Mr. Erdogan’s own Islamist and autocratic tendencies have also compounded the country’s vulnerability. Since an attempted coup last summer, the President has purged thousands of police officers and soldiers, and the resulting talent and resources gap may have damaged Ankara’s counterterror capabilities.
Ironically, Erdogan finds it more expedient to blame Hizmet, rather than Daesh (IS), for the jihadist atrocities being consistently perpetrated in Turkey today. Thus, the Turkish Islamist president has got a scapegoat following all terror incidents of jihadist nature or other internal crisis engulfing the country.
However, Erdogan has a problem: Whereas Ataturk came to power as a military general, Erdogan has a democratic mandate to govern. Ataturk’s Turkey was rural and only 10 percent of the country was literate at the time, with most educated people supporting his agenda. Erdogan’s Turkey is 80 percent urban and nearly 100 percent literate, and many well-educated Turks oppose his agenda.
Karlov’s murderer was Mevlüt Mert Altintas. He did not grow up in a vacuum. Five years ago, Erdogan acknowledged his goal was “to raise a religious generation.” Altintas is its product. He was seven years old when Erdogan came to power; his whole schooling was under Erdogan. If history is any pattern, the violence in Turkey is just beginning and Erdogan will not be able to contain it, even if he is inclined to try.
Turkey has a terror problem. The Islamic State, Kurdish extremists and radical leftists each pursue targets inside Turkey seemingly with impunity. Turkey is no stranger to terrorism, but for decades it managed to control the problem. Turkey’s security forces were efficient. Today, however, the situation has changed. Turkish President Erdogan has purged the military, the police, and intelligence professionals.
No doubt that Turkey’s Schindler’s List today involves members of the Gülen movement who have done nothing wrong other than volunteering their time, money and expertise to improve the lives of people around themselves. They are viciously being demonized and vilified by Turkey’s President Erdoğan because they stood up against this tyrant’s massive corruption dragnet and arming of radical militants in other countries.
Western officials have preferred to raise concerns over the steady dismantling of Turkey’s free institutions only privately with their counterparts in Ankara. This approach has failed. That failure has left many millions of pro-democracy Turks to fend for themselves, while a once-fringe ideological element in the AKP, reared on Islamist supremacism, has been emboldened.
Turkey’s Erdogan regime has arrested an American pastor whom they could use in a possible exchange for the Turkish Muslim cleric they want to extradite from the United States. The Muslim Fethullah Gülen is accused by the Erdogan regime to be the mastermind behind the latest failed-military-coup intending to depose the president.
How did Turkey plunge into this mess of freedom suffocation, and what has really gone wrong with the once-admired President Erdogan ? While I keep pondering on these questions, I believe it is not too late for the Turkish government to retrace its steps and embrace full democratic norms.
Initially, the youth branches will be formed in 1,500 mosques. But under the plan, 20,000 mosques will have youth branches by 2021, and finally 45,000 mosques will have them. Observers fear the youth branches may turn into Erdogan’s “mosque militia,” like the Nazi Party’s Hitler Youth organization in Germany.
In the wake of the abortive July 15 coup, he purged thousands of experienced counter-terror police and rotated others out of areas they know best. In effect, this means the Turkish security and police are operating blind. It can take years to gain the experience in any particular locality that those whom Erdogan fired had.
At the heart of the matter is the question of Maa’rif’s credentials to take over the schools instead of its Pakistani management. Turkey is least known for its standard of education. Moreover, the Erdogan-backed organisation is neither experienced in the education field nor apolitical. The organisation is already scared with allegation of child sexually abuse in Turkey.
What is the sense in advocating for the transfer of investments of private individuals to a government backed NGO? Is President Erdogan indirectly telling African leaders that his empire in Turkey extends to African countries hence the outrageous demand? From the preceding, it is clear that President Erdogan has little or no respect for African nations hence this anomaly. I also beg to state here that the politics of Turkey should be left in Turkey.
If the executive branch were to interfere too forcefully in the Gülen extradition case now, it would only confirm Turkish leaders’ belief that the U.S. system operates on the same corrupt terms as Turkey’s. This would fundamentally affirm Erdoğan’s view that democracy as a value and a practice is a purely cynical discourse used by Western powers to harm Turkey.