to repair it” Political Islam against Kemalism and gradually slipping into authoritarianismTHE Recep Tayyip Erdoğan it is confirmed in all respects that after 20 years of reign he has marked like no one else since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, radically reforming a country where the Islamic identity and the “new age” of the Turkish Republic seem to have perhaps finally outweighed the faltering economy at the polls on May 14.
Against the predictions of the end of the age and despite the fact that it has indeed come before the fiercest battle of his journey, Erdogan has countered the political decadence of 20 years and remains Turkey’s strongman.
It may be the first time since 2014 and the immediate election of the president that he does not emerge victorious in the first round, but he is on the way to May 28 with a strong numerical and psychological advantage against the opposition, and his imminent re-election will be the culmination of a march towards authoritarianism, at a time when Turkish society itself has drifted away from the West in recent years, with its president politically invested in anti-Western rhetoric and nationalism.
In the parliamentary ballot, his alliance with the nationalists of Devlet Bakhceli has already emerged victorious.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan started as reformer, with his greatest success in “dissolving”, or at least in questioning, the militaristic secular establishment of the Kemalist heritage. applied methodically, beating its pillars of the Kemalist State: First Higher Education by lifting the ban on the Islamic headscarf, then the judicial system to achieve the ultimate goal of weakening the influence of the military.
In the early years he “opened” it economy in foreign funds, favoring rights and freedoms, and by supporting the launch of Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Union. At first, the West “saw” Turkey under Erdogan as a “mixture” of Islam and democracy that could perhaps be a model for Middle Eastern states against autocracy. But two decades later, the 69-year-old Erdogan has found himself a symbol of authoritarianism and democratic regression.
The turning point of the turn to authoritarianism was the “rebellion of Gezi Parkin 2013 and coup attempt of 2016 – repression, purges in public administration, the judiciary and the military, restriction of human rights and Turkey’s constant estrangement from the West and the principles of the rule of law.
Distant memory they also became the first “the golden years” under Erdogan in the field of the economy, with modernization and development projects and the expansion of the conservative religious middle class. Inflation in the “red” and a crisis of accuracy “accompanied” the May 14 polls, set up just three months after the February tragedy. But they did not cause his downfall.
The dire state of the economy was one of the main factors leading to it November 2002 himself of Islamic origin Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins majority in Turkey for the first time National Assemblysealing the continued rise of political Islam in the tumultuous 1990s. The AKP has since managed to win six legislative elections from 2002 to 2018 (and in the ballot on May 14, 2023), while Erdogan was three times prime minister since 2003 and vigorously fighting for May 28 a third consecutive presidential term.
Starting point during Erdogan’s political rise was his election to mayor of Istanbul in 1994, as the candidate of Nejmetin Erbakan’s Islamist Welfare Party. During his tenure, the party was deemed illegal by the Constitutional Court of Turkey, while he was forced to resign (in 1997) and sentenced to four months in prison and disenfranchisement for reading publicly a poem by Turkish nationalist poet Ziya Gökalp which was deemed to contain threatening messages. against the secular state and incited religious hatred.
In the years that followed, Recep Tayyip Erdogan left the Prosperity Party, along with other members of his reformist wing, and on August 14 2001 presented his new “proposal”. Only one year after its creation, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has become first parliamentary powerbut Erdogan himself had to wait until March 14, 2003 to take over Prime Minister (succeeding Abdullah Gül), when he had already “recovered” his political rights.
Following a pro-European path, Erdogan’s Turkey began negotiations in 2015 with the aim of joining the European Union after the adoption of a series of institutional reforms – a process which he himself interrupted.
Its legislative elections 2007 they find Erdogan for is re-elected with a percentage of 46.6%; THE 2010 wins the crucial referendum for the constitutional reforms which limit the powers of the judiciary and the army, and open the way to the election of the president by the people and not by the National Assembly, while the 2011 followed by triumphant re-election in parliamentary polls with a percentage of around 49.8%.
And as rumors were already swirling that Erdogan was turning more and more towards authoritarianism, the “Gezi Park Uprising” 2013 has come to mean more debatable of its power by the Turkish people.
Protests that have erupted over plans to renovate Istanbul’s Taksim Square public park have taken on massive proportions as Erdogan “responded” with a brutal crackdown. Clashes between police and protesters left eight dead and more than 8,000 injured. Plans approved by Erdogan to build a replica of the Ottoman barracks have been scrapped after months of protests.
On December 17, 2013, Erdoğan and his entourage received a heavy blow as a judicial investigation began for huge corruption scandals which affected not only his ministers, but even his own family. It was the first time that Erdogan felt threatened by a coup from within, particularly by state apparatuses controlled by the longtime friend movement of Imam Fethullah Gulen.
THE 2014 Erdogan has become the First President who was elected with vote of the turkish people (52.59%), since then embarking on constitutional reform to transform parliamentary democracy into a presidential system and essentially establish “one-man rule”.
The objective was achieved with the 2017 referendum and the presidential regime came into force in 2018 after the re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with 52.59% of the vote. In the parliamentary elections of the same year, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also won a majority, having already allied itself with the National Action Party of Devlet Bakhceli since 2015.
The slide towards absolutism culminated after July 15, 2016 putsch attempt, which Erdogan blamed on supporters of the US-based self-imposed Fethullah Gulen. His government engaged in an unprecedented mass wave of liquidations in public administration, government agencies, schools and universities and the armed forces. Massive arrests and trials, silence of the media and non-governmental organizations in a harsh wave of repression which “has extended” to Kurdish parliamentarians and journalists.
However, Erdogan’s most significant change after 2016 took place in Foreign Police. THE anti-Western discourse which consisted until then of “strengthening” the cohesion of a public nurtured by national ideals, now becomes the central political line of Turkish foreign policy, with Turkey now appearing more as a country in the Middle East and less as an ally Reliable from the West, with European Ambitions. The war fronts it has been involved in in Syria, Libya, Iraq and the Caucasus, as well as the tensions it has caused in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea have brought it on a collision course with its once close ally, the United States.
2019 was also to be memorable for Erdogan, as for the first time his political decadence was reflected at the ballot box. In local elections he lost his party Istanbul Municipality. THE Ekrem Imamoglou of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), emerged victorious in two electoral contests, after his first election was contested by the government with various legal technicalities. It was the first time in 25 years that the AKP had lost the country’s largest municipality, from which Erdogan himself began his 20-year political triumph, after repeatedly declaring that whoever controls Istanbul controls all the countries.
Bearing the burden of a tumultuous historical journey, Erdogan fought to prevent May 14 from being his swan song, in the face of diverse but united opposition, with the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) as his candidate. Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
On his way to the polls, he pitched his plans and his vision Turkey’s “new century”with a focus on the defense industry, and took the conflict with Kemal Kilicdaroglu to the extreme, accusing him of being “disloyal”, supports his “terrorism” PKKEast United States “subject” and the West’s “Trojan horse”, even being “involved” in the 2016 coup attempt, which the Erdogan government “blames” self-exiled Pennsylvanian Fethullah Gulen and the United States itself.
The narrative of an “attempted political coup” by the West accompanied the election campaign of Erdogan, who basically received as a “gift” the Western press articles which called on Turkish citizens to vote for the Republic. The alliance under the Alevi Kemal Kilicdaroglu, which also had the open support of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) defied expectations, and nationalism emerged unscathed. All eyes now turn to May 28, where the stakes are set.
A victory for Erdogan portends a continuation and consolidation of the proven “recipe” for authoritarianism, “something like a dictatorship” as warned by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who for his part pledges to restore the state of law and to abolish the “one man rule”, while putting relations with the West and the European Union back on track, and “reminding” Vladimir Putin’s Russia that Turkey is a member of NATO.
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