Turkey’s Erdogan and his Dream of Becoming A Sultan
The era of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey has finally started. After the failure of the attempted Coup d’Etat in Istanbul on the 15th of July this year, Ergogan has started to express his freedom of governmental command by hushing up opposition voices. The problem is that the power he gained after the failed Coup has been used to eradicate the opposing party and reinforce his party. There have been concerns that this status might end up hurting himself in the end instead of helping his political future. There are some saying that the current status is not a way toward becoming a member of the EU, which is Erdogan’s ultimate goal, but instead a path toward dictatorship and autocracy.
Erdogan declared a state of national emergency for a three month period after the failed Coup d’Etat. Due to this declaration, the citizen’s rights of Turkey are critically restricted since the laws of the constitution can’t be applied at present. This means people in Turkey have no right to protest or hold a rally. On the other hand, the Government can impose prohibitions and put police checkpoints in place and information agents can search homes without warrant. Also, freedom of the media is restricted. The current status of Turkey is nothing different from Medieval times.
The main reason some might compare the current status of Turkey to medieval times is because the Government are now purging opposition powers. The purge started off an Anti-Islam movement starting from the military and legal circles to education. According to the BBC, the Turkish government forced the resignation of 1577 University presidents nationally and dismissed 1.5 million teachers and professionals from schools. Also, more than 18,000 public officers including police officers, soldiers, judges and prosecutors were dismissed.
The Turkish government claims that Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic Imam is the facto power behind the Coup d’Etat. Gulen supported Erdogan until 2013, but their partnership split after the reported leakage of a video tape of Erdogan’s alleged corruption. The Turkish government is demanding that the U.S. extradite Gulen. On the other hand, the suspicious appearance of traces of torture is showing that the death of democracy of Turkey is possible, even though the country was previously described as “the best example of successful democratization in the Middle East”. There are concerns that the authority of the purge might result in the opposite effect. In fact, dismissing a large amount of people in such a short time is makes it impossible to do investigations legally. In other words, numerous people have been dismissed from their jobs without clear and proper clarification on what they have been accused of. What’s more, Erdogan is insisting on the revival of death penalty system which evoked a strong negative reaction around the world.
The reaction of global society was of course, negative, especially from members of EU. “The state of national emergency should be only used when it is essential and for a short time.” said the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank Walter-Steinmeier. Also the Austrian Foreign Minister was concerned about Turkey’s autocracy. The President of the European Council also criticized Turkey especially due to the revival of the death penalty, claiming they should cease negotiations with Turkey about joining the EU. The reaction of financial markets was also negative. Right after declaring a state of national emergency, the international credit ratings agency lowered Turkey’s credit rate from BB+ to BB. The credit rate has been lowered from “stable” to “negative”. This can have a tremendous effect on countries which have a high reliance on foreign trade such as Turkey and could cause a deterioration in their economy.
What is more interesting is that Erdogan’s Political philosophy is Islamism. This is revealed clearly in the names of the foundation of his party. The name of his party could be translated as the “National Aid Party” in 1983, “The Virtue Party” in 1998 and “The Justice and Development Party” in 2001. The concept of “The National Aid” party is to save the country using Islam, The rest other names refered to implementing welfare and promoting virtue respectively. On the other hand, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who is referred to as “Atar-Turk ”(meaning the father of Turkey)’s ideology of Turkey based his rule on secularism. Thus, Islam could not be an influence on politics and Westernization could occur.
After the foundation of Republic of Turkey, Ataturk transitioned from Arabic characters into Latin letters, and implemented Western approaches in various fields including the military, politics, administrative and education. He not only separated religion from politics, but also removed Islamic influence from society. For instance, even the wearing of Hijabs in public places was prohibited for a short time, as he viewed the Hijab as an instrument of suppression and forcing obedience on society. Accordingly, a statement explaining that the “Military is the guardian of the constitution” is in the Turkish constitution. This means military has the right to maintain secularism and to rebuild reformism in politics when a corruption occurs due to the involvement of religion.
Unfortunately, secularism separated the Government form religion but also limited relief from poverty. Citizens who received a warm hand from the Islamic party supported the party and the ideology of Islam party became an asset of Erdogan. In Contrasting, on this that is special about Erdogan is his economic policy. His policy on economics is based on liberalism in order to strongly accelerate enterprise activity. In addition, he also implemented a system to help the poor based of Islamic ideology. This is a system that seeks to accelerate both the economy and the Islamic ideology, which allows Erdogan to receive praise from both the economists and the poor.
The ultimate goal of President Erdogan is his “2023 Vision”, which includes becoming a member of the EU, overcoming financial difficulties, dissolving the Kurdish militia and constructing infrastructure. However, the problem is his social ideology. He insists on conservatism to prevent against corruption. This discourages privacy and does not respect individuals, which contrasts from his belief that these policies and ideologies will prevent corruption. The reflection of his ideology in actual governance resulted in a negative perspective among the global society, and many accused him of being a dictator. His abuse of power was due to the failure of the Coup d’état and the reinforcement of his authority along with eliminating the opposition party is also referred to as his ideology. In the status quo, Turkey is attracting global attention and they are watching to see if he can overcome this flaw and find an adequate policy with a global standard and become a member of the EU as it is his ultimate goal.