The controversial re-election of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a sign that Turkey is a nation being torn apart from within. There are those who love President Erdogan and there are at least an equal number… that hate him. There is no middle ground.
President Erdogan won election after promising to suspend some Constitutional guarantees in favor of tight controls for security and stability. But, his re-election methods now have some voters crying foul. He dominated the media and advertising, using his money and bully pulpit, while his opposition was shouted down, vilified and shut out.
Considering an unbalanced election process, it is odd that Erdogan only won by a slim margin.
However, both Erdogan and the people that support him seem to have forgotten an important lesson from history. Governments that impose tight control under the auspices of security and stability are never secure and never stable. They’re at odds with the inherit basic human rights found in a free and democratic society and thus they are far from stable.
Turkey is moving towards Islamic fundamentalist domination and this has Western nations concerned. Erdogan scoff’s at this, calling their concerns nothing more than Islamophobia and accusing nations like Germany and Holland, where many ex-pats now live, as being Nazis. Ironically, if there is a Nazi-like zealot in the crowd, it’s Erdogan. He’s using Islamic fundamentalism to sow the seeds of fear and hatred towards anyone not supporting his regime as they dismantle the Turkish Constitution.
The recent failed coup against Erdogan exemplifies the degree of division within Turkey on its march to radical fundamentalism. All this does not bode well for future U.S. relations or the Middle East in general.