In comments to the press following an incident last week at Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) in which the police attacked and detained protesting students, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared: “We have a problem with the media. It is [should be] their mission to announce good things to my people. This is what I want.”
I have not heard of a prime minister in the more democratic parts of the world who tells the press what its mission is or how he likes news to be written or what things he would think the press should be reporting. All the same, recalling past and present memories of multibillion-dollar tax fines at our publishing group and colleagues in jail, I think the prime minister’s wish is a mission possible. I volunteer to launch our mission to announce “good things to Mr. Erdoğan’s people,” as His Excellency desires.
Enjoy the good news, prime minister! This is my humble New Year’s gift for you:
- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has bowed to Turkish pressure and announced his resignation after 20 months of civil war in the country. Mr. al-Assad apologized for not having stepped down earlier and recommended Sunni Islamist rule for the future of his country.
- The Arab League has appealed to Ankara to designate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the reinstated caliph of the Muslim world.
- All five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council unanimously agreed to accept Turkey as the sixth permanent member.
- Shiite Iran and Shiite communities in Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain have announced that they will convert to Sunni Islam. In a concerted action, leaders of Turkey’s Alevi community said they, too, will convert to the Sunni sect.
- The European Union has finally endorsed Turkey’s full membership bid, but Ankara said it would take accession to a national referendum. Analysts expect an overwhelming majority of Turks will vote against membership.
- Turkey announced that it has withdrawn its membership in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons after state scientists announced they successfully developed the country’s first nuclear bomb.
- The Israeli government said it was ready to negotiate a return to pre-1967 borders and surrender Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state if this would help normalize diplomatic relations with Turkey.
- The first fully Turkish-made fighter jet, the Partridge 2023, has successfully completed its flight tests. A total of 112 countries have signed up to buy more than 1,000 Partridges for their air forces. The unmanned, vertical take-off and landing Partridge can engage in air-to-air and air-to-ground missions as well as underwater cruising, and is controlled by one of Turkey’s 329 military satellites in orbit.
- After the Kurdistan Workers’ Party announced its final surrender of arms following a nearly three-decade-long fight for a Kurdish homeland, the Iraqi Kurdish authorities have appealed to Ankara for the annexation of Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey. Ankara welcomed the appeal and said it expected other former Ottoman colonies to follow suit.
- Turkish scientists have successfully developed the world’s first Muslim-meter. The device can remotely measure a person’s Muslimness and is expected to be used in job interviews for government service.
- The latest census has put Turkey’s population at 138 million. Various demographic studies estimate that Turkey’s population will reach 229 million by the year 2071.
- Turkey’s last public school has been converted into an imam school. Prime Minister Erdoğan said he hoped the last three remaining universities in the country would convert themselves into madrasahs with a full religious curriculum.
- Members of a clandestine terror organization aiming to overthrow the Turkish caliphate and sultanate have been sentenced to death. Turkish Special Forces have also cracked down on another terror group whose members include atheists.
I hope the prime minister will pardon the modesty of this gift. I could have “announced many more good things to his people,” but space limitations are as problematic as other restrictions in our country.
(Burak Bekdil is a writer for Hurriyet Daily News where this article was published on Dec. 28, 2012)