Turkey’s Wrong Turn


Date posted: January 29, 2014

THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD

Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was in Brussels last week seeking to repair relations with Europe, but the first place to look for a solution is within himself. Once hailed as the leader of a model Muslim democracy, he has created a political disaster at home, transforming Turkey into an authoritarian state that poses dangers not just for itself but for its allies in NATO, including the United States.

The latest turmoil has its roots in a political war between Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and his former close allies who follow Fethullah Gulen, a moderate Islamic scholar who lives in Pennsylvania. The tensions erupted into the open last month with a corruption probe that led to the resignation of four government ministers and threatened to ensnare Mr. Erdogan’s family. The prime minister called the probe a “coup attempt” and blamed a “secret organization” within the judiciary and police directed by the Gulen movement and serving “foreign powers” like the United States and Israel. The government has since purged hundreds of police officials and prosecutors and sought to assert control over the judiciary. It also drafted legislation expanding the government’s power to appoint judges and prosecutors, further breaching judicial independence, and has prevented journalists from reporting freely. All the while, Mr. Erdogan has spewed endless conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric, even hinting at American treachery and suggesting that the American ambassador might be expelled.

The probe and Mr. Erdogan’s reaction may well be politically motivated. There are important local elections in March. But Mr. Erdogan should be insisting that the probe be fair and transparent, not trying to derail it. His ruthless ways and his attempt to crush dissent are not new, as the crackdown against demonstrators during protests last June showed. Such actions trample on democratic reforms demanded by the European Union as part of Turkey’s bid for union membership, which may be more in peril than ever, and they are increasingly at odds with the ground rules for NATO members.

Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was right when he said in Brussels that the Europeans must demand that Turkey return to the rule of law. The Obama administration also needs to send a strong message about the damaging course Mr. Erdogan is pursuing. Whether Turkey nurtures its hard-won democracy, which has contributed to its impressive economic growth, or turns authoritarian is as critical to regional stability and to its NATO allies as it is to Turks.

Source: New York Times , January 27, 2014


Related News

Abant Platform convenes to discuss problems of Turkish education system

Tens of educators, bureaucrats, civil society organizations and private education foundations from Turkey and 15 other countries have come together to discuss the problems of Turkish education system and to propose possible solutions to those problems at the Abant Platform’s 31st meeting that kicked off on Saturday in İstanbul.

What we learned from the operation

While the government works to finish off the Hizmet movement, it may even call for the expulsion of the US ambassador from the country. The real duty of Halkbank is to act as Iran’s opening door to the world, and the US blockade has been violated for years. We learned that the pro-government media is allergic to shoe boxes [money used in alleged bribery was found in shoe boxes in one of the suspects’ homes].

‘First, account for the shirt you are wearing’

Those who make fortunes, use politics as a shield for their unethical acts and commit bribery would not understand Gülen. And is there any logic in hurting or insulting those who have not married or borne children?

Will the AKP lose votes in disagreement with Gülen movement?

It is very likely that the real purpose of the government is indeed to punish the Gülen movement. Many political observers disagree with such a claim however, AKP officials have not find any convincing argument that will convince conservative people that the government is not punishing the Gülen movement, a movement that has touched many lives among the conservative people in the heartland of Anatolia.

Losing rationality in politics and the economy

Turkey has a weak record of institutionalization. Despite the “We are a big state” narrative, today, Turkey’s political model is simple: the leader and the nation. Lacking effective institutions that can accommodate political fluctuations, crises of various calibers can harm Turkey’s stability easily.

Bank Asya fights back against Erdogan attack

The government’s 10-month attack on Bank Asya has seen its share price slump by 50%, with the stock periodically prevented from trading on the Borsa, Istanbul’s stock exchange. The turmoil surrounding the bank has seen the failure of an agreed deal with the Qatar Islamic Bank, and an unwanted government-led attempt by state-owned deposit bank Ziraat, which recently created an Islamic unit, to absorb the privately owned Bank Asya.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Şifa University rector says gov’t move to shut down hospitals won’t affect education

The Alliance for Shared Values Statement on Ankara Attacks

Society ready for a new constitution, but how about politics?

The legacy of a professor closing down schools

Understanding shifts in Islamic interpretation in Turkey through Gulen-inspired Yamanlar High School

Unexpected consequences [of prep schools in Turkey]

Samanyolu news faces cyber attack from abroad

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News