- April 17th, 2017
All hail Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the glorious savior of Turkey! With yesterday’s Referendum results, the way is clear to a new stream-lined Turkish government that will be even more responsive to the will of the AKP. Zafere selam olsun! Şanlı liderimiz!
Of course, the rest of the world might sense the distinct whiff of an old smell. Whatever Erdoğan is selling, it would be wise not to buy it. The European monitors of the Referendum have said as much, in case the word of outraged opposition parties isn’t enough.
Hitler blamed the usual “Jewish-Bolshevik” axis as the inevitable menace behind any opposition he faced. Stalin pasted his erstwhile rival Trotsky’s face onto the unseen menace that had to be confronted. In Orwell’s novel 1984, the compulsory two-minute hate focuses on Emmanuel Goldstein, quite possibly created by the Party as an unseen external enemy.
Erdoğan has his Trotsky/Goldstein, an erstwhile ally who is now a 75-year old exile in the US by the name of Fethullah Gülen. This is the distant figure whose menacing hand is behind every setback. Indeed, the Gülenist Terror Organization lurks everywhere in Turkey, ever ready to seduce the weak-minded and ruin the happiness of the people. Strict measures are necessary to reduce this threat.
The fearless leader has hammered freedom of the press, and sacked thousands of teachers and professors…. After all, the fight against Gülenist tendencies demands vigilance and strong measures. Oh, and all that naughtiness on Social Media – that must be fought too.
The funny thing is that Erdoğan had been an able administrator as prime minister (2003 to 2014) and ran an efficient government that accomplished much before he started to fixate on his shadowy opposition after becoming President in 2014. Of course, there were a lot of Turks who were deeply uneasy about the drift away from long-held policies of secularism and the slow quiet purge of the Turkish military.
Then there were the vicious police crack-downs on protests by Turks opposed to his policies, and then the July 2016 Coup Attempt. As far as coup attempts in Turkey go, this one was pretty-much half-assed. Yes, it was noisy and disruptive, but singularly unfocused and lackluster in will… funny that. What are we to think?
Oh well, Hitler had his Reichstag Fire, and Stalin had the Kirov Assassination (and both of these might have been, ah, pre-arranged). Erdoğan isn’t one to pass up on the opportunities presented by a crisis – even if he didn’t manufacture it – and has stepped up the struggle against Gülenism.
Anyway, after jailing many opposition leaders, denying press access to other political parties and refusing them rally permits, the referendum to allow Erdoğan’s “Executive Presidency” plan has passed. The boys from the AKP came through handsomely and delivered the vote in brimming ballot boxes… very suspiciously full ballot boxes according to some observers. Surely a bright new day has dawned for Turkey.