No real opposition, a weak civil society, what has Turkey got?

Fiachra Gibbons’s commentary in the Guardian is a good read.

Here are some excerpts to keep in mind when observing the developments:

‘In a final flourish, Erdoğan allowed his interior minister not only to pick off the detectives investigating the minister and his son, but also to get rid of 70 police chiefs and 580 other officers in six days, while an equal number of Erdoğan supporters were rewarded with their jobs. The new police chiefs’ first act was to refuse to investigate fresh corruption cases, one of which allegedly involves Erdoğan’s son, Bilal.’

‘This time, however, Erdoğan appears to have been undermined by a fatal moment of sanity. After seven days of sacking and shredding, he finally asked four ministers to step down. One refused to go – and said that Erdogan himself should also resign.

In an ideal world the scandal would have been exposed by a fearless cadre of impartial prosecutors. The truth is more complicated. Almost certainly nothing would have come to light if Erdoğan had not crossed his most important former ally, the exiled spiritual leader Fethullah Gülen. The head of a worldwide movement dedicated to interfaith dialogue and reconciling Islam with science, Gülen’s followers run a network of schools and media outlets including Turkey’s biggest selling newspaper, Zaman.’

Now as he winds himself in the rhetoric of martyrdom and conspiracy, Erdoğan has one last chance to redeem himself in the manner of his going. Turkish history, however, is not littered with many edifying precedents.

Semi-secret organisations such as Gülen’s Hizmet are not ideal champions of transparent democracy, particularly in a country cursed since Ottoman times by the unseen hand of masonic fraternities and a notorious “deep state”. Like the military, they too must be tackled if real democracy is ever to thrive.

But for now, with no opposition worthy of the name, and a civil society not yet strong enough to count, they are all Turkey has got..’


To read the full article, go here.