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Authoritarian Erdogan

Sturm Peter Kommentarbild App PROVISORISCH
Peter Sturm
January 12, 2017

Erdogan is the most powerful man in Turkey but he wants more. Yet, he forgets that everything that goes wrong in the country reflects on him, writes Peter Sturm from the newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung."

Türkei Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/K. Ozer

If you were cynical and looked at the political situation in Turkey from a purely theoretical point of view, then you'd a see a highly interesting laboratory design. It is a country torn apart in all respects, yet affords itself the luxury of turning its political system upside down to deliver itself into the hands of one single man - for better or for worse. The euphemistic term for this change is "constitutional reform". This would probably be problematic in normal times, and not only in terms of democratic theory. However, times are not normal. Turkey is constantly being attacked by different terrorist organizations. The economy is in a serious crisis – for this reason, as well. All this is exacerbated by the fact that the government deliberately strives to exclude a part of the population.

Sturm Peter Frankenberger Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Peter Sturm, Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungImage: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Actually, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cannot close his eyes to reality. The solution to all the problems is his secret alone. But that is what he has been striving for with great persistence over years now. He is already the most powerful man in the country, but things have not improved in Turkey for a while now; as a matter of fact, many things have gotten worse. Will he silently admit that he is not blameless and also, that he does not actually have the power to change things on his own?

He probably won't. People like Erdogan find an authoritarian system appealing because they do not have to justify their actions to anyone. Despots all over the world – and there are plenty of them right now – generally ignore risks. But when they do make decisions, then they are inevitably responsible. Sooner or later, they run out of scapegoats to blame for their shortcomings or failures. It is sad that Turkish parliamentarians have succumbed to the "great experiment" of creating a dictatorial state and thus, disempowered themselves. One last, yet admittedly faint hope remains: Perhaps the new constitution can be stopped by the referendum. Powerless, friends of Turkey in the West watch with suspense to see what will happen in the country.


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