Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Executive Presidential Powers Referendum: Democracy Dies in Turkey!

President R T Erdoğan

Following the narrow referendum result in Turkey just a few days ago, the State of Emergency has again been extended by Parliament for a further three month period in the aftermath of the Ankara-staged ‘coup’ in July 2016 and this is the third such extension on the ‘recommendation’ of the National Security Board (MGK) just a short time after the referendum to dramatically change the governance system of the Republic of Turkey was so narrowly approved. Despite highly credible claims of corruption in the referendum process, nevertheless the modern-day ‘Sultan’ appears to be forging ahead in his goal to retain complete presidential power until 2029 during which time, it is rightly felt that the ‘Islamification’ of the country will be intensified, more human rights infringements and summary imprisonment of perceived opponents will inevitably increase and the already unstable region will become even more fragile.

During a late-night telephone conversation with a source in Turkey as the referendum vote was announced, there was no doubt in the eyes of the person concerned that the AKP machine had been mobilised and as a result, countless thousands of false voting slips had been stamped ‘Evet’ (Yes) as the will of the people was ruthlessly manipulated by those loyal to he who has become a self-styled neo-Sultan as he sets Turkey backwards by perhaps 200 years! Mustafa Kemal Ataturk must be spinning in his mausoleum! Understandably, main opposition party CHP have reacted angrily with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party stating that on behalf of his party, “We do not acknowledge this election which will be written in history as the ‘unsealed election.’ We will not recognize it. The national will should be respected and the referendum should be repeated.”

In recent weeks and months a number of secular Turks have been on contact not only via social media but direct telephone calls too and one in particular has expressed his profound concern for his way of life as someone who is passionately secular and fears that the ‘Absolute Ruler’ will purge the country of men and women who wish to live as was established long ago within the Ataturk reforms of 1923-28.  As recently as this morning President Erdoğan is protesting that a ‘win is a win’. “I come from a football background. It doesn’t matter if you win 1-0 or 5-0. The ultimate goal is to win the game,”

There are so many reasons for the wider world to be concerned if not fearful of the developing events in one of the most strategically important countries in the region and one which has direct impact on wider geographical Europe and other bordering nations. Turkey’s notoriously ‘leaky’ borders allow a constant flow of would-be emigres to head in a Westerly direction and Ankara is playing games with the West using ‘tidal’ or ‘floodgate’ tactics that are designed to attract an ongoing flood of funds in the hope that the flood might be stemmed. A ‘tidal wave’ is ultimately more likely though!

But it gets worse because Erdoğan’s son Bilal has been variously implicated as being more than just complicit in dealings with Da’Esh particularly in trading for oil and gas quite apart from direct involvement in people trafficking. Even the suggestion though of criticising the increasingly paranoid ‘Sultan’ is to attract immediate arrest and imprisonment of those suspected of doing so. A lad of just 16 was jailed for a Facebook comment! Were this article to be published in Turkey, the writer and all associated would be likely arrested [or worse] too! It is a situation that is likely to get a lot worse.

To paraphrase the late, great Enoch Powell in the ‘Birmingham Speech’ in April 1964…”Looking ahead I am filled with much foreboding: I am like the spirit of Ataturk viewing the streets of Turkey flowing with much blood!”

There is more to unfold as the months unfurl…


Chris Green
 Beşparmak Media Services