History does not repeat itself in Erdogan’s battle against the empire of privileges
In the late 19th century, Masonic societies and secret organizations established by citizens of the Ottoman Empire, most of whom were from Jewish and Christian minorities, or from Muslims imbued with Western ideas, spread. The result of their education in European universities. With the beginning of the twentieth century, amongst those organizations disguised as liberalism emerged, the Society for Union and Progress, which set its sights on the goal of overthrowing the caliphate and getting rid of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, especially after he rejected Herzl’s demand to establish a national home for the Jews in Palestine. The Sultan, who inherited an empire burdened by military weakness, administrative slack and high-interest debts, had launched a comprehensive economic reform process called self-sufficiency, and based on a monetary policy based on the gold and silver lira, activating internal trade, expanding the establishment of modern banks, and supporting the agricultural sector, in light of what The state was subjected to the restrictions of foreign privileges, and its hand was shackled in industrialization by European countries.
The statement of “TUSIAD”, which coincided with the decline of the Turkish lira to record levels against the dollar, and followed a meeting between the new president of the association Simon Kaslowski (of Italian Jewish origin) and the opposition leader, head of the Republican People’s Party, “Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu”, caused a media uproar and sparked a political controversy that did not even subside. With the lira recently recovering and recovering a large amount of its lost value against the dollar, after Erdogan launched a new deposit mechanism that preserves for Turks the value of their savings, no matter how the exchange rate changes.
In the midst of external pressures and internal conflicts, Sultan Abdul Hamid’s intelligence became aware of the growing danger of the Society for Union and Progress and its association with the global Zionist movement. But that awakening came too late, and after the association became stronger and its influence extended through political and financial alliances, open and secret, throughout the Ottoman Empire. And soon, the Western-funded movement resorted to motivating the people to take to the streets, claiming to demand the restoration of the constitution and the revival of Parliament. Despite the response of Sultan Abdul Hamid in 1908 to the demands of the demonstrators, the incitement activities and incitement statements against the Caliph did not stop. After the bloody turmoil of April 31, 1909 in the capital Istanbul (known historically as the 31 Mart incident), the Union and Progress Army moved from Thessaloniki and succeeded in isolating Sultan Abdul Hamid II from all his civil and religious authorities, to start a whole new chapter in Turkish history.
Does history repeat itself?
“Do not try…today’s Turkey is not the Turkey of yesterday”; This is how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded – decisively and exuding anger – to the maneuvers of a brewing alliance between the political opposition and the Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists Association “TUSIAD”, whose name has shined “with urgency” since it issued a statement (on December 17th) in the form of a letter addressed The Ankara government calls for rationality and science in managing the economy and accuses it of harming the interests of the country and people as a result of its insistence on lowering the interest rate.
The statement of “TUSIAD”, which coincided with the decline of the Turkish lira to record levels against the dollar, and followed a meeting between the new president of the association Simon Kaslowski (of Italian Jewish origin) and the opposition leader, head of the Republican People’s Party, “Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu”, caused a media uproar and sparked a political controversy that did not even subside. With the lira recovering recently and recovering a large amount of its lost value against the dollar, after Erdogan launched a new deposit mechanism that preserves for Turks the value of their savings, regardless of the exchange rate change. Once again, the Turkish president announces his categorical rejection of the opposition’s request to bring forward the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for June 2023. But what is the secret of his public attack on the oldest and largest business association in his country and accusing it of being “working to bring down the government in various ways”?! What is the significance of his comparison between “Turkey the past and the present” in addressing the opposition?
I will try to answer through a quick look at the history and nature of “TUSIAD”, whose name may be heard more loudly in the media in the coming period (especially in light of what was leaked about a package of economic measures that the Turkish government is preparing to announce soon to control prices and break the monopoly of the market by some major companies).
In terms of numbers, TUSIAD includes thousands of companies and today constitutes the equivalent of 50% of the Turkish GDP, and works under its umbrella 50% of the local workforce. It also accounts for about 85% of the country’s total foreign trade. The Association of Businessmen and Industry was founded by a group of the richest people in Turkey (with secular left-leaning orientations, most notably the “Koç” and “Spanci” families) in 1971, one month after the March 12 military coup that overthrew Suleyman Demirel, and in a political atmosphere Inflamed and accompanied by the rise of Islamists and conservatives. It wasn’t long before he wore the “burqa of neutrality” until the political face of “TUSIAD” was revealed during the government of “Bulent Ecevit” (the secularist who allied with the Islamists), so it published an advertisement in the newspapers entitled “The Right Solution to the Economy” demanding that he resign, and ended up imprisoning him in 1980 after another military coup.
Once again, the influential assembly took a position against a government coalition (conservative) formed by the Welfare Party and the Right Path headed by Necmettin Erbakan, and supported the military coup against him on February 28, 1997, after a “statement” calling for the resignation of the government – and what looked like yesterday night – In the form of an article published by a newspaper owned by one of its wealthy people entitled “We will solve the matter without the force of arms.” Over the subsequent years, the political influence of the “TUSIAD” lobby grew, which consolidated its economic control over Turkish capital through a near-total monopoly on commercial activity, export operations, and industry. The association has been refusing to grant its membership to businessmen affiliated with the conservative Islamic trend (which may explain the establishment of a number of conservative businessmen in 1990 to establish a competing association called “Musiad” that set unfamiliar and strict conditions for its membership, as if the applicant for membership is a Muslim and has a good reputation, It is the bloc that later – especially during the era of the Justice and Development Party – became a significant economic force.This is a topic that needs to be explained in a separate article).
The reality is that TUSIAD is no longer just a huge economic bloc or an influential lobby in the capabilities of Turkish politics. Over the past half a century, it has turned into an “empire” that controls the media, fashion, art and sports just as it controls publishing houses, banks, the stock market and private universities. For years, the association has maintained a “safety distance” in its relationship with the government, and even contributed to the financing of major projects adopted by the Turkish president, including the electric car project. However, some of its leaders did not hesitate to engage in indirect “skirmishes” with Erdogan, as happened when the Koç family supported the protests in Istanbul’s Taksim Square (known as the Gezi Park events) in 2013, whose leaders hoped for a popular momentum to bring down the government. In parallel, TUSIAD worked to weave political alliances to influence the results of any general or local elections. It did not even hesitate to obstruct major development projects when interests conflicted, such as the railway network project, which it opposed for fear of its profits from the car and tire trade, which it almost completely monopolizes.
The novel says that Turgut Ozal, the eighth president of the Republic of Turkey (1989-1993) died of poisoning only 20 days after giving a speech in which he said, “I was a student reading aloud the lines of a book describing Sultan Abdul Hamid II with the sultan of blood, and my grandfather who lived his youth in During the rule of the Sultan listening, he shouted angrily, “This is a lie and slander.. they teach you a mistake,” and I asked him in dismay, “Grandfather, do you know more than books?!” And dishonest.. I realized that my grandfather was right at that time, and today I wonder how to write history?! They described the Caliph as the “sultan of blood”, while those who study the circumstances of his time will realize that he was a brilliant politician, a hard-working reformer, established schools, paved roads, and made many achievements. Then the Union and Progress Party came up with the slogan of unity and advancement, right?