A country where people, some most subjectively claim, worship power and adore the powerful. It is also the home country of the author of this write-up.
Having lived on the Anatolian soil, a land raided by scores of armies in countless battles for hundres of years, the people of Anatolia have learned that one of the best ways to survive, also the most commercially feasible, is to be on the side of the winner at all times. They figured, it is much better than being in power yourself. Ottoman janissaries brought down tens of Sultans, but always to replace them with the brother, cousin, uncle or some other relative of the Sultan that was toppled and never, not even once, thought of ruling the country themselves as any decent, normal junta would have done in any other part of the world.
One other explanation for power worship in Turkey is the concept of kut, or the authority to rule, as understood in pre-Islamic Turks. In Turkic shamanism, the authority to rule was believed to have been granted by the Gök Tengri (the God of Skies, the deity responsible for stately matters), and it was passed through blood. Thus, even after accepting Islam, the people of the land here did not even think about challenging the divine right to rule of the bloodline of a single dynasty; something they have been indoctrinated with by their shamanistic values over centuries. This also explains why the Ottoman Dynasty was able to rule its Empire uninterruptedly for more than 600 years, whereas power changed from one ruling royal family to another one on European soil every century or two.
That mighty tradition however, was broken by a group of pragmatic officers – heavily influenced by everything French including the 1789 revolution and the Enlightenment – who overthrew a Sultan in 1876 and rolled their sleeves to set up the first parliament of the country. The parliament was disbanded sometime later, but the same group of officers, this time organized in a political party-like formation known as the Committee of Progress and Union, did their coup d’état thing one more time in 1908 and this time kept their grip on power to declare the establishment of the republic in 1923. In fact, the reign of their mentality remains in power well into the late 2008s, that is to our day, but it is being contested and seriously shaken by the Islamist Justice and Development Party.
However, beyond the secularist and the newly emerging Islamist elite, the people have not given up that thousand-year old Anatolian tradition of siding with the stronger. This is why when a power struggle starts – be it between Kurdish nationalists and the state, or secularists or Islamists or anything else – it never ends in the country in question. For we have to play it safe until we’re sure which side is going to win, and this is why no side can ever garner enough weight and power to defeat the other side.
Nowhere else can this passion for keeping close to the powerful be observed so clearly as in the first division of the national soccer league, which boasts some 18 teams. Turks, all across the country, regardless of their social or economic status, religious convictions, educational background, ethnicity or any other attribute support only three of the wealthy and strong Istanbul teams, namely, Galatasaray (the Lions), Fenerbahçe (the Canaries) and Besiktas (the Black Eagles). In the nearly five decade history of today’s soccer league, championship has always rotated among these three teams with the glorious exception of Trabzonspor winning the title six times, the last time in 1984. Not surprisingly, the fourth most popular team in Turkey is Trabzonspor from the Black Sea port city of Trabzon, the only city in Turkey where almost all of the population supports their local team. Trabzonspor’s fan base spreads across the Black Sea region, making it the only team in Turkey where feelings of solidarity with one’s fellow townspeople count as a factor in becoming a fan of a soccer team.
A classic example of the Anatolian infatuation with power is Yasar Kemal's 1955 novel Memed My, Hawk, which according to many domestic observers truly captures and conveys the spirit of the Anatolian people. The story is about a young man from a village in the southern Çukurova region who joins a group of bandits in his quest to challenge the feudal lord -- aga in Turkish – who owns the land of the village and the people of it. In addition to being an all-powerful and undemocratic lord, this aga is relentless in making the poor farmers’ work day and night on his land but at the same time greatly unwilling to share the yields with them. A war between Memed – supported by his fellow bandits who are all in this thing for different reasons -- and the unjust villain of an "aga" is the main theme of the book. The villagers first support Memed, and then the aga, and then Memed again and they keep changing sides and the plot keeps twisting this way and that way throughout the book because the peasants cannot make out who the ultimate winner is going to be in this war.