Faltering Reform And Nationalist Rhetoric

(Daniel Steinvorth, writing in the Spiegel, attempts to explain why AKP appears to have turned away from reforms. Read his article here) Excerpts:

Amid corruption scandals and stagnating reform, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, praised in Europe as a modernizer, is seeking refuge in nationalist rhetoric, adopting a tougher stance on the Kurds and moving closer to the country’s military leaders…

[Erdogan] has recently stopped calling for “cultural rights” for minorities, and is ignoring the human rights abuses being committed by Turkish police. Instead, he now prefers the language of the generals and nationalists. Turkey, Erdogan said excitedly in a recent speech to a Kurdish audience, is “one nation, one flag, one country.” He added: “whoever doesn’t like it can leave.”….

Erdogan has been all too willing to support a campaign by military officers to curtail freedom of the press and opinion…

Erdogan, increasingly irritable and thin-skinned, appears to be running out of luck…

Once economic growth declines, the government can expect to lose some of its support next year. Pollsters predict that the AKP will get only 34 percent of the vote in local elections in March, compared to 47 percent in the 2007 parliamentary election…

There have always been marriages of convenience between the mosque and the barracks in Turkey. This, says [political scientist Cengiz] Aktar, is why it is all the more important that Europe does not abandon the country now. Aktar believes that unless Brussels applies pressure on Turkey to continue with reforms, Erdogan’s chauvinistic tendencies will only increase…

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment