Two weeks after I came home from a touristic travel to Tunisia in early december 2010, the uprising against Ben Ali started. I was surprised, since I had traveled throughout the whole country and talked to many people, not the least students, asking them what feelings they harboured for the man in charge. Except minor complaints about the high unemployment, all they said was positive. Education was free, people were happy. I left the country with a totally wrong perception of Ben Alis popularity. I had been naïve, and the Arab spring came as a surprise to me.
But I would would fall into the same trap twice…
During my two years in Turkey, before the Gezi protests, politics was something that people smoothly avoided to talk openly about at dinner tables where not all guests where known. Only at closed gathering, in my predominantly secular circles of friends, did some anger and the dissatisfaction with Erdogan’s politics show. But this I only realised in hindsight and I was therefore surprised when the Gezi protests took place and grew to a national phenomenon. I could never have guessed they would occur one week before they started.
I came to draw the conclusion that in an environment, where critical opinions can´t be ventilated on a continuous basis, sudden, unexpected outbursts – such as the Gezi protests and the Arab Spring- will always be the way of change – BY DESIGN.
So, what can this teach us about the future of Erdogan, the feelings about him in his own circles now so celebrating, supporting and free of criticism against him?
Does the silence and acceptance within the AKP mean that no one harbours any criticism towards him?
Most definitely not.
One example: Bulent Arinc is by many looked upon as the reasonable voice of AKP, before so talkative on all issues. Why has he recently been so silent?
And what does the grass roots of the AKP think about the Soma accident where no secularists where victims, but instead people like the ones Erdogan says he is trying to help?
Does people close to Erdogan buy his explanation and his denial of any involvement in the company who manages the mine?
Do the AKP believe in the Robot Lobisi?
I have decided not to fall into the same trap a third time. The AKP keep silent, just like the liberals and the secularistic Turkey did before the Gezi protests, before they had enough, before it all had built up to being just more than they could accept. But I know better now.
I know that that silence harbours more criticism than thousand words are capable of.
Piece by piece Erdogan is building up a heavy pile sh*% that will eventually fall down on him, crush him, bye bye!