”Turkey has fallen hostage to the ambition of one man: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After voters in June stripped the ruling Justice and Development party of its majority, denying the neo-Islamist AKP a fourth triumph, he has all but hijacked the country into a new general election” writes David Gardner, in his column, Financial Times:
”The June result delivered a hung parliament. But its message was that a clear majority of Turks do not want one-man rule. Since ascending to what had been a largely ceremonial office last year, President Erdogan has already grabbed power from parliament, cabinet and institutions such as the judiciary. His avowed aim was to win a supermajority for the AKP in order to recast the constitution around his overweening taste for unbridled power.
No matter that the country he has done much to polarise is assailed on all fronts: menaced from its southern border by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which last month began attacks inside Turkey; facing reignited fighting in the mainly Kurdish south-east; and with a stagnating economy and falling currency vulnerable to short-term capital flows amid deep uncertainty in emerging markets.
Ruling like a capricious sultan from his kitsch new neo-Ottoman palace four times the size of Versailles, he seems to incarnate the spirit of the remark attributed to Louis XV: après moi, le deluge.
Many Turkish observers of this mercurial leader, including some within the AKP orbit, believe he decided on a re-run of the election almost as soon as the June results came in. Paternalist to a fault, he appears to believe Turks gave the wrong answer and would have to sit the test again. They would soon see that Turkey’s maladies arise from their failure to stick with one-party government under a strong president.”