“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or Turkey in the Twilight Zone

A scene from the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, 1956


“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

                                                                                                       George Orwell, 1984

 Is it real or is it virtual? Who is genuine and who is fake? What is factual and what is manipulated? What is propaganda and what is the “news”? who is the enemy and who is on our side? It is not possible to tell!

It feels like being in the science fiction movie: Invasion of the Body Snatchers where the whole world is taken over by aliens…You see it happening. There is nothing you can do about it…It is not possible to tell who is human and who is alien! You can not stop it, there is no way you can prevent it from happening! Everything and everyone is changing bit by bit, day by day! Promises made turn into illusions…yesterday becomes a pale memory, today is radically different till it shifts again. Truth is a lie in disguise, whereas the lie itself is the new truth! Words and actions do not match! Nothing feels real. Nothing feels normal. The new real, the new normal…which feels bizarre…we feel out of sync with reality…time and space do not match…words…they do not mean anything…they do not signify anything…actions, our actions do not have any consequences we intend them to have. It feels like being a part of a computer game where we are “doomed” to lose…AI is the ultimate winner. It is the matrix. We are in the matrix. We are made to believe we have free will! “Made” to believe…we vote, protest, vote, march, protest, gather, disperse, unite, separate, hope, vote…but, it is the matrix that keeps on winning!

This “borderline” experience in the twilight zone has been our “reality” for the last sixteen years. Where we live, our words do not have echoes, we are invisible…our votes do not count…our ideas do not touch anyone…the history we know have been negated, our values undermined, our life style marginalized, our aspirations looked down upon, our votes stolen. We have been silenced, ignored, undermined…we have become the “other”. We are the new “minority”…forty million of us…everything we represent, fought for, value, aspire like “secularism”, “liberal democracy”, “equality”, “diversity”, “respect for human rights”, “female emancipation”, “freedom of speech”, “freedom of expression”, “rule of law”, “peace”, “rational thought” have become targets of attack…our words have been silenced in media…our TVs shut down, our press silenced, journalists put in prison, social media accounts attacked…we are the heretics, the marginals, the other, the criminals…every one of us who are journalists, women, feminists, students, Kemalists, Alevites, academicians, soldiers, government officers, humanists, peace keepers, atheists, Jews, Christians…all of us who are not them, who do not think like them, who do not look like them…

There is a ceremony on TV…an imam is reading a prayer in Arabic and then he switches to Turkish…It feels so religious…when I was a child, I would only see an imam praying in Arabic when someone passed away…when I was a child, Islam was about the divine, the transcendent, the spiritual, the after life…This prayer and this imam is a part of a presidential ceremony of my country…Is what I am seeing real or am I hallucinating? Is it supposed to feel “normal”? Is this the new “normal”? what is an “imam” doing in the presidential ceremony of secular state? What is really happening to my country?

Turkey has been invaded by body snatchers of Islamofascism. In my once beautiful country, secularism has become a hollow word, human rights a pure illusion, gender equality a nostalgic yearning, modern life style a marginal struggle, freedom of expression an impossibility!

The forefather of Islamofascism once asked: “will it happen with or without spilling blood?”. Islamofascism has taken over my country with little blood but with lots of lies, deceits, cheats, manipulations, fake news, propaganda and the “Orwellian” double speak…

The presidential election was the last nail on the coffin of a once beautiful secular, democratic country! But, the reality has not fully sunk in most people’s minds! And when it does -after the dose of narcosis has been lowered- the lamenting will be severe!

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