Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Turkey votes for Christmas

I've been following the news in Turkey with interest lately. They had a referendum on Sunday that was narrowly won by the existing regime, the result gives the incumbent president sweeping new powers and is seen by many as a retrograde step in terms of democracy and secularism in that country. Like many things that happen in Turkey (and elsewhere in that part of the world) these days it is difficult for outsiders to sift fact from fiction, was this a rigged vote? And, much like the recent coup attempt I am left with a niggling feeling that it was somehow staged by the Government in order to fulfil a broader strategy, a longer-term play. 

What does seem clear is that Erdogan has Islamist leanings, he has done much over the last 10 years to roll-back the secularist advances made in Turkey over a century ago, critics and journalists have been thrown in jail and religion has taken a much bigger role in Government and he now has complete control over the judiciary and pretty much every other wing of state that has, until now, avoided his grasp.

So, is this the end of democracy in Turkey? Has it's Prime Minister now made the final transition from Politician to Sultan? I suppose you could argue that at least the border between Europe and the rest is clearer now, but with Turkey still within NATO and seemingly with it's hand on the Syrian immigration tap I fear that we'll be grappling with these thorny questions for many years to come.

No comments: