By Ihsan Bal
We most recently encountered this revolting and heartless mischief-making in Didim, Aydin Province on May 5.
I am referring to a mentality which can lead one to scrawl an “X” on the front door of a home to two Alevis, something which makes one think both of Nazi Germany and also of underworld gangs in this country settling scores in a murky haze.
Whether you call it a provocation or the work of an idiot, layabout or someone who does not know that they are doing, the result demonstrates that there are certain people who are involved in an unpleasant and ugly plan for Turkey.
Fearful mass hunt
We first encountered them in Adiyaman in February. They put marks on 45 doors. Then came Gaziantep, Izmir, and Erzincan. Finally there was Didim. This insidious mentality, this dark spirit is obviously intent on something.
It is also very noticeable that this outbreak started in Adiyaman, a place where the integration of Alevis and Sunnis is most complete, society as a whole has learned to live together and until now there has been absolutely no polarization.
First and foremost, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have to be alert and the government has to demonstrate that it has the will to find those responsible.
No one in this country should be able to dare to put an X on a house door and then wander around without any legal responsibility. Experiments in doing that sort of thing in the laboratory that is Turkey have always been punished by the broad mass of ordinary people. They have never been accepted.
But if this murderous spirit and insidious mentality do not grow tired of continually attempting to do the same thing, then there are things which we should be doing.
The disease of fanning the flames
The first thing that needs to be given priority is ensuring that nothing is done which might exacerbate tensions between Alevis and Sunnis, i.e. fanning the flames. The second is to obtain the vision needed to see in advance the confrontational conspiracy, which these those behind the actions want to achieve in the near future in addition to the social chaos arising from them. The third important issue, though perhaps not in hierarchical order, is to find the culprits and hand them over to justice without fail and without making excuses or making light of the things that have been done.
No dispute between opposition and government
The investigation has to be carried out correctly and responsibly. There is nothing about it which should be taken lightly.
The opposition’s tendency is to make a mountain out of a molehill of these incidents, linking them somehow with what is going on over Syria, while government circles tend to dismiss them as the work of children. Both are the wrong responses.
It is extremely important that the incidents are fully explained, a climate of confidence is re-established and daily life returns to normal. A woman living in one of the houses that was marked in Adiyaman says that her children are afraid to go to school and that the men of her family do not sleep but keep watch at night. Alarm has reached such a level where the victims think of moving to other towns.
The fact that the Alevis still feel this fear even though it has been a fair amount of time since the incidents stems from the psychological dimension of their perception of security. In circumstances where so much anxiety is being felt, that perception will have to be changed and social confidence restored for calm to return. That can only happen with a transparent investigation, the discovery of the culprits, and the revelation of what really happened.
The fact which we do know at present is that someone has jabbed a pin into our nerve endings. Further explanations must await the discovery of whoever it was.
Agreement with those who say that we should not exaggerate the matter is only possible if the facts are uncovered without the matter being brushed aside.
Ihsan Bal, Head of USAK Science Committee