I can’t help being surprised of how little that has been reported about the development in Turkey after the elections. Before the Gezi protests, Turkey was perceived as a promising, developing democracy. But now, one year later, Turkey undoubtedly has more similarities with Russia than any European country.
The problem is not only extensive pressure on the media and heavy censorship of the internet. It is not only the fact that judges and prosecutors cant do their job without approval from higher authority – meaning, well, Erdogan. Now, the very core of democracy, the elections, have been taken away as an opportunity for citizens to decide about their country’s future.
After YSK, the board responsible for organising the elections, denied a recount in Ankara, despite a very tight race, and obvious indications of cheating, I have a hard time seeing that things will get better in the short- or even in medium-term. The reason why Turkey will not quickly return to the right track, is because the man in power, Erdogan, have no incentives to steer in that direction. Rather the opposite. He has too much to lose.
Still, the foreign media rather focuses on the strong support that Erdogan still holds, almost baffled by the fact that a politician can be corrupt and still win elections.
In my opinion they should rather focus on the election fraud, and the increasingly impossible situation for the opposition parties. If the elections had been truly fair, it is likely that Turkey would be in a completely different situation at this point. To run a country with the capital belonging to the opposition, is not an easy task. Not the least would the loss of Ankara, also have been perceived as a punishment for corruption and other misdoings.
Maybe western journalists are just generally tired of reporting about a country in which punishment and reward do not follow a western logic.
Or, has Turkey for them just become another of these countries, to which democracy came, before it’s politicians and citizens learned to understand and respect it?
I stumbled across this video of a speech Erdogan held at the Muslim Arab Youth Association Conference in Tuledo, Ohio in 1996 when he was the mayor of Istanbul. Considering the last events in Turkey, his attempts to take full control over the Turkish judiciary system, this video makes you wonder if Erdoğan has ever been a true democrat?
At 2.08 minutes in the video, Erdogan says that those who will be a part of the building of the Islamic state will be richly revarded – is he talking about his own involvement in corruption?
At 4.15 minutes he starts explaining his view that democracy is just a tool to build that islamic state.
Don’t forget to put the subtitle-track on!