Turkey and PM Erdogan is Inciting Islamist Sentiments. By Nuray Lydia Oglu and Lee Jay Walker
11 Jun 2013
Social and political tensions in Turkey continue to be felt throughout this country because many people opposed to Recep Tayyip Erdogan believe that the current prime minister is a threat to democracy, freedom of speech, secularism and the rule of law. If Erdogan continues by issuing threats then it would appear that demonstrators are vindicated in their assumption that he is “a dictatorial leader” hiding behind the façade of democracy.
Once demonstrations erupted throughout Turkey then most analysts believed that Erdogan would vent his anger by whipping up hatred and using authoritarian language. Sadly, Erdogan did indeed respond like expected because regionally and internationally he often creates tensions instead of focusing on diplomacy. The nation of Turkey may be a bridge which links Europe with the Middle East based on the geopolitical reality of this nation state. However, Erdogan isn’t building bridges with forces which have been alienated by his style of leadership. On the contrary, he now is going for the jugular whereby the police do his bidding on the ground; while Erdogan incites against the demonstrators.
During a recent meeting with the European Union it is clear that Erdogan peddled the nationalist agenda. More recently, Erdogan is now using his Islamist agenda which people fear. This is a very dangerous game to play because in neighboring Syria it is clear that Turkey under his leadership is nothing more than a conduit for al-Qaeda, Takfiri Islamists, mercenaries, covert operatives and major shipments of military hardware.
The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom reports that “He held six rallies on Sunday, a measure of tensions after a week of the biggest demonstrations and worst rioting of his decade in power.”
“Thousands waved red Turkish flags and shouted Allahu Akbar (God Is Greatest) as he accused protesters of attacking women wearing headscarves and desecrating mosques by taking beer bottles into them.”
Erdogan therefore is using two dangerous forces which can easily be manipulated against demonstrators. This applies to nationalism and the Islamist card. Therefore, true to his nature he cares little about unleashing dangerous forces against the people of Turkey. He is meant to be dampening the situation by reaching out but instead he is fanning the flames for more divisions within Turkish society.
The current leader of Turkey is a dangerous maverick and by trying to incite nationalism and Islamism, then this speaks volumes about his leadership. It appears that Erdogan and his advisors have no qualms in using the state apparatus against the people of Turkey – while also inciting hatred towards the demonstrators.
Erdogan stated that “We were patient, we will be patient, but there is an end to patience, and those who play politics by hiding behind the protesters should first learn what politics means.”
The Hurriyet Daily News states (Murat Yetkin) that “The Taksim demonstrations and counter-demos by the government are not likely to end up with a radical shift in government policy, let alone a fall of the government as exaggerated by those observers trying to liken Taksim with Tahrir with their orientalist outlook. What most of the people want is simply to let their voices be heard and taken into account, not ignored because they did not vote for Erdoğan and respect for their modernist-secular way of life. The Gezi Park crisis was exactly the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was a small matter and could have been handled very easily, smoothly. But with an overdone “I have the right to do it because I have the vote support” attitude, the protests escalated into a major crisis; Erdoğan has lost his almighty image in Turkish politics and abroad.”
Irrespective of the final outcome it is clear that greater polarization will continue to take place under Erdogan. After all, compromise and diplomacy are not on his agenda. Instead, Erdogan is currently playing with the forces of nationalism and Islamist sentiments by using these forces in order to quell the demonstrations by stealth. It is a very dangerous game to play!