It’s all fun and games until an unlucky comparison gets you arrested with potential years behind bars. That’s exactly what happened to Dr. Bilgin Çiftçi and at least two other Turkish citizens for likening their everlasting president to Gollum, the adorable but admittedly tortured creature from “The Lord of the Rings.”
Arresting people for comparing politicians to fantasy characters was already absurd. But the surreal nature of the situation continued to escalate, as panels of experts were summoned to assess whether Gollum was truly evil and if the comparison legally insulted president Erdogan.
Even LoTR director Peter Jackson and his screenwriters chimed in, issuing an official statement on the matter (for what it’s worth, their view was that the character in the photos was Smeagol, not Gollum). But we’re not here to decipher Tolkien lore or interpret Turkish laws. Our job is simple: to decide if Gollum and the Turkish president were separated at birth. Luckily, we are outside Erdogan’s dragonian (ahem) do-not-insult jurisdiction, so, without further ado, let’s dive in.
The backdrop of litigation and cinematic debate does add intrigue to the juxtaposition of Gollum and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. At first, Turkey’s political powerhouse and Tolkien’s memorable iconic character might seem worlds apart. However, on closer examination, some interesting parallels between the two emerge.
From the beginning, Gollum, with his oversized, expressive eyes, is a figure hard to forget. The eyes, synonymous with his character, can find parallels to Erdoğan’s intense gaze, especially noticeable during his passionate speeches. While Gollum’s features, gaunt and sharp, are accentuated by the challenges of his journey with the One Ring, Erdoğan’s strong facial profile, shaped by years in the political arena, also stands out, making him one of the most recognizable figures in global politics.
Beyond just physical appearance, their personalities, or at least the public’s perception of them, also seem to converge at certain points. Gollum’s internal struggle, oscillating between the gentle Sméagol and the more sinister Gollum, paints a picture of duality. Similarly, Erdoğan’s political journey reflects the complexities and dualities faced by leaders on the global stage. Balancing between public expectations, international relations, and domestic challenges, Erdoğan, like many politicians, has shown different facets of his personality, depending on the situation.
However, it’s essential to highlight the stark differences. Gollum’s world is a rich tapestry of fantasy, filled with elves, dragons, and magic. In contrast, Erdoğan’s reality is rooted in the intricate and often challenging world of politics, governance, and international diplomacy. Their motivations, challenges, and stories, though seemingly parallel in some aspects, are fundamentally different.
At the end of the day, both Gollum and Erdoğan have left indelible marks in their respective spheres. Whether in the heart of Middle-earth or the political arenas of Turkey, their presences are felt, discussed, and debated. The idea of comparing them? Just another testament to their lasting impact.