Turkey’s Hamas-supporting president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hoped that Sunday’s elections would give his Islamist party an overwhelming parliamentary majority, allowing him to amend the constitution in order to have himself effectively made dictator. Although his hopes were dashed, his party nonetheless won a plurality, and the election results may not be sufficient to curb his tyrannical tendencies, as Michael Rubin writes:
While some diplomats may say that the elections prove that democracy can overcome autocracy, . . . optimism that the damage done by more than twelve years of one-party rule can be overcome may be misplaced. On key issues of concern to the United States — for example, Turkey’s indirect and even direct support for radical Islamist terrorist groups in Syria—Erdogan has delegated authority to organizations like the Turkish intelligence service which do not answer to any democratic authority.
Erdogan has also permanently altered the bureaucracy . . . and even Turkey’s military, [which is] purged and cowed so that it is a shadow of its former self. Add into the mix a steady diet of anti-Americanism and conspiratorial incitement, and Turkey will remain one of the most anti-American countries on earth.
If the elections lead to gridlock and new elections, expect the would-be sultan to take his gloves off. . . . Turks are at the precipice. To suggest smooth sailing from here would be naïveté of the same sort that brought us the “reset” with Russia, the notion that Bashar al-Assad was a reformer, or, for that matter, the idea that Iran could be a trusted partner.
More about: Democracy, Hamas, Islamism, Middle East, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey