A Victory With a Price
The Editors – The Guardian
There is an old Turkish proverb which says that a defeated wrestler always wants another match. It could have been coined to describe the increasingly dire situation of Turkey in recent years under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He is undoubtedly an effective and shrewd politician….
But he was never an instinctive democrat, respectful of constitutional principles, or resigned to the alternation in power essential in a true democracy, and his attitude to any setback has always been to get round the obstacle by some other means…..
In retrospect his years in power have seen the reduction, one by one, of all independent centres of power…. He has increasingly politicised the judiciary and the law enforcement agencies, with Washington’s annual human rights report on Turkey this summer only one of many recent condemnatory accounts.
Erdoğan’s Second Chance
Sinan Ülgen – Project Syndicate
The outcome of the vote attests to the ineffectiveness of Turkey’s parliamentary opposition, which once again failed to make a dent in the AKP’s popularity, almost as if they had set out to disprove the theory that electorates simply tire of long-serving governments….
The main trap the new government must avoid is a return to a heavily paternalistic style of governance. The AKP should take comfort in its large majority and start to view minority views and even peaceful dissent more benignly, in a way that befits a country negotiating accession to the European Union.The lesson of the two elections is clear: Turkey’s voters want a strong, stable government, but not one that runs roughshod over its opponents.
Erdogan’s Violent Victory
Roger Cohen – The New York Times
Improbably, Erdogan was able to embody stability when the politics of instability have been his modus operandi over the past five months. Or perhaps not so improbably — Erdogan, in power now for a dozen years, understands the psychology of fear and the force of Sunni Turkish nationalism, especially when the old specter of the Kurdish conflict appears.
The president has played with fire.
His stance toward the terror-wielding jihadis of the Islamic State has married symbolic opposition to benign negligence, enough anyway to produce two terrorist attacks, one near the Syrian border on July 20 and one last month in Ankara, that left about 130 people dead. Most of the victims were Kurds. Goaded and attacked on several fronts in recent months, inside and beyond Turkish borders, the militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K., returned to violence, killing two Turkish policemen on July 22. The old war stirred. It allowed Erdogan to suggest that only he stood between Turkey and the mayhem in neighboring states….
In Turkey Vote, a Window on Common Identity
The Editorial Board – The Christian Science Monitor
Turkey is now the place to watch in this global trend toward binding a particular people along shared principles of governance. In June, this pivotal nation between East and West held an election in which voters largely went against the Turkish-Islamic nationalism of the ruling Justice and Development Party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
But the big surprise was a 13 percent showing for the Peoples’ Democratic Party. Its origins lie in representing the minority Kurds. Yet its leader, Selahattin Demirtas, convinced enough non-Kurds – mainly young, urban, and middle class – that he represents a break from old divisions. Dubbed the Obama of Turkey, he emphasizes an identity formed by peace, human rights, a distribution of power, and a respect for minorities.