The bloody games of the Turkish "Sultan"
Undercurrent of the gap
The resignation of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu came as a surprise to many. For nearly fifteen years, since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, this person has been considered the right hand of Erdogan. As the ideological inspirer of the policy of neo-Ottomanism, Davutoglu supported his “patron” in the most crucial moments and in the most responsible positions.
In 2009 — 2014, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and then headed the government altogether. But there was not enough trust for two years. A few months ago, Davutoglu began to experience increasing pressure. Last October, the Central Steering and Executive Committee of the AKP was cleared of its closest supporters. Similar processes took place in the government. Erdogan arranged officials for key positions as figures on a chess field: at his own will, without agreement with the Prime Minister. Minister of Energy, for example, became the son-in-law of President Berat Albayrak.
The culmination of the cooling occurred on 29 April. In the absence of Davutoglu, who was on a visit to Qatar, the AKP steering committee deprived him of his authority to appoint the heads of regional party organizations. After the return of the Prime Minister, he met with Erdogan, the result of which was a letter of resignation from the post of leader of the ruling party and, as a result, from the post of prime minister.
Of course, the gap did not happen from scratch. Last year, the Turkish media wrote about the quarrels between Davutoglu and Erdogan, which took place at government meetings. According to the Constitution, the president must maintain neutrality towards all parliamentary factions and cannot interfere in the current work of the Cabinet. Erdogan rejected the restrictions, allowing himself to directly lead the government and not wanting to stand “above the fray”: his criticism, and even direct insults to the AKP opponents, only intensified.
After last June’s crushing elections for the ruling party, Davutoglu advocated a coalition government. Erdogan rejected this idea, taking the course for new elections. Finally, the Prime Minister allowed himself to criticize the harsh measures initiated by the president. In the “Kurdish question”, which actually developed into a civil war, Davutoglu was inclined to negotiate with the Kurdistan Workers' Party.
A black cat that ran between politicians should be sought not only in Turkey itself. In contrast to the unpredictable Erdogan, the West has recently begun to rely on Davutoglu. This was indicated by an agreement with the European Union concerning the problem of refugees. Turkey agreed to cut off the channels of illegal migration in exchange for 6 billion euros, a visa-free regime with the European Union and promises to speed up the procedure for accepting Ankara. The success of the negotiations belonged to Davutoglu. He did not just achieve favorable conditions for Turkey, but did it bypassing Erdogan, who views refugees as an instrument of pressure on the EU and does not want to put an end to this game.
The United States also began to give a demonstrative preference to Davutoglu. Against the background of the public picks of Erdogan and Obama, the attitude to the Prime Minister in the American press remained underlined respectful. Moreover, May 5 was to meet Davutoglu with Obama. The fate of the disgraced premiere was decided a day earlier ...
Through thorns to ... power
The new government, approved by the 29 parliament in May, is devoid of all the “flaws” of the previous cabinet. Binali Yildirim became its head. Like Davutoglu, he served Erdogan faithfully for many years, starting with the administration of Istanbul and ending with the post of head of the Ministry of Transport. Unlike its predecessor, Yildirim is an obedient pawn, who, by the will of the grandmaster, knocks herself into a queen, but just as quickly can be put into “expense”. There are plenty of threads to manipulate the new prime minister. Yıldırım was involved in a major corruption scandal known as the “Big Bribe”.
It is not surprising that from the very first steps the new prime minister began to show his loyalty. First, 11 ministers suspected of lacking loyalty to the president were expelled from the government. Secondly, Yıldırım openly stated that now the main task of the government is to expand the powers of the head of state. “Our most important duty as the ruling party is to change the Constitution, which should correspond to today's relationship between the president and the people who elect him,” he said.
In oriental, a florid phrase hides Erdogan’s main goal - the transformation of Turkey into a super-presidential republic. Much has been achieved on this path. Direct presidential elections have been introduced, the powers of the judiciary and the general staff have been limited. Finally, Erdogan himself was elected head of state in 2014. But for real empowerment, it is necessary to adopt a new Basic Law. This caused problems. The ruling party lacks votes to initiate a referendum, and attempts to enlist the support of the other factions were not crowned with success.
Surrounded by Erdogan himself, not everyone supported the reform either. Ahmet Davutoglu, for example, was inclined to the “American version”, implying a strong presidential power, but with counterbalances in the person of influential parliament and judicial system.
This barrier is removed. The government and the leadership of the AKP remained those who do not allow themselves even the slightest criticism of Erdogan’s plans. The next object for "correction" becomes the parliament. 20 in May, the parliamentary majority in the person of the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party that joined it pushed through a bill to lift immunity from deputies. Formally, parliamentarians of all factions fall under it, but in reality it is directed against the opposition. Now 45 from 59 deputies of the pro-Kurdish Party of Democracy of Nations and more 50 from 133 deputies of the Republican People's Party, in respect of which there were requests from the prosecutor's office, can be brought to justice. Most of them are accused of insulting the president and criticizing repression, which is interpreted as treason and support for extremists. According to the results of the voting, Erdogan, “my people do not want to see deputies in the parliament who support separatist terrorist organizations”.
The fate of the country is decided by the people
The “cleansing” of the deputies’s corps can open the door to the desired change of the Constitution. But these actions are only part of a nationwide campaign to combat dissent. She touched all sectors of society. A criminal case was instituted against opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who called Erdogan a “petty-dictator dictator”. Independent media are harassed. The editor-in-chief and the head of the capital’s bureau of the newspaper Respublika were sentenced to imprisonment for publishing material on the cooperation of the Turkish special services with the Islamic State. Academicians who signed the declaration demanding to stop the bloody massacre in Kurdish areas and return to the negotiating table were arrested and accused of “humiliating the Turkish nation”. And April 20 was found dead by writer Ergun Poyraz, who conducted his own investigation and proved that Erdogan’s diploma in higher education was fake, which deprives him of the right to hold the presidency.
The repressions struck the Communist Party. In respect of more than fifty members of its leadership, including the head of the CPT, Kemal Okuyan, lawsuits were filed on all the same accusations of "slander" and "insults." In response, the Communists said they would continue to call thieves thieves, and murderers - killers.
"Tightening the screws" gives Erdogan fear of losing power. It is not surprising that, in Turkey itself and beyond its borders, they are increasingly talking about the "sultan's mania" of the president, who dreams of the unlimited powers of the rulers of the Ottoman Empire. To this end, Erdogan not only suppresses opposition sentiments, but also cracks down on republican traditions established by Kemal Ataturk. And this is another goal of constitutional reform. As Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman said, “Turkey is a Muslim country, so we need a Constitution that is based on religious values.”
This policy is fraught with the most dangerous consequences. The statement of the Turkish Communist Party notes that the government of the AKP and Erdogan personally with their bloody adventures in the country and throughout the region turned Turkey into an arena of blind violence. “They can only lead the state to a catastrophe,” the Communists are confident.
There are no exaggerations. After an unsuccessful election result for the ruling party in June 2015, the authorities headed for deliberately provoking a conflict in Turkish Kurdistan. This policy continues. Dozens of cities and villages in the south-east of the country turned into an arena of real battles, Turkish aviation and artillery attacking the positions of the Kurdistan Workers Party in Iraq and Syria.
At the same time, the Turkish leadership supports the Islamists. Almost all the activists of the radical groups arrested last summer under the pretext of “war on terror” were released. Moreover, the IG leadership, according to some sources, is buying up land and property in Turkey in case of a defeat.
Such fatal myopia can plunge the country into bloody chaos. Not in favor of Erdogan plays a progressive economic crisis caused by the loss of the Russian and Iraqi markets, the collapse of the tourism industry and a decrease in foreign investment. Under these conditions, reliance on the closest entourage is unlikely to save the president. Pushing away influential figures like Abdullah Gul, Bülent Arınç, Ali Babacan and the same Davutoлуlu, Erdogan remained in the company of pawns - obedient but impotent.
Will not stretch a helping hand and the West. Judging by the latest events, they decided to set a course for the overthrow of Erdogan. There is plenty of evidence. The agreement with the European Union on refugees is deadlocked. June 2 resolution on the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire was adopted by the German Bundestag. A little earlier, in the United States, businessman Reza Zarrab, one of the main defendants in the Big Bribe case, was detained. The scandal, jammed in Turkey, resurrected to put pressure on Erdogan.
Far from the political correctness of the last statements of Western politicians. "Turkey is turning into a state of one person," said Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament. Barack Obama put it even more harshly, calling Erdogan a “loser and authoritarian leader.” An energetic campaign unfolded in the Western media. “Erdogan was seized by pride. He behaves like a new Sultan of the Sunni world, ”writes the French newspaper Le Figaro. “Leadership that has no competitors will lead to disaster,” warns the New York Times.
The army can also say its word, having intervened in Turkish politics for several decades. Erdogan made maximum efforts to weaken the army elite, but, as indicated by the Western media, in the armed forces there is growing discontent with the president’s policies.
However, as the Communist Party of Turkey emphasizes, the people must say the final word. “We should not look for a way out either in a military coup, or in the intervention of imperialist forces, or in ethnically-sectarian variants of a civil war,” the CPT said in a statement. Not fighting Erdogan alone, but resisting capitalism and fundamentalism can bring victory to the Turkish people. And this is really the only way for the country to save.
- Sergey Kozhemyakin
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