The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

In December 2013, Cecilia Malmström, the then Member of the European Commission in charge of Home Affairs (second from left) visited Turkey. (in the 1st row, from left to right) Ahmet Davutoğlu, the then Turkish Foreign Minister, Malmström, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the then Turkish Prime Minister, Bekir Bozdağ, the then Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Egemen Bağış, the then Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator for Turkey's accession negotiations with the EU, and Zafer Çağlayan, the then Turkish Minister for Economy. Seeing it in retrospect Malmström’s advice to respect media freedom, free expression and judicial independence didn't pay any dividends. Erdogan had it its own way. (EU Commission Audiovisual Services, 16/12/2013, Location: Ankara – Parliament).

In December 2013, Cecilia Malmström, the then Member of the European Commission in charge of Home Affairs (second from left) visited Turkey. (in the 1st row, from left to right) Ahmet Davutoğlu, the then Turkish Foreign Minister, Malmström, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the then Turkish Prime Minister, Bekir Bozdağ, the then Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Egemen Bağış, the then Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator for Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU, and Zafer Çağlayan, the then Turkish Minister for Economy. Seeing it in retrospect Malmström’s advice to respect media freedom, free expression and judicial independence didn’t pay any dividends. Erdogan had it its own way. (EU Commission Audiovisual Services, 16/12/2013, Location: Ankara – Parliament).

For the first time in the history of the EU-Turkish relations the European Parliament openly and loudly welcomed last week the heavy losses of the governing party in a general election. The MEPs actually rejoiced on “the most inclusive and representative parliament in Turkish modern history, reflecting the country’s diversity”, forgetting that it’s a hang legislative and cannot produce a viable government. They stopped short of saying they are happy that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plan to secure his clout on the country for many more years was irrevocably destroyed.

The Press release issued by the EU legislators says clearly that the MEPs “urge Turkey to respect media freedom, free expression and judicial independence and welcome the recent parliamentary elections”. The word ‘result’ is easily meant in the last sentence of this quote. As for the MEPs’ ‘advice’ to Turkey to respect “media freedom, free expression and judicial independence”, there was nothing more eloquent for the Turkish President – who had just failed to become a real Sultan – to realize that his time is up. Let’s follow the facts.

The 7 June end of Erdogan’s rule

On Sunday 7 June the Islamo-conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), a creation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, despite coming fist lost the absolute majority in a legislative election after thirteen years of uncontested rule. This came as a blow to its leaders who had hoped to win a majority large enough not only to form a single party government but more so, to change the Constitution and turn the country into a Presidential republic. Erdogan’s rule could be extended only in this way. For this to happen though the AKP had to elect 330 deputies in a 550 seat Parliament. It won just 258 seats.

Erdogan has been governing the country as Prime Minister and leader of the AKP from 2002 to 2014. Last year due to statutory reasons he had to turn to the Presidency, a quite ceremonial position, and assigned the leadership of the party and the prime ministership to his then foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, a devoted and trusted follower. Obviously, Erdogan felt quite uneasy in his new and rather just ceremonial post and looked forward to change the constitution and again become the absolute ruler of the country as it was the case for at least a decade now, this time as President. His plan had a time horizon for many years to come, but an important constitutional change was needed. Fortunately or regrettably, the Turkish voters didn’t do him this favour, fearing he may become a modern day Sultan. They even denied the AKP an absolute majority.

The Kurdish party

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) a Kurdish, center left and minorities party recently created by Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag made the difference. The new party first appeared in the Presidential election of 2014 authentically expressing the Kurdish minority. Its twin leadership though managed to also appeal to minorities, the women of the western looking part of the population and to those who feared that Erdogan was about to become an absolute ruler. Many analysts in Turkey say that (HDP) was also helped in the 7 June election by the win of the left wing SYRIZA in neighboring Greece.

Finally HDP managed not only to cross the 10% threshold and enter the Parliament but also won 13.1% of the vote and elected 80 deputies in the 550 seats house. It was exactly what AKP lost. In previous legislative elections the Turkish Kurds had voted for Erdogan; not this time. The reason was the latest animosities of Ankara against the Kurds in neighboring Syria. The heroic resistance and win of the Syrian Kurds in the battle of Kobani – aided by the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes – against the Islamic State (ISIS) murderous forces last year galvanized the Kurdish sentiment also in Turkey.

The battle of Kobani

The battle of Kobani, a Kurdish town in Syria just some hundreds of meters from the Turkish border, became first page news all over the world for weeks. All along that time Ankara stayed ‘impartial’, enraging the Kurdish population at home. Actually, deadly fighting took place also in the Turkish side of the border between Kurds and various Turkish military units. The battle and the Kurdish victory in Kobani must have plaid a decisive role in the subsequent developments involving the US and EU foreign policies towards Turkey and the Middle East in general.

Kurds in Syria and Iraq have proved themselves to be a reliable and effective ally for the West in this crucial region. At the same time Turkey and Erdogan, its absolute leader until 7 June and still a central player, appeared to be major impediments for the US and EU strategy in the region. Ankara remained attached to the Islamophil (Sunni) forces in the Middle East and actually accused the West of undermining Turkey’s internal stability. The West has never accepted Erdogan’s continuous slippage towards a kind of Muslim conservatism if not totalitarianism away from Turkey’s secular tradition. Erdogan personally is currently malevolent towards Egypt’s secular President el-Sisi and still supports the deposed (Muslim Brotherhood) President Mohamed Morsi. Not to say anything about Turkey’s aggressiveness towards Israel.

Kurds win, Erdogan loses

All those developments have created a negative wave against Erdogan. The Turkish Kurds, the country’s westward looking parts of the population (coastal areas and Istanbul) plus religious sects like the alawites and other minorities, are becoming all the time increasingly challenging of his choices. His strong adherence to the Sunni Islamic forces in the wider region made him unattractive and fearsome to all those parts of the population. Undoubtedly the West has now a strong base within the country to contest Erdogan.

The Sunday’s 7 June electoral result is the epitome of all that, signaling the end of Erdogan’s era. As for the US and the EU, Erdogan has now become a ‘necessary’ nuisance to be addressed in force ‘occasione data’. That’s why the EU Parliament went as far as to hail the losses of the governing party in the 7 June elections. The relevant resolution of the MEPs, approved by 432 votes to 94, with 127 abstentions says clearly “the elections demonstrated the resilience of Turkish democracy and the democratic spirit of its citizens and welcomes the most inclusive and representative parliament in Turkish modern history, reflecting the country’s diversity”.

Translating it briefly the MEPs say here that the Turkish democracy wants Erdogan out. Europe doesn’t seem to care much if the hung Parliament the election produced in Ankara cannot turn out a viable government. Europe, probably, and undoubtedly the US too, are celebrating the disorder in the Turkish political scenery.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Three tips for breaking through bias and seeing evidence more clearly

Indonesia has a plan to deal with its plastic waste problem

Mental health during COVID-19 outbreak: who takes care of health professionals?

JADE visits Lithuanian Junior Initiatives

Mobile technology saving lives: Changing healthcare systems with simple technology solutions

‘Historic’ new Syria talks should focus on relief for war-weary civilians, says UN negotiator

Brexit: new European Parliament reaffirms wholehearted support for EU position

Scientists can lead the fight against fake news

The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

New research reveals the true extent of corruption in fisheries

New tech infrastructure will help economies recover after COVID-19

Pride in health care during Pride Month: Are we ready for a dignified health care for LGBTQI+ patients?

Survivors of ISIL terror in Iraq want justice, not revenge, says head of UN investigation team

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

MEPs propose more transparent legislative drafting and use of allowances

How fintech is setting Southeast Asia’s SMEs free

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Dangers of poor quality health care revealed ‘in all countries’: WHO report

Independent UN rights expert calls for compassion, not sanctions on Venezuela

Why press freedom should be at the top of everyone’s agenda

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

Why the UN is investigating poverty in the United Kingdom

Access to health in the developped and developing world

State aid: Commission approves Luxembourg guarantee measure to further support economy in coronavirus outbreak

Breaking news on European Youth Employment: European Youth Forum Guide tackles poor quality internships!

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the Court of Justice to protect judges from political control

Mobile technology facilitating social distance in the middle of a pandemic

Sydney is choking on record levels of smog – and the bushfire season is just getting started

Smokers who quit one month before surgery reap benefits: UN health agency

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2015: Why interns should matter to business

The first new university in the UK for 40 years is taking a very different approach to education

Societies must unite against ‘global crisis of antisemitic hatred’, Guterres urges

Four lessons from Africa on building effective business ecosystems

Scientists have created the world’s ‘first psychopath AI’

EU growth in 2015 to be again sluggish; Can the Juncker Commission fight this out?

Education should be like everything else. An on-demand service

Friday’s Daily Brief: human rights in Sudan, sombre anniversaries for Rwanda and Nigeria, and fears of ‘chaos’ in Libya

World Health Organization calls crisis meeting over deadly Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

So, what is your favourite Sustainable Development Goal?

An alternative to the future of antimicrobial therapy

Is Haiti better prepared for disasters, nine years on from the 2010 earthquake?

Syria: ‘Deplorable’ violence in Idlib against civilians, humanitarian workers must ‘stop immediately’: UN Coordinator

Bundestag kick starts the next episode of the Greek tragedy

Over $39 million earmarked by UN-backed fund to combat effects of climate change in Nepal

Digitalization is changing banking – These 3 trends will help shape its future

Europe is ready to engage, von der Leyen tells annual EU Ambassadors’ Conference

Coronavirus: EU Civil Protection Mechanism activated for the repatriation of EU citizens

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

Teenagers’ career expectations narrowing to limited range of jobs, OECD PISA report finds

State aid: Commission approves €30 million Estonian measure to support Nordica in the context of the coronavirus outbreak

UN spotlights digitization of audiovisual archives to preserve human history on World Day

The European Parliament fails to really restrict the rating agencies

Islamophobia is driving more US Muslims to become politically engaged, suggests report

AIDEX 2015: Humanitarian Hero Award Winner Announced

New UN-supported farming app is cream of crop in tackling Sahel pest

State of the Energy Union: Progress made on the clean energy transition and a basis for green recovery

We have solutions to crime. We just need to scale them

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s