Erdogan’s electoral win on a ‘me or chaos’ dilemma means trouble for everybody

Beril Dedeoğlu, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs, Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs ad interim, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish President (in the middle), Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the EC in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Johannes Hahn, Member of the Commission in charge of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the Commission in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship and Hansjörg Haber, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Turkey (from the 3rd, seated, from right to left). Erdogan, after moving to his new 1000 room Palace in Ankara, three times bigger than the Versailles, has adopted a majestic style in receiving foreign dignitaries. (EC Audiovisual Services. Date: 15/10/2015. Location: Ankara - Turkey, Presidential Palace).

Beril Dedeoğlu, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs, Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs ad interim, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish President (in the middle), Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the EC in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Johannes Hahn, Member of the Commission in charge of European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the Commission in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship and Hansjörg Haber, Head of the Delegation of the EU to Turkey (from the 3rd, seated, from right to left). Erdogan, after moving to his new 1000 room Palace in Ankara, three times bigger than the Versailles, has adopted a majestic style in receiving foreign dignitaries. (EC Audiovisual Services. Date: 15/10/2015. Location: Ankara – Turkey, Presidential Palace).

The dilemma ‘me or chaos’ that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hurled at his compatriots in last Sunday’s election paid dividends. And this despite the fact that he did what he could to produce frightening samples of the kind of chaos he had in mind. Understandably, then the Turkish voters didn’t give a super-majority to his AK party, enough to change the constitution and turn the country into a Presidential republic under his personal tenet.

In any case, the AK party won a very comfortable majority in the legislative, enough to support a single party government under Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. This last one, a university professor and a bookish character, is a very compliant aid to the President, who has made him the head of AK party and Prime Minister after Erdogan won the presidential election of August 2014.

A personal triumph

This new AK party victory is an incontestable personal triumph of Erdogan. His predicament worked well and the Turkish electorate was forced to elevate him to the level of undisputable leader of Turkey, comparable only to the country’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Of course this latter revolutionary, who led the Young Turks uprising at the beginning of the 20th century and made Turkey a secular state and a republic after abolishing the Ottoman political-religious mix of rule, would turn in his grave seeing his country return to a kind of Muslim lineup under Erdogan. Atatürk smashed the religious foundations and the rule of the Ottoman Empire to create a modern secular state, albeit in a much restricted geographical area.

Coming back to this date, there are huge costs associated with Erdogan’s strategy. He started a war against the Kurds in Anatolia and ruthlessly suppressed any critical voice in the streets, the media, the administration and society as a whole and deeply divided Turkey. And last Sunday he managed to secure a parliamentary majority, by creating a chaotic horizon in case his proposal was rejected.

Silencing the opposition

Nevertheless, Erdogan is now the absolute ruler of Turkey and he means to make good use of his supremacy. He has been and will continue silencing the opposition and the critical media and actually terrorizing any critic from civil society groups. He has also cleansed key state services of any possible challenger to his arbitrariness in the police and judiciary. Unfortunately, almost half of the Turkish voters vindicated his autocratic rule, a plan and a method that became apparent after the brutal suppression of last years’ demonstrations in all the major cities of the country.

Now the other half of the Turkish society that despises the way Erdogan rules the country is in distress. The truth is that after last Sunday Turkey is a deeply divided country, in a way that cannot be remedied, exactly because Erdogan is on the helm. The secular masses in big cities, the minorities, the westward looking large groups of people and the Istanbul and other elites simply detest Erdogan’s bossy rule. Exactly the same problem seems to plague also the country’s allies, the European Union and the United States.

The EU and the US are puzzled

It’s very characteristic that both Brussels and Washington appeared deeply puzzled last Monday. Their comments on Erdogan’s victory commenced with the same remarks, “praising the strong voter turnout” in the election that reached 85%. Federica Mogherini the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission called that “a sign of the Turkish people’s commitment to democracy”. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said that “we congratulate the people of Turkey on their participation in yesterday’s parliamentary election”. No congratulations in sight for the winner of the election however. There is more to it though.

Both the representatives of the European Union and the United States right after their remarks about the strong turnout in the election, started showing their teeth. Trudeau expressed concern about the fact “that media outlets and individual journalists critical of the government were subject to pressure and intimidation during the campaign, seemingly in a manner calculated to weaken political opposition”. As for Mongherini, she even appeared reserved about the results by saying that, “We look forward to the OSCE’s/ODIHR’s preliminary findings”. ODIHR is the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

A challenging security environment

The ODIHR observers later on Monday said that the “elections in Turkey offered voters a variety of choices. At the same time, the challenging security environment, particularly in the southeast of the country, coupled with a high number of violent incidents, including attacks against party members, premises and campaign staff, hindered contestants’ ability to campaign freely”.

There is no doubt that the West will remain very critical about what Erdogan does from now on. He himself rushed to give an indication of his intentions by asking “respect for the outcome of the Turkish election”, as if the EU and the US had questioned his legitimacy. Or did he probably rightly sense such a challenge?

Yet they have to deal with Erdogan

Turn and twist it as they like, the EU and the US would have to deal with the Turkish President as the most important source of political power in the country. Remarks, like the ones the spokesman for the German Chancellor Angela Merkel aired last Monday, won’t help in this direction. From the Berlin Chancellery Steffen Seibert told Erdogan that he has “to tackle challenges including fighting IS militants, solving the Kurdish conflict and overcoming polarization”. Not a positive remark about anything. This is not the right way to welcome a foreign leader’s victory in a key election; reminding him of his duties.

In total, the West remains very reserved, if not hostile, towards Erdogan and this perplexes everything. However, Brussels and Washington need Ankara’s cooperation in a number of hot issues, but it’s questionable if they can count on the slightest Turkish synergy or even reaction without hefty concessions. Syria’s future and the migration problem may thus remain unsolved in the foreseeable future.

As for the Turkish President himself, he has no fewer problems. Apart from the internal difficulties and conflicts, he also has to deal with the West’s mistrust about his intentions. Russia and China have also shown their discontent on a number of issues. In conclusion, it is certain that Turkey won’t cooperate with the EU and the US, at least not easily, in confronting questions like the future of Syria and the refugee and immigrants problems. It’s equally true though that under the present confused conjuncture in the wider region of the Middle East, without Erdogan the problems could increase in number and become more difficult to confront for everybody and more so for Turkey.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

Germany and France only care about keeping their borrowing cheap

EU Parliament: It takes real banks to fight unemployment and recession

‘Internal security’ or how to compromise citizens’ rights and also make huge profits

Is the EU competent enough to fight human smuggling in 2015?

EU-Russia relations: the beginning of a warmer winter?

The IMF overstates the risks for Eurozone and downgrades the threats for the US economy

Draghi sees inflationary bubbles

Changing for the change: Medicine in Industry 4.0

US – Russia bargain on Syria, Ukraine but EU kept out

What the future holds for the EU – China relations?

Terrorism and migrants: the two awful nightmares for Europe and Germany in 2016

COP21 Breaking News: China has promised to cut emissions from its coal power plants by 60% by 2020

The EU bows to Turkey in view of the talks for a political settlement in Syria

Parliament sets conditions on EU-China investment deal

An EU Summit without purpose

US prosecutors now target Volkswagen’s top management, upsetting Germany

Berlin wants to break South’s politico-economic standing

Google strongly rejects EU antitrust charges and now gets ready for the worst to come

MEPs and European Youth Forum call on EU to Invest in Youth

The Commission sees ‘moderate recovery’ but prospects deteriorate

EU legislation protecting home buyers approved in Parliament

Intel @ MWC14: Our Love Story with Mobile – Transforming Wireless Networks

UK’s Cameron takes the field to speed up TTIP talks. Will “rocket boosters” work?

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

How much more social deterioration can the EU people endure?

Access to health in the developped and developing world

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

Italy solves the enigma of growth with fiscal consolidation: The Banking Union

The reason the world showed limited empathy to the Orlando victims

A sterilised EMU may lead to a break up of Eurozone

Microsoft’s YouthSpark: a kiss of Life to European Youth from the European Parliament

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

JADE Testimonial #1: Marcello @ Enlargement

China invites the EU to a joint endeavor for free trade and order in the world

Spirit unlimited

Deutsche Bank again in the middle of the US-EU economic skirmishes

The third bailout agreement for Greece is a done deal amid European economies full of problems

“Fortress Europe”, “Pegida” and its laughing stocks

Davos: Why the global elites couldn’t find answers this year?

Iran nuclear talks’ deadline extended: the match is still open for many

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

ECB money bonanza not enough to revive euro area, Germany longs to rule with stagnation

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

My unlimited China

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

EU and India re-open talks over strategic partnership while prepare for a Free Trade Agreement

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: UNFCCC Secretariat Launches Forest Information Hub

ITU Telecom World 2017 on 25-28 September in Busan, Republic of Korea

EU-Turkey deal on migrants kicked off but to who’s interest?

The South China Sea Arbitration: Illegal, Illegitimate and Invalid

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

China is the first non-EU country to invest in Europe’s €315 billion Plan

In China things are moving in the right direction

Has Germany rebuffed ECB on the banking union?

“Airbnb and YouTube are two great examples of a crowd based capitalism”, key stakeholders outline the boundaries of the 4th Industrial Revolution in Davos

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Junker for Commission President: What were the stakes in this affair

More Stings?

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s