Brotherhoods in Turkey
NB: The author hits it on the head. It’s all about (institutional) cronyism.
No, I will not write about the Islamic brotherhoods, as we all know about them and there have been innumerable studies on them. On the other hand, reading in the newspapers that the former Maoist, today’s ultranationalist now imprisoned Ergenekon terror organization leader suspect, Workers’ Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek is indeed a Freemason, according to the Ergenekon indictment evidence files, reminded me of how little we actually know about Masonic brotherhoods in the country.
It is true that there is a vast amount of literature in Turkish on Freemasonry, but as these brotherhoods work secretly behind closed doors and their membership lists are not transparent, we live in the dark. We do not know if a prestigious judge is a Freemason or not or if this judge would treat a suspect who is also a brother with favoritism. Dr. Ümit Sayın, another jailed Ergenekon suspect, has confessed that he is a Freemason and that he was working for the Turkish Council of Forensic Medicine of the Justice Ministry. Can you imagine how Mr. Sayın would prepare his report about another brother in trouble?
For decades, the Kemalists have reiterated that the reason they are against the headscarf being worn at universities is that when these covered women graduate, they would want to be judges, etc., and they would not treat the suspects equally because of the headscarf or the suspects would not trust the impartiality of the judge because of her appearance. Because of this poor, flawed and cruel argument, many thousands of young women cannot obtain a university education in Turkey. But nobody dares to ask if there are Freemason judges or if these judges treat their brothers with favoritism, while, for example, treating headscarved women unjustly. I give the example of headscarved women since we all know that Freemasons both in Turkey and in France are behind the headscarf ban in Turkey. Mr. Fehmi Koru has written on the issue several times and the daily Zaman’s Paris correspondent, Ali İhsan Aydın, reported on Feb. 16 that French Grandmaster of the Grand Orient of France Jean-Michel Quillardet declared that they were opposed to the headscarf at universities and claimed that the headscarf is not a Quranic obligation. It is obvious that if he were a judge, he would have difficulty in deciding cases on headscarved women.
Our Freemason brothers are extremely sensitive about their secret identity. They play important roles in the public and are present in many social groups. We never know if a person has a double agenda or not and we sometimes learn that a person was a Freemason after he passes away, which is in most cases too late. When Mr. Süleyman Demirel decided to enter politics, he requested a letter from Turkey’s Freemasons to show that he was not a Freemason. He received the letter, but afterwards the Turkish Freemasons split over the decision, with one faction telling the other that it was not right to provide such a document since Mr. Demirel was indeed a Freemason.
We have no idea who is a Freemason while also playing important public roles. Sometimes Freemasons depict themselves as humanistic idealists who strive for the common good. But if that is the case, why do they need to hide their secret identity? Moreover, as the Freemasons are either connected to Mr. Quillardet’s French rite or to the Scottish one, we don’t know what happens if a Turkish Freemason’s multiple loyalties clash, i.e., if Turkey’s interest is A and elder brothers overseas insist on B, or even worse Z. As their identities are secret we can never have an informed public discussion about any sensitive issue without having an idea about discussants’ ulterior motives.
We have heard enough about the claims of the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) takiyye (hiding one’s true intentions), but why doesn’t anyone tackle Freemasons’ obvious, self-confessed and intrinsic takiyye?