Saturday, November 5, 2016

Turkey: the road towards dictatorship and the west’s responsibility by MEHMET UGUR

Let us stop pretending otherwise: Turkey is now under a dictatorial regime established step by step under the gaze of, and with tacit support from western governments and institutions. Kurdish and democratic forces within the country are paying a heavy price, not only because of the brutality of the AKP ruling elite informed by a mix of neoliberal economic policies and political Islam, but also the failure of western governments and institutions to read the script correctly and develop a principled response. The west’s failure today is similar to the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s.

At the time of writing, at least 11 MPs from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including co-leaders Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, have been arrested and the party’s headquarters have been raided. These atrocities followed long interruptions of the internet in the Kurdish region. This is a large-scale collective punishment with the aim of spreading fear among the population at large. One can only wonder how a NATO member and EU candidate can disrupt communications, business transactions and public services, including health provisions without any challenge from western governments.

Tracking the cumulative authoritarianism of AKP rule

The Turkish multi-party system had been a veneer for an essentially state-centric and authoritarian regime since 1947. The regime has always oscillated between parliamentary elections and military coups. The electoral victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002 was presented as a breakthrough. Yet, the AKP had soon become an architect of cumulative authoritarianism and has recently acted as a midwife for a botched coup. This trajectory has been underpinned by an Islamo-Calvinist belief in the market economy that resonates with neoliberal economic dogmas. It requires adherence to an Islamic political order in which elections are devices to confirm those in power rather than means of holding them to account and ensuring minority rights... read more:

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