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8/23/15

Turkey: Erdogan Uses Censorship to Cling to Power - by Michael Rubin

As predicted, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had absolutely no intention of abiding by the results of the June 7, 2015 when, for the first time in more than 12 years, his Justice and Development lost its majority in parliament.

Joining a coalition means compromising with opposition parties rather than continuing his own tyranny of the plurality.

Hence, Erdoğan has called snap-elections for November 1. Erdoğan is no gambler, however, and he will not trust his fate to the voters determining their party pick on an even playing field.

While Turkish diplomats and perhaps their American counterparts as well seek to spin recent military operations as renewed Turkish seriousness in the fight against the Islamic State, they are anything but.
Turkey’s military disproportionately targeted the Kurds who have been fighting the Islamic State, and they have launched repeated airstrikes as well at the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) presence in northern Iraq, never mind the ceasefire to which Erdoğan had earlier agreed. Indeed, it’s all well and good to suggest that Turkey is fighting a renewed insurgency but the renewed outbreak of insurgency was largely Erdoğan’s political decision.

In reality, it would be just as accurate to say that Erdoğan’s regime has killed dozens if not hundreds of Turkish citizens since his party’s relatively poor showing in the June elections. Simply put, Erdoğan believes a crisis works in his favor and undercuts the electoral hopes of Turkey’s Kurds.

But fomenting crisis is only one mechanism by which Erdoğan will seek to cement his power. He has also taken censorship inside Turkey to new heights to prevent his opponents from pushing out their message online. “Radical Democrat” blogger Gürkan Özturan gives a chilling new report on Erdoğan crackdown on Internet news sites:

As predicted, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had absolutely no intention of abiding by the results of the June 7, 2015 when, for the first time in more than 12 years, his Justice and Development lost its majority in parliament. Joining a coalition means compromising with opposition parties rather than continuing his own tyranny of the plurality.

Hence, Erdoğan has called snap-elections for November 1. Erdoğan is no gambler, however, and he will not trust his fate to the voters determining their party pick on an even playing field.

While Turkish diplomats and perhaps their American counterparts as well seek to spin recent military operations as renewed Turkish seriousness in the fight against the Islamic State, they are anything but.

Turkey’s military disproportionately targeted the Kurds who have been fighting the Islamic State, and they have launched repeated airstrikes as well at the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) presence in northern Iraq, never mind the ceasefire to which Erdoğan had earlier agreed. Indeed, it’s all well and good to suggest that Turkey is fighting a renewed insurgency but the renewed outbreak of insurgency was largely Erdoğan’s political decision. In reality, it would be just as accurate to say that Erdoğan’s regime has killed dozens if not hundreds of Turkish citizens since his party’s relatively poor showing in the June elections.

Simply put, Erdoğan believes a crisis works in his favor and undercuts the electoral hopes of Turkey’s Kurds.

But fomenting crisis is only one mechanism by which Erdoğan will seek to cement his power.

He has also taken censorship inside Turkey to new heights to prevent his opponents from pushing out their message online. “Radical Democrat” blogger Gürkan Özturan gives a chilling new report on Erdoğan crackdown on Internet news sites:

Read more: Erdogan Uses Censorship to Cling to Power

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