A 62 year old Turkish acquaintance of mine recently informed me that he had erected an empire and was now going by the title İmparator Mustafa.
The empire currently extends from Mustafa’s ground-level apartment in the seaside town of Fethiye in southwest Turkey to the three rental apartments he has just constructed above it. The creation of novel territorial entities has apparently been necessitated by Mustafa’s conviction that, prior to the rise to power of the Islamic-oriented Justice and Development (AK) Party, Turkish girls roamed the streets in bikinis.
In order to construct the apartments, Mustafa tore down the restaurant he had operated since the 1970s but that had in recent years failed to subsidize his daily consumption of rakı, the national alcoholic beverage, serving instead as a forum for Mustafa to spout political wisdom to the gang of loyal companions that arrived each night with bags of sunflower seeds and beer. His attempts to seduce European tourists with a misspelled banner advertising the “Ottoman Fantazy Kebab”—the distinguishing characteristic of which was that it was cooked on a cast-iron contraption Mustafa swore was an Ottoman army relic—proved fruitless, and the novelty was discontinued after one too many wooden chairs had been sacrificed to maintain the kebab oven’s flame.
As for other Ottoman fantasies, Mustafa reminded me last week when I paid his empire a visit that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had recognized the inadvisability of national alignments with Arabs, who in addition to betraying the Ottoman Turks ate with their hands. The latter complaint evidently did not affect the ability of contemporary emperors to manually devour chicken while simultaneously smoking cigarettes; Mustafa meanwhile boasted that he would presumably follow in Atatürk’s footsteps by dying of cirrhosis of the liver, an option not available for AK Party ministers who had betrayed the secular foundations of the Turkish Republic and whose fault it was that Mustafa had counted over 30 veiled women on the street that day.
Additional blame was assigned to the United States, which he claimed had given the Turkish regime the idea to levy hefty taxes on his preferred consumption items, and to Europe, whose citizens were abandoning Turkey in favor of cheaper holiday destinations with no regard for Mustafa’s own financial situation. An ally was, however, detected in the businessman from Moscow currently lodged in one of the upstairs apartments, and Mustafa argued that Russia’s recognition of the Armenian genocide was of subordinate importance when the Russian populace was also waging a struggle against secessionist ethnicities and increases in the price of vodka.
Mustafa’s empire has not interfered with his pledge to enlist in the Turkish armed forces in order to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish nation. He has yet to explain whether his military skills extend beyond operation of the Fantazy Kebab oven, or why his foundation of an empire on Turkish territory does not violate the indissoluble nature of the Republic of Turkey.