OP/ED: Western selective democracy and the targeting of Erdogan

OP/ED: Western selective democracy and the targeting of Erdogan


The marginal prevalence of the Yes vote in the Turkish Constitutional Revision referendum and its transition from Parliamentary Democracy to Presidential provided Western governments and media the opportunity to go all out against Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

They call him a Sultan, Dictator and many other negative things without making the effort to compare similar situations with what happens in the US and EU member-states.

State of Emergency

After the attempted coup in July2016, Turkey declared a state of emergency. It is not unreasonable for a country to declare state of emergency when an overthrow of the constitution is attempted and terrorist acts succeed one another leaving many dead.

For Western media, the fact that the referendum went ahead while the country was in a state of emergency is evidence that the result was tampered with, distorting the will of the people.

Let me remind you that France is under emergency until July 2017 and it will hold an election in May.

1.5 percent difference

The difference between YES and NO was about 1.5%, the equivalent of 1.3 million votes; not a negligible number of votes that ultimately made the difference. Western media ignore the 1.3 million voters that gave YES the win and question the result.

In the US election in November 2016, Hillary Clinton got 48.2 percent and Donald Trump took 46.1 percent of the vote. That is a difference of 2 percent yet Trump was elected president. Was that a distortion?

YES in Turkey took a little over 51%, while in Europe many governments are formed having won even less than 30% of the total vote. The “Democracy” of 30% is obviously more powerful than the “Democracy” of 51%. Of course, the fact that Prime Ministers make decisions and ministers execute them doesn’t have an unfamiliar ring in western societies. However, the decisions any Turkish President elected by the people might take, following the constitutional change in Turkey, is obviously dictatorial.

Obviously Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not done everything perfectly, but most of the accusations leveled at him are unfair. That he wants to bring back the death penalty is a setback for democracy and Turkey itself.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a very difficult situation to manage. Both at home and abroad there are big problems. Unemployment in the first quarter of 2017 was increasing, exceeding 13% for the first time in 7 years. The sharp decline in tourism led GDP to drop and the Turkish lira to devaluation has not helped as much as expected.

The ongoing war in Syria, the continuation of negotiations on the Cyprus issue, and counterterrorism operations in Eastern Turkey make the situation even worse. He has proved a capable politician to date; it remains to be seen if he will succeed again./IBNA