No real opposition, a weak civil society, what has Turkey got?

Fiachra Gibbons’s commentary in the Guardian is a good read.

Here are some excerpts to keep in mind when observing the developments:

‘In a final flourish, Erdoğan allowed his interior minister not only to pick off the detectives investigating the minister and his son, but also to get rid of 70 police chiefs and 580 other officers in six days, while an equal number of Erdoğan supporters were rewarded with their jobs. The new police chiefs’ first act was to refuse to investigate fresh corruption cases, one of which allegedly involves Erdoğan’s son, Bilal.’

‘This time, however, Erdoğan appears to have been undermined by a fatal moment of sanity. After seven days of sacking and shredding, he finally asked four ministers to step down. One refused to go – and said that Erdogan himself should also resign.

In an ideal world the scandal would have been exposed by a fearless cadre of impartial prosecutors. The truth is more complicated. Almost certainly nothing would have come to light if Erdoğan had not crossed his most important former ally, the exiled spiritual leader Fethullah Gülen. The head of a worldwide movement dedicated to interfaith dialogue and reconciling Islam with science, Gülen’s followers run a network of schools and media outlets including Turkey’s biggest selling newspaper, Zaman.’

Now as he winds himself in the rhetoric of martyrdom and conspiracy, Erdoğan has one last chance to redeem himself in the manner of his going. Turkish history, however, is not littered with many edifying precedents.

Semi-secret organisations such as Gülen’s Hizmet are not ideal champions of transparent democracy, particularly in a country cursed since Ottoman times by the unseen hand of masonic fraternities and a notorious “deep state”. Like the military, they too must be tackled if real democracy is ever to thrive.

But for now, with no opposition worthy of the name, and a civil society not yet strong enough to count, they are all Turkey has got..’

 

To read the full article, go here.

 

 

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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