrorism. When you forget terrorism, chaos and instability in your election campaigns and ‘Satan’ize an elected president as the only enemy in the country, people don't buy it. Strong national reflexes of Turkish people were awakened. Hateful propaganda punished the haters and rewarded AK Parti that has successfully managed its campaign to appear as the most state and nation-minded party. It is also striking to see a lessening impact of mainstream media in the decision making process of voters. Anti-Obama and anti-Erdogan campaigns failed twice in the US and for 4 times in Turkey. Over-capitalism has decayed corporations and the big media in people's eyes. The survival electoral instinct favors candidates who are not backed by corporations or the big media. If we want to break down the electoral aftermath party by party:

photo.PNGAK Parti: It is the voice of the silent majority in Turkey who speaks out against the system only from election to election. They demand peace, stability and common sense. This slow and steady movement will continue winning the race for two more decades. They don’t want dictatorship or fierce secularism days of the past and view Erdogan as the guarantor of an independent, democratic and prosperous Turkey. Turkish democracy still has many flaws but thanks to AK Parti, Turkish media and society is freer than ever before. Turkey, similar to other developed countries, finally started discussing issues such as freedom of speech, law enforcement and freedom of press which are abstract matters that continuously need improvement all over the world. Poverty, unemployment, or the minority rights are not on the list of pressing issues any longer. We help millions of refugees, rather than living on IMF loans ourselves as it happened up until 2002. We are givers, not takers. I remember back in high school, just 15 years ago, out of hundreds of teachers, only few owned cars or their own houses. Now, there are few who don’t own one. Some common sense-deficient AK Parti haters claim that Turkey is doing great simply because we are in a new millennium. No dear, Turkey is doing great because AK Parti’s hardworking team has been arduously working day and night for 13 years. By 2002, when the advanced and emerging world countries were doing great, Turkey was begging money from IMF to pay the salaries of public workers. Well, to call a spade a spade, Erdogan is the founder of new, confident and growing Turkey. He is not getting autocratic as his opponents claim, he doesn’t need to. As long as the democratic election system is protected, his vision for the country will be sustained. I know this movement from the very beginning; have personally met most of the cabinet when I was a reporter back in 2000s. I saw their confidence against Jewish lobby Anti Defamation League in New York and DC when I was present as a translator between Turkish delegation, US Department of State and ADL management in 2009. AK Parti movement and its leaders are bold and outspoken, not autocratic.

On a second note, AK Parti leader Ahmet Davutoglu has been truly embraced by the movement’s electoral and member base and won’t give an opportunity to internal and external mischief makers. I think Mr. Abdullah Gul was waiting for the right time to take over AK Parti but it didn’t go as expected. AK Parti hasn’t lost on November 1st and Mr. Davutoglu and president Erdogan didn’t fail. There is a group waiting for the enervation of current AK Parti leaders. They can’t start a party from scratch; they have to take over AK Parti’s very valuable brand name in Turkish politics when the party starts losing elections.;

CHP: The historical mission and vision of CHP is at odds with the values of the majority of Turkey. CHP doesn't want to change and cannot change. Although mostly consisting of modern, educated and good people, CHP's member and electoral base has a serious problem with political Islam and the role of religion in daily life. Wiping religion off from the equation is incompatible with the conservative and heroic collective unconscious of the Turkish archetype. Turks are not ideal practicing Muslims but except for few, none of them would love to see Muslims oppressed or their rights minimized. Furthermore, the sub conscience of the majority justly associates CHP with religious oppression. CHP starts the history of Turks from 1923 and dreams of an imaginary secular Turkey where there are Ataturk monuments every 100 meters. CHP believes that people only need more Ataturk in their lives; not houses, cars, mega projects or an equal opportunity Turkey. In contrast to what CHP have in mind, most Turks and Kurds have Ottoman-Seljuk genes that won’t let political Islam ruled out from their lives.

HDP: It is the political wing of terrorist organization PKK and they don't deny it. Nevertheless, especially with the 24/7 propaganda support of Gulen-Dogan-international media, they managed to pass the 10 % election threshold. PKK-HDP decided to change the direction and scope of their hostility because they know their old enemies, the Kemalist system and governments, will never rule Turkey again. They need a long term war with Turkey and hence thought identifying conservative-religious AK Parti as the new enemy will give them this opportunity of endless war. It is obvious that AK Parti will rule the country alone or with a partner for a long time. Undoubtedly, PKK will not change its nature; once a terrorist, always a terrorist. HDP has cleverly gathered anti-state, anti-government, anti-Erdogan, pro-violence and pro-armed-struggle units within Turkey in their ranks. They have abused their political representation in Turkish congress since June 7th and surrendered the will of its voters to PKK. Instead of normalizing and naturalizing its militant, PKK-sympathizer voter base that constitutes 5-6 %, HDP, under pressure from opportunistic PKK, decided to turn 6-7 % first-or-second-time HDP voters into PKK sympathizers by alienating them from the system. PKK saw politically capable HDP as an opportunity to increase its power. They lost 1 million votes in just 5 months and lost their growth momentum which is essential in politics. I don't see any future in HDP unless they rebel against PKK, which of course is very unlikely.

MHP: They lost millions of votes to AK Parti because the electorate thought MHP is not ready to face or solve any serious problems at this critical time of Turkey. Mr. No, Devlet Bahceli sacked several heavy-weight figures of the Nationalist Movement such as Tugrul Turkes, Meral Aksener and Sinan Ogan from the party. Irrationality and symbolic, superficial and useless nationalism reigns at MHP. In addition, the party is in the grip of Gulen movement which explains the unreasonable behavior of Mr. Bahceli and the party’s disconnection from its electoral base. Most AK Parti and MHP voters agreed that a MHP-AK Parti coalition would be the best of bad scenarios after June 7th. Mr. Bahceli rejected the golden opportunity to carry MHP to power. MHP survives to this day only thanks to two reasons; first its 'brand value' added by its late founder Alparslan Turkes and second, the hope of its well-branched grassroots voters that MHP rule will bring them jobs, opportunities and economic benefits especially in municipalities. They are afraid to melt and become invisible in AK Parti movement which is 50 % of the country. They have the ‘let it be small, let it be mine’ mentality.
photo 2.JPG How do you explain Turkey's recent success in PKK operations?

Vakkas Dogantekin: In fact, AK Parti has been the nightmare of PKK from the very beginning. PKK reports indicate that they gave the biggest losses since 2002. AK Parti has been very generous to Turkey's Kurds and the democratization process started to invalidate PKK. According to PKK sympathizers and financiers, PKK will never end no matter what the Turkish state does. This is a fallacy. Every computer has a software and hardware. Regardless of the sophistication of the software, you need an efficient hardware to function. If the Turkish security forces continue to fight PKK decisively, they will run out of their soldiers (hardware) pretty soon. PKK's recruiting capability is already taking a strong hit by the democratization packages of the Turkish government.

Presidential System
Turkey will eventually evolve from parliamentarian system to presidency. 'Erdogan vs others' approach has already created a de facto presidential system in the country for almost a decade. However, AK Parti should not prioritize this issue when there are other pressing issues on the table. 49,5 % that voted for AK Parti in this election demanded stability and the complete removal of PKK, ISIS and Gulenist threats. President Erdogan and AK Parti saw that the public opinion is not ready to embrace a systemic change yet and did not make it part of the election campaign since June 7th. AK Parti can definitely convince half of the country for a systemic change and have it passed in a referendum but it must do it after lengthy discussions as to what the system will be like. I recommend AK Parti that they prefer rational persuasion over emotional persuasion. Where do you see Turkey after 10 years?

Vakkas Doğantekin: I see a more democratic Turkey that has a brand new constitution. Taking the current economic growth for granted, no one should be surprised to see Turkey competing with Germany, Russia, UK and other major powers in 10 years. We will see a Turkey that is disliked by Europe, Russia and the US but they will all have to sit down and negotiate with Turkey to resolve regional issues. Erdogan will continue to be a demonized figure in international media just like Vladimir Putin and the war against his 'new Turkey' will be more subtle and more financial. Actually, from what I see in foreign media's and leaders’ post-election reports and speeches, they seem to have finally accepted AK Parti reality and the direction of new Turkey. I guess the rules of habituation worked this time. First, second and third election victories of AK Parti were painful to its opponents but now their response and reaction is rational. They will restructure their policies and consider Turkey's sensitivities before taking bold steps in the region. Especially Europe clearly realizes now that Turkey holds a very powerful refugee card in its hands. Germany, UK and France will get along better with a Turkey that can easily cause the 21st century version of the ‘Migration of the Nations’. Turkey doesn't have natural resources but its strategic geographic location will make it an efficient energy, transportation and human resources hub. Of course, this prediction depends on stability and Erdogan-inspired one-party governments. Opposition parties are very vulnerable to foreign manipulation at this time. I think Turkey will also be the USA of its region where students from Arabic, Turkic and several other Muslim countries come to study and live. Turks like to spend money and this will ensure strong economic growth for decades to come. The slowing FDI in the past 5 years will jump start especially in the real estate industry. Real estate will get more and more expensive in big cities. I also predict that the global retail giants will start investing in Turkey. I also think that ridiculous gas and oil prices will eventually decrease to very reasonable levels once the energy pipelines passing thru Turkey starts full operation.  How do you evaluate the support of Armenian lobby to HDP?

Vakkas Doğantekin: Armenian lobby is not thinking very different than Germany, UK, Syria, Iran, Fethullah Gulen or Aydin Dogan at this point. They support anyone, any cause, any party with a potential to weaken Erdogan's influence and derail Turkey from its march to economic and political independence. They desire an exploitable Turkey that is too feeble to pursue its national interests. Can you inform us about the activities of Armenian lobby in California against Turkey?

Vakkas Doğantekin: Armenian community and anti-Turkish lobby is very strong and violent in California. Just last year, California senate unanimously passed the 'Armenian Genocide Education Act'. (36-0) The city of Carson in Los Angeles had to cancel its plan to put an Ataturk monument in a Carson park due to heavy pressure from Armenians. Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and Armenian National Committee of America-WR protests anything related to Turkey, Azerbaijan or Turks in general. Our diplomats in Los Angeles are doing their jobs in difficult conditions in the face of hateful anti-Turkish propaganda year round.  What kind of relations does Armenian lobby has with the parallel state inside Turkey and US?

Fethullah Gulen's parallel state simultaneously deals with several devils to get rid of Erdogan, weaken his influence or just to slander him. As a matter of fact, they support any kind of smear campaign against the current Turkish government online and offline. They have cooperated with HDP, which means they indirectly worked with Turkey's perennial enemy PKK. When Pope Francis spoke in support of the so-called Armenian 'genocide', Gulenist English-language daily Today's Zaman shockingly endorsed his speech in its editorial. Fethullah Gulen and his hypocrite movement are ready to say, do and betray anything to win the favor of influential foreigners who can in return do Gulenism a favor. He is in the 'WANTED' list of Turkey for a reason. They don't care if the policies they follow are harming Turkey's national interests; they are very much into their own parallel state's financial and political interests. Gulen movement has recently donated a huge sum of money to Mrs. Hillary Clinton's campaign hoping that Clinton who will most likely become America's next president allows Gulenism to continue operating in the US. Accepting a big donation from a classified 'wanted' organization is disrespectful to Turks and Turkey. Clinton is already off to a bad start. Gulenizm, after Armenian and Israeli lobbies, will be the third lobby fighting fiercely against Turkey in the US. They will cooperate more and more with the Israeli lobby as they have so far done. Gulenism's war against Turkey is naturally buttering the bread of all enemies of Turkey, including the Armenian diaspora.
photo 3.JPG  How do you explain the role of religion and the church on Armenian genocide allegations against Turkey?

Vakkas Doğantekin: I think most Armenians are in a psychosis and their religion or church cannot do much about their repressed memory. Armenians, as a nation, have put religion, education and government to the service of 'genocide fabrications'. They don't have a bright future because they prefer to live in a dark past which was their own making. They suppress their guilt by playing the only victim for a century. Denial is their defense mechanism to cope with the atrocities they committed in Anatolia. They caused their own downfall; violently rebelled against Ottomans who were always kind and generous to them, destroyed villages, killed even their own kind when some Armenians didn't cooperate. They did what terrorist PKK wants to achieve today in Eastern Turkey. What happened in 1900s? Russians abused Armenians for their imperial interests and threw away like a dirty handkerchief when done. They caused tremendous loss of lives on both sides, lost their homes and neighbors, scattered to countries where an Armenian can never live his culture, can never find his food and can never find loving neighbors like the Turks and Kurds. We are so much alike but so far apart. I am sure they wouldn't have done it had they seen the consequences in advance. What is your approach on Pope Francis's remarks on 1915 incidents in this sense?

Vakkas Doğantekin: The Pope is just trying to restore the image of Vatican all over the Christian world. He says what people want to hear. He is exerting his full strength to divert attention from the wealth of the church and pedophilia arrests and allegations within Vatican. No matter what he does, the Christian world cannot easily come together in today's world as they did during the time of Crusades. A Christian leader cannot be of much help to the political causes of specific Christian nations. Political aspirations or problems of nation-states and erosion of values in the Christian world will make it more and more difficult for Christianity to have a say in the shaping of world events. The resolution about genocide in Srebrenica could not be passed from UN Security Council because of Russia's veto. Same Russia supports baseless Armenian allegations against Turkey. What lesson should Turkey take from these?

Vakkas Doğantekin: There is no country in the world with complete integrity. Governments are not charities. Russia kills bills that are against its national interests and US vetoes all bills against Israel. Nations must unite against United Nations to end this unjust political vicious circle that is nothing but a farce. Quoting president Tayyip Erdogan here, 'the world is bigger than five'. UN is a ‘non-profit’ capitalist corporation.

Consequently, President Erdogan should not call the leaders of Turkey’s potential future enemies such as Russia and Iran as his ‘dear friends’ since there is no friendship in international politics. He used to call Bashar Assad a ‘dear friend’ and look what happened now. Erdogan’s only true friend is his nation.
photo 1.JPG  Do you expect any changes in Turkish Armenian relations in near future?

Vakkas Doğantekin: Turkey has already taken several important steps such as starting flights between Yerevan and Istanbul, restoring the symbolic Ahtamar Church in Van, former Turkish president watching a soccer game in Yerevan, electing members of parliament with Armenian descent and condoning thousands of illegal Armenian workers; but Armenia has done nothing in return. Hateful and wealthy Armenian Diaspora is so powerful that any Armenian leader or politician who will start a constructive dialogue with Turkey will immediately be labeled a traitor and thrown out of Armenian politics. Therefore, I expect a status quo in Turkish-Armenian relations, Nagorno-Karabagh conflict and the so-called genocide matter. Situation can only get worse. My only hope is that the young generation Armenians who are sick and tired of negativity in their families will lose interest in this thorny issue and start living a normal life. I don’t hate Armenians as a race; as a matter of fact, I have several very good Armenian friends. Turkey also has thousands of Muslim Armenians. I hope and pray for peace among nations. There is no point in raising psychopaths for the future by fixating on the past.