Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Friday, June 28, 2013

Erdoğan Is Gone, Way Gone

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses his supporters and lawmakers at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey

By Michael Werz

Center for American Progress | June 27, 2013

Three weeks ago, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was set to enter the history books as Turkey’s most successful politician since the Republic’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. But bad mismanagement of a fortnight of urban protest has irreparably damaged Prime Minister Erdoğan’s political legacy and his party.
What began as a modest demonstration of concerned environmentalists in Istanbul’s city center has evolved into a much broader protest, reflecting accumulated anger over increasingly restrictive government policies and disproportionate police action, which has resulted in four deaths and 7,500 injuries. One of the United States’s closest allies has just failed a major leadership test.
The prime minister and his allies made three political mistakes. First, Prime Minister Erdoğan refused to accept that protest as a legitimate and necessary part of an open society, instead missing out on an opportunity to deepen Turkey’s democratic exchange. Second, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, underestimated concerns of the middle class about restrictions on freedom of expression, new alcohol regulations, the prime minister’s increasingly despotic leadership style, and the outsize role of the state in average Turks’ lives. Third, the prime minister’s aggressive rhetoric was laden with thinly veiled conspiracy theories and threats. He repeatedly distinguished between the “real Turkey,” consisting of his supporters and the “extremists” that he and his cabinet characterized as terrorists. All of this served to deepen existing divisions within Turkish society.

To

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