Sunday, June 09, 2013

Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan talks to you like he's your father-- that's the problem. #direngezipark #direnankara

I've held off blogging more about the protests in Turkey because it feels fake to do so from the U.S. I get my info from Twitter, particularly Turks in Ankara who are part of the protests, emails from friends there, articles in all English-language sources I can find, articles from Turkish newspaper websites (these take me longer to read), and Turkish television (most channels broadcast over the internet). My thoughts on Erdoğan were mostly developed by watching the evening news every night in Turkey for the last year. (If you're in Turkey reading this, sorry I'm not there.)

This article in the Financial Times is one of the better ones; the Prime Minister is a "street fighter who lost a street fight." He underestimated how much the average Turk, even those loyal to his own party, had grown tired of his incessant meddling/micromanaging-- his incessant commenting on every. single. thing. From The Simpsons to cesarean sections to wheat bread to history. His way of talking down with his "Trust me, I (and my religion) know what's best for you" manner. Only one person in modern Turkish history could do that-- the guy who created modern Turkish history (he's quoted as saying "Government of the people, in spite of the people.") And I think that's what really rankled a lot of people-- this guy thinks he's just as good as Atatürk, if not better.

He acts like he is the father and the protestors are his stubborn, rebellious children who have yet to heed what's best for them-- his wisdom. They'll come around eventually, if only their stupid friends (CHP) and foreign influences (the "bond lobby") would quit trying to lead them astray. That chafes on people. This is what it looks like when they've hit the tipping point:

Rumor has it that Erdoğan's ways got him in trouble with Fetullah Gülen even before the protests started. So, his plans to reform the Constitution to allow him to be a newly-powerful President until 2023 will likely (eventually) be shelved.
Will there be an internal AK Party struggle to silence him and let him finish his term as PM in relative peace while someone else like Abdullah Gül becomes the new leader?

A lot of factions with differing interests have been united in Taksim Square and Kızılay. That may not have happened if you had a leader who didn't feel the need to be the all-wise one.

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