It is hardly a secret that Tayyip Erdogan’s “New Turkey” was considered a glaring example of Islamic democracy five years ago, but now-a-days it leaves much to be desired in terms of democratic values. Turkey only gets into the headlines due to the authoritarian steps the government takes along with frequent terrorist attacks, with absolutely no mention of internal democratic reforms or something of that nature. And now we’ve witnessed “a failed military coup“.
People in the West and across the Muslim world considered Turkey a successful model of the adherence to both Islamic and democratic values. Moreover, Tayyip Erdogan, who at that time occupied the position of Prime Minister was frequently mentioned as a reformer who was busy constructing a free, prosperous and peaceful Turkey.
However, since 2001, when the Justice and Development Party became a dominant force in Turkish politics, we’ve witnessed the accelerating process of a dismantling of Kemalist principles. Out of the blue, any mention of Kemal Ataturk was deleted from the the Turkish Armed Forces website, while the Ministry of Education abolished once obligatory celebrations in schools and stadiums.
Intolerant and way too ambitious, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has started pursuing a policy of so-called soft “Islamization,” undermining both the ideas and public image of the founding father of modern Turkey. Then a doctrine about the “return to the geopolitical role of Turkey in the Middle East” was announced, which attempts to follow the course of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, while turning away from European democratic values.
To make matters worse, the Turkish leader trampled national consent and plunged into a poisonous nationalism rampage. This development broke the truce that the AKP had made with local Kurds back in 2013.
Representatives of the Alevi minority (and there’s up to 15% of this both liberal and unorthodox sect in Turkey) are accusing Erdogan of drafting a plan, according to which the southeast of the country will be swarmed with thousands of hardliners from Syria that will force Kurds and Alevis to flee to Europe, since they oppose Erdogan’s rule, while hardliners embrace Erdogan’s “Islamist” ideology .
Erdogan professes the ideology of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. He is a fierce defender of this radical organization, which calls for violence as a means of achieving its political goals, and which is in fact, uncharacteristic of Islam. There’s no surprise that the “Muslim Brotherhood” is extremely grateful to the President of Turkey. The spiritual leader of this group, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in August 2014 announced: “The meeting of Islamic sages agreed that the caliphate should be restored in Istanbul, the capital of the caliphate … You have to take the side of Erdogan, to swear allegiance to him.”
One must note that Erdogan appealed to the supporters of the Brotherhood through social networks once the military coup began in a bid to get them into the streets. Ironically, the Turkish president, sharply criticized the Internet and social networks during anti-government demonstrations in 2013 and threatened to block access to those, yet he was forced to turn to these same means to “win against the insurgency.”
Direct confirmation of the connections that Erdogan has with the “Muslim Brotherhood” was a symbolic greeting that he showed immediately after “the successful suppression of the military coup” – the Rabia sign. This 4 fingered raising gesture shows solidarity with the “Muslim Brotherhood” and has become pretty much widespread among the supporters of the Brotherhood. This was no random greeting on the part of Erdogan since he has repeatedly demonstrated that he understands the importance of gestures and signs, especially in the Middle East.
This gesture is the key to understanding the objectives “of the failed military coup” which was to prove the protest of a significant part of the Turkish military establishment in dealing with them in one stroke and pave the way for his further “Islamization” and the rise of the “Muslim Brotherhood.”
As for the implementation of the “coup” and the subsequent massacre of those who allegedly took part in it, one is reminded of the Reichstag fire that was planned by Hitler to start mass repressions in Germany against opponents of fascist ideology. But we all know the end of this story.
Therefore it is not surprising that after the “successful suppression of the military coup” in Turkey, Erdogan has arrested thousands of military servicemen and judges opposed to his questionable policies. This step, of course, will be followed by a crackdown on Turkish intellectuals. As it was back in 1933, the “outraged Turkish people” already demand mass executions of those who allegedly linked to the “coup.” In other words, history repeats itself.
Of course, with the revival of this kind of regime, the same one that we’ve witnessed in fascist Germany, it can be opposed, especially by Europe and by the US, for which Turkey still remains an important ally in the region.
However, it seems there’s a handful of politicians today who are more comfortable with the path Erdogan has chosen for Turkey, since “this political model” must allow the victory of “Western values.” After all, this same model has been tested by Washington in Ukraine, and it’s a known fact that it can be successfully used against Russia. So, according to Western think tanks, Washington can only benefit from the “failed military coup” in Turkey, especially against the background that Turkey announced a handful of areas where it could pursue cooperation with Moscow, which was clearly not a part of “the White House’s chess game.”
So now it’s up to Turkish citizens to decide which path they will choose for themselves and their children.
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”