And “to” seems the right word, because this was done to Turkey by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his political machine. International electoral monitors cite fraud; so too does the powerful Republican People’s Party. That hardly matters, it seems. Turkish election officials will not allow a recount.
And so even if cheated, it is a victory for Erdoğan. It has been a long road for a critical Middle Eastern nation. The geopolitical trajectory of Turkey is now set. Read more
Turks will be asked on Sunday if they trust Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to run the country on his own or want to preserve at least a pretense of democracy.
Of course, that’s not how it’s put on the ballot paper. Nominally, Turks will be asked to approve or reject constitutional changes that would transform the country from a parliamentary into a presidential republic.
With the compliance of his party men in the cabinet and parliament, Erdoğan has already turned what what used to be a ceremonial post into a de facto executive presidency.
Should the referendum go his way, Erdoğan would also get the power to suspend parliament and appoint prosecutors and judges. Read more
Erdoğan Huffs and Puffs, But Balks at Sanctions Against Dutch
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has continued to agitate against the Dutch government after it prevented two of his ministers from speaking at rallies in the country.
In a television interview, he called on Dutch voters of Turkish descent not to support either the ruling liberal party of Mark Rutte nor the nationalist Freedom Party of Geert Wilders in parliamentary elections on Wednesday. Both, he said, “see Turkey as the enemy.” Read more
Erdoğan’s Blowback: How Personal Ambitions Plunged Turkey into Crisis
Recep Erdoğan has come a long way. The president of Turkey, Erdoğan has been clawing upward since becoming mayor of Istanbul in 1994. His political road has been riddled with mines: Turkish generals, side-switching Islamist allies, Kurdish politicians and secular-minded Turks. His accomplishments are impressive. Serving as prime minister from 2003 until 2014, he shepherded real democracy into what was once a military-dominated republic.
But all great movements run out of steam. Erdoğan’s political shakeup of Turkey is starting to ossify into authoritarian thuggery and habits meant to be banished by democracy.
Worse, his policies are getting Turkish citizens killed. Read more
After Failed Coup, Erdoğan Will Further Polarize Turkey
If anyone still thought President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might interpret this weekend’s attempted coup as a warning to govern more inclusively, the arrests of thousands of alleged plotters in the judiciary and military should put such hopes to rest.
By detaining so many previously-identified opponents of his government, Erdoğan is clearly using the failed putsch to purge the vestiges of Turkey’s secularist establishment.
The result is likely to be an Islamist party in full control of NATO’s southeastern flank and a president in full control of his party and the state — despite lacking the constitutional authority for either. Read more