Turkey is entering a very dangerous period because at the helm of power resides an individual that twists the knife against perceived enemies. Indeed, the fact that around 45% of the electorate endorsed the Justice and Development Party (AKP), despite so many scandals involving Prime Minister Erdogan, says much about the threat to secularism in Turkey. In other words, the Islamist agenda and authoritarian nature of Erdogan sits in well within the electorate that supports the AKP. Therefore, Erdogan fully understands that the boundaries of stretching democracy can be stretched to the full.
The elections weren’t based on voting for Erdogan personally because the vote was focused on local officials and electing mayors. Yet the strong showing of the AKP does endorse a strong grass roots vote of confidence for the ruling party. Erdogan, not surprisingly, jumped on the bandwagon and in typical fashion he issued threats to “his enemies.”
Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times says: “Instead of acting like a democratic leader, the authoritarian nature of Erdogan once more came out. This applies to issuing threats against his perceived enemies. At the same time, Erdogan’s mania towards social media; allowing al-Qaeda affiliates and other terrorist groups to utilize border areas in order to attack Syria; clamping down on the media; manipulating the legal system; gradually dismantling secularism; deeming individuals to be enemies of the state; protecting corrupt individuals; and so forth; will all be emboldened to an even higher degree. This bodes ill for the future of Turkey and powerful individuals within the AKP should also take a good look at themselves because they are being tainted by Erdogan.”
It is equally galling that Western political elites appear unconcerned to any major degree about the authoritarian nature of Erdogan. After all, his comments are often venomous towards his perceived enemies. Therefore, the European Union, America, and NATO, should be alarmed by events in Turkey. Likewise, regional nations must be equally worried because Turkey under Erdogan is a very divisive nation for the entire region. Indeed, only Erdogan could clash openly with Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Syria, and other nations throughout the Middle East. After all, one wrong turn with Erdogan and then all and sundry are deemed to be traitors and enemies of the state.
Erdogan made it clear that individuals that had questioned him openly would pay a price after the AKP was endorsed by the latest elections. He sprouted the words “traitors,” “terrorists” and “an alliance of evil” against individuals opposed to his authoritarian nature.
Erdogan promised: “We will enter their lair” and “They will be brought to account. How can you threaten national security?”
Equally alarming Erdogan says: “From tomorrow, there may be some who flee.”
The New York Times says: “While it’s not surprising that Mr. Erdogan would use this result to solidify his rule and undermine critics, his response — pledging to make sure his political enemies pay a price — was deeply disturbing and undemocratic.”
“Mr. Erdogan long ago veered from his promises to deliver reforms that would make Turkey freer. He ruthlessly cracked down on antigovernment protests last summer, and has severely constrained free speech and the press in recent years.”
Lee Jay Walker says: “The opposition political parties in Turkey that seek to protect secularism and democracy also need to reinvigorate themselves. Turkey doesn’t need ‘a Gulen hidden hand’ or ‘an authoritarian Erdogan’ who disparages so many threats. Also, the manipulation of religion by the AKP needs to be challenged. Otherwise, the social and religious divisions will further grow in Turkey and this doesn’t bode well in the long-term.”
Turkey is at a dangerous crossroads because the secular and democratic nation state is being undermined. Indeed, it appears that Erdogan is taking Turkey into the orbit of authoritarian Central Asian leaders, that rule based on The Big Brother mentality.
Lee Jay Walker gave guidance to both main writers