Political predictions for 2014

Emre Uslu
Emre Uslu


Date posted: January 1, 2014

EMRE USLU

I should warn you that 2014 will not be better than 2013. All economic and political signs indicate this. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is getting lonelier and this makes him more ill-tempered. Groups that benefit from Erdoğan have started to act more concerned. They are now feeling the heat from the possibility of being held accountable for their acts or fraud.

They are making new moves to cover up their mistakes. But every new step they make creates another mistake. They have been living in a spiral of mistakes for the last two years.

The bombs that exploded in Uludere and Reyhanlı showed us how terrorist organizations have penetrated deep into the state apparatus. The police seized weapons used in assassination which were being produced under state supervision in Konya. The seizure of these weapons was personally confirmed by Erdoğan, too.

Worse still, it has come out that Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi Arabian businessman who is on the US Treasury Department’s “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” list, received senior recognition in Turkey. Photos showing al-Qadi side-by-side with the prime minister’s son, Bilal Erdoğan, have been published.

This jeopardizes Turkey’s position in the international arena. To clarify the situation for Turks, let me give an example. Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Murat Karayılan is on the terrorist organizations list prepared by the US. This is why his financial assets are frozen in the US.

Now suppose that US President Barack Obama’s guards greet Karayılan at the airport and host him as a senior guest in the US. He even starts to do business with Obama. What would be Turkey’s reaction?

The US will now react similarly to the Erdoğan and al-Qadi connection. Erdoğan had previously given assurances about the credibility of al-Qadi. But the fact that al-Qadi came to Turkey many times, received high-level treatment from Erdoğan and did business with Erdoğan’s relatives at a time when his entry was prohibited by Cabinet decision should have other implications.

We will see these implications in 2014. I hope the US does not penalize Turkey for what the Erdoğan family does.

In 2014, the international conjuncture will not be favorable to Erdoğan. We are talking about an Erdoğan who lost in Egypt and whose credibility with the West has waned. It is very hard for Erdoğan to reaffirm himself as a strong and democratic leader.

The Hakan Fidan-led National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has led the Erdoğan administration into a quagmire in Syria. It brought weapons from Libya and mujahedeen from Chechnya as well as al-Qaeda warriors from the Arab world and sent them to Syria. By doing so, Erdoğan confronted both Russia and the US. This unique “success” is enough to tell us that 2014 will not be an easy year for Erdoğan.

There are two big risk areas for Erdoğan. One of them is the total war he declared against the Gülen movement for no apparent reason. Erdoğan can expect no easy victory from this war. Moreover, a leader whose close circle is accused of corruption cannot wage such a war.

The Gülen community is engaged in a life-or-death fight while Erdoğan conducts a defensive war. He tries to defend his power, money, strength and wealth.

The larger the “things” you try to defend, the more difficult your defensive war. There are so many “things” Erdoğan has to protect that it is virtually impossible for him to win this war.

The second major issue for Erdoğan is his stance regarding the PKK and the Kurdish issue.

The Kurdish issue will be one of the decisive matters in 2014. Apparently, Erdoğan and PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan have made a deal to maintain a cease-fire. But Erdoğan is weakening, and it won’t be easy for him to keep the promises he has made to the PKK in Oslo. For instance, will he be able to release Öcalan from prison? Will the PKK return to the region bearing arms? Will the flailing Erdoğan convince the public to accept this?

Elections will prove more challenging for Erdoğan as he will enter them with these being the main items on the agenda. Even before the corruption claims were exposed, Erdoğan’s electoral support had dropped to 44 percent in November. With the graft investigation and the row with the Gülen movement, estimates show his vote has fallen to below 40 percent. It appears Erdoğan will hardly secure the 38 percent vote he had secured in 2009. This will pose an additional challenge to Erdoğan in 2014.

The country is teeming with rumors about corruption and bribery. Erdoğan must silence these rumors in 2014. But this will not be easy. I think the easiest solution for Erdoğan will be to flee to the presidential palace. But, given the current state of affairs, this won’t be as easy as it may sound.

Source: Today's Zaman , January 1, 2014


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