Thursday, 26 December 2013

Erdogan's Islamist regime must go!


Earlier this year the streets of Ankara were hit by waves of protests sparked by the arrogance of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the time he responded in a hard line manner as Alalam reported:

"Those who do not respect this nation's party in power will pay a price," he told thousands of cheering loyalists in Ankara, just a few kilometres (miles) from the clashes in downtown Kizilay Square, the latest violence in a second week of mass civil unrest. 

Old news but still a chilling indictment of his intent as the latest bribery scandal hits his regime. Nebraska TV takes up the story:

Forced to fire three of his ministers - one of whom immediately implicated the prime minister in the scandal - and struggling to contain the scope of the investigation, Erdogan seems unlikely to come out of the crisis unscathed.

But many observers say it's too early to write off the savvy politician who has weathered a series of crises since his Islamic-based party came to power in 2002.

"If the allegations are true, this would without doubt be the deepest crisis the government has faced," said Murat Yetkin, editor in chief and political commentator for the Hurriyet Daily News newspaper.

In comments published Thursday, Erdogan said he believes he is the ultimate target of the probe but declared that those trying to enmesh him in the scandal will be left "empty-handed."

However the tide appears to be turning against him. Writing in the Financial Times Andrew Finkel reports the view of dismissed Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemel

“He’s a one man show. He wants to control the police and the judiciary and has no understanding of the separation of powers”

Already the BBC World Service has reported that he has had to reshuffle his cabinet and replace half of his Ministers. The lead investigator into the bribery scandal gas suddenly been removed which will not sit well with his many critics, and he has much to fear given his show trials of many the Turkish military who see themselves as defenders of the secular state founded by Kemal Ataturk.

File:Flag of Turkey.svg

He no longer has many friends outside Turkey as Gulf News commented just before Christmas:

Two years ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was considered a man with a vision. And Turkey was seen as a shining example, a country whose government managed to integrate democracy and conservative Islamic traditions. Experts used to urge regional states to emulate what was then called “the Turkish Model”. It was an attractive model that was meant to appease the religious sentiments of Muslims and at the same time their hopes for representative government. Turkey was also touted as a regional necessity to counter the increasingly aggressive drive by Iran to spread its unwelcome influence in the Arab world.

That is where Erdogan seems to have misread the signals. Instead of working with regional governments, he began to work against them in an attempt, many say, aimed at advancing his AK party’s — an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood — ideology in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Thus, Erdogan started, against the advice of many of Turkey’s friends, to interfere in Arab affairs.

In Egypt, he went against the popular sentiments of the people and supported a narrow-minded party, the Muslim Brotherhood. He does not make any secret of his animosity towards the current administration in Cairo, which came to power following the June 30 uprising against the Islamist government of currently-jailed former president Mohammad Mursi. Egypt recently cut diplomatic ties with Turkey and withdrew its ambassador, accusing the Erdogan government of trying to destabilise Egypt.

In Syria, Erdogan was cautioned about arming and giving refuge to jihadist groups fighting the Bashar Al Assad regime. He was urged to channel his support, which is vital considering the strategic position of his country, to the legitimate Syrian opposition. Today, the Syrian revolution is in trouble due to the rise of jihadists, who are turning their guns, not on the regime, but on other opposition factions in a chaotic state. Erdogan seems isolated in the region today. It is no surprise, then, that he looks increasingly isolated in his country as well as scandals hit his government and people take to the streets, calling for his resignation. He grossly misread the region. And he has only himself to blame.

The time has come for the people of Turkey to follow the example set by the Egyptians and take to the streets to bring down the authoritarian Islamist Government.

Defend the secular state!

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