Erdoan, emboldened by the rise of Trump, is suppressing vulnerable discretions tens of thousands detained and the press muzzled. The west must stop its silence
Democracy is a wrap of rights and freedoms wrestled from the powerful. Our rulers merely cede their dominance when compelled to when the cost of withstanding influence from below becomes greater than the cost of granting dirt to it.
But “its by” naive to consider these assents as permanent. Societies are always waiting for every opportunity to impound back their supremacy. The ideal pretext is a national crisis, invented or otherwise , ordinarily concerning an alliance of internal and external threats, all compelling drastic various measures to demolish. The tyrannical rightwing populism broom the Western macrocosm skilfully exploits fear to drive back their own borders of democracy.
Turkeys regime is fast languishing into outright dictatorship, emboldened by the imminent rising of Donald Trump to the most powerful plight on Earth. I wasted last week with Turkeys beleaguered opposition political parties, newspapers and activists. Their firmnes is inspiring, their plight distressing.
Last July an attempted armed coup failed to dislodges the tyrannical chairman, Recep Tayyip Erdoan. The reaction was speedy. As Human Rights Watch reported, the regime took advantage of the moment to crack down on human rights and dismantle fundamental democratic precautions. More than 120,000 Turks have been sacked, practically 90,000 detained, and more than 40,000 have been arrested, 144 of them writers. Turkey is a world leader in jailing media workers, with some 160 stores closed.
So how did occasions deteriorate so badly? Erdoans Justice and Development party( AKP) was, for many years, in alliance with a secretive action led by the US-based cleric Fethullah Glen. The Glenists infiltrated often of the Turkish commonwealth, including the army, police and education system .. It was, in part, a wedding of flags of convenience: both sought to drive away authoritarian elements that resisted Islamism. But the means were, from a democratic view, dubious.
In 2013 the two sides fell out, and Turkeys sovereigns accused the Glenists of planning the failed coup. But this fee has been used to suppress a secular opposition that had not yet been association with Glenism whatsoever. There have been crackdowns on the media and basic democratic freedoms, converging even more dominance in the mitts of the regime.
Ahmet k is a prominent Turkish investigate writer who are able fearlessly challenge expert. In his journal The Imams Army, k exposed how Glenism infiltrated everything from the judiciary to the security services, improving a parallel territory. Ahmet knew it had heavy risks, a friend says, but “hes been gone” onward and produced the book.
He was incarcerated in 2011, and his book was banned. Even after they had been exhausted, k refused to be silenced: he said the AKP and the underground fright group FET, reportedly affiliated to Glen, were working in hand in gauntlet. His sidekicks called him a hero, a label he resented. Its alone that everyone else is silent that I look like a hero, he said.
Turkeys current justice minister has praised Glen as a great Islamic scholar. But in 2013 k uncovered a full-scale struggle between national governments and the Glenists. And after the failed coup, k refused to stop uncovering the AKPs past associations with the Glenists. If they were blaming FET for the coup, as his pal places it, then the AKP were partly responsible because they had worked together for so long.
Last month k was arrested for spreading terrorist propaganda on social media, and not just on behalf of the members of FET he was also accused of backing the PKK, which fights for Kurdish national self-determination and is diametrically opposed to Glenism. So a journalist persecuted for uncovering regime links with Glenism was locked up on costs of being in league with Glenists.
I saw the newspaper Cumhuriyet, whose part lies in the shade of Trump Towers Istanbul. So many of its correspondents have been arrested, it is on a skeleton staff. Furthermore, 189 journalists have been physically or verbally abused, and hundreds have had their press placards confiscated in fact banning them from their job. And opposition papers are being commercially asphyxiated, with advertisers pushed to withdraw.
Then theres the resist: members of the leftist HDP have faced mass detentions, offices attacks and accusations of terrorist links. The secular centre-left CHP told me: We represent western values, but the west has abandoned us.
Journalists and civilians alike have been rounded down for the crime of contemptuous President Erdoan. Perhaps in solidarity the peoples of the world should draw his name the ultimate insult. As he cows opposition, the president now intends to rig the constitution to grant himself even more embroiling powers.
The west is largely silent. And Erdoan is triumphalist. Last-place July Trump praised Erdoan for passing it around after the attempted coup. And Erdoan cheered Trumps car-crash press conference last week: Trump, who told a CNN reporter that the organisation he worked for induced fake news, had according to Erdoan employed the reporter in his place because media organisations such as CNN undermine national unity.
Turkeys vulnerable republic is being bled to extinction. It is dusk for republic in Poland and Hungary more, as populist rightwing authorities keep the superficial trappings of republic for appearances sake but hollow it out in practice. Now that the demagogue Trump is about to become the worlds more powerful humanity, the authoritarians accept biography is on their side.
Turkey is a message: democracy is precious but fragile. It highlights how rights and freedoms are often won at enormous cost and relinquish but can be stripped away by governments manipulating national crisis. The chance is that Turkey wont be an exception, but a template to seeing how to rid countries around republic. That is conclude enough to stay where you are Turkey. Who knows which country could be next?