Erdogans Desperate Bid to Become the New Atatrk — Global Issues

  • Opinion by Alon Ben-Meir (New York)
  • Associated Press Service

Correct the mistake

If Turkish President Erdogan continued with the most impressive social, economic, judicial and political reforms he initiated and implemented in his early years in power, the Turkey of today would be the a great, respected and prosperous nation and exerts great influence globally and regionally under its leadership.

Instead, Erdogan reversed his remarkable achievements on all domestic and international fronts in pursuit of building a dictatorship that could satisfy his never-ending thirst for power. he. Erdogan will do nothing to win the upcoming elections in June.

He certainly hopes to preside over on October 29 the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and recognition as the new Atatürk (father) of modern Turkey. The Turkish people had to refuse that honor because of his terrible human rights violations.

To understand why Erdogan is unworthy to preside over the celebration and should be outright rejected in the June elections, it is first necessary to provide a brief account of his relentless reign of terror. him and his relentless campaign to harass and discredit the opposition party to achieve his sinister goals.

After the failed coup in July 2016, Erdogan arrested tens of thousands of innocent people, including hundreds of security officials, academics and soldiers suspected of belonging to the Hizmet Movement (Gülen) and accused them of participating in the coup. He uses Article 301 of the Anti-Terrorism Act to crack down on dissent and even criminalize “Turkish” criticism.

He has arrested hundreds of journalists on charges of spreading anti-government propaganda, shut down many television and radio stations, and imposed restrictions on the use of social media. Nearly 200 journalists have been jailed since 2016; Currently 40 people are still held in nuclear prisons, blatantly challenging the convention of press freedom, especially in a NATO member state.

Thousands of university graduates are leaving the country in search of job opportunities and to escape the shackles of Erdogan. Leaving their country behind is causing an alarming brain drain that is affecting every industry.

The Council of Europe and the University of Lausanne report that Turkey has the largest number of prisoners convicted of terrorism-related convictions. As Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut notes: “The report, updated in April 2021, shows that at that time a total of 30,524 prisoners in COE member states had been convicted for terrorism offenses. dad; of them, 29,827 are in Turkish prisons.”

As Leo Tolstoy observed in War and Peace, “One need only acknowledge that public tranquility is in jeopardy and that any action is justified… All the horrors of The reign of terror is based solely on concern for public tranquility.” To that end, Erdogan claims to be a pious man, but he unscrupulously uses Islam as an evil political tool to project divine power to assert his ideas. his dictatorial whims without being challenged.

The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) reports that Erdogan conveniently used Anti-Terrorism Law No. 3713, enacted by the rubber stamp parliament led by his AK Party, to stifle freedoms and suppress freedoms. voice of human rights defenders. The law allows him to label peaceful human rights defenders as ‘terrorists’.

The OMCT states that “Official data shows that in 2020, 6551 people have been prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws, while a staggering 208,833 people have been investigated for ‘membership of an organization’ armed organizations'”, typically those associated with the Gülen movement.

Erdogan continues to persecute his own Kurdish community, which makes up nearly 20% of the population, stripping them of their basic human rights. His systematic crackdown on the Kurds seemed to know no bounds, as he accused thousands of being supporters of the PKK, which he considers a terrorist organization and which governments The next Turkish government has been fighting for over 50 years at incredible human and material costs.

He repeatedly asked many Balkan countries and the EU to extradite Turkish nationals he accused of being terrorists to stand trial in his corrupt courts, denying them due process. and brutally tortured them to confess to crimes they had never committed.

He is preventing Finland and Sweden from joining NATO unless Sweden extradites some 130 political refugees, mostly Turkish Kurds, to stand trial in Turkey. The Swedes refused his request, knowing that once they reached Turkish soil, it would be tantamount to a kiss of death. To be sure, Erdogan’s rule of law in Turkey has been effectively dismantled.

To improve his chances of being re-elected, Erdogan wants to ensure that Kurdish political parties are not represented in Parliament. He jailed many of the 56 members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and removed the rest of the party from the legislative process; he’s determined to shut down the party altogether.

In addition, he arrested many members of the Democratic District Party (DBP), accused them of committing unfounded terrorism-related crimes, and illegally replaced them through those designated by the government. determined.

Erdogan is asking the Biden administration to issue a statement supporting his policies to help him run for re-election despite the fact that he is at odds with President Biden on a range of important issues, including including his serious human rights violations, his refusal to allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO, the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, the relentless money laundering and corruption his.

And in 2019, he tried to thwart NATO’s plan to defend Poland and the Baltic states unless NATO identifies the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces as terrorists.

One would think that if he is so desperate to be re-elected next June, he will make significant concessions both at home and in relations with the US and EU. Why not pardon all political prisoners, release journalists, stop harassing and imprison leaders of opposition parties, and fully observe human rights and the rule of law?

Why not drop the opposition to Sweden joining NATO? Why not cancel the purchase of the second batch of S-400 and stop using the currently used complexes, which are completely incompatible with NATO air defense systems? Finally, why not restore the democratic principles that every NATO member state must uphold?

But then, Erdogan’s obsession with absolute power blinded him to seeing and feeling the plight of his own people, which only proved his ignorance and short-sightedness. As Jorge Luis Borges aptly observed, “Dictatorship breeds oppression, dictatorship breeds slavery, dictatorship breeds cruelty; more disgusting than the fact that they harbor stupidity.”

A few years ago, Erdogan’s former prime minister, Davutoglu, told me that by 2023, Turkey would restore the glory, global influence and prestige that the Ottoman Empire had in its heyday. Needless to say, Davutoglu’s prophecy did not come true.

In contrast, today, Turkey’s economy, social and political order, and democracy are in complete disarray; Turkey is far from “having no problems with its neighbors” and remains estranged from the US and EU.

If Erdogan is re-elected through fraud and disenfranchisement of opposition parties, he will celebrate the centenary while presiding over a country in decline, with a disillusioned and disillusioned citizenry. while reducing its regional and international stature. He will not be the new Atatürk although he is keen to present himself as a great reformer leading a constructive and great power on the world stage.

Instead, Erdogan will be remembered with scorn and contempt for squandering Turkey’s enormous potential while downplaying what could have been Turkey’s biggest celebration in years. one hundred years.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meirretired professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University (NYU), teaching courses in international negotiations and Middle Eastern studies for more than 20 years.

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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service


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