Tag Archives: coup d’etat

Erdogan: The Sultan Of An Illusionary Ottoman Empire

Opinion -Analysis 

In many conversations and encounters I had over the years with former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he emphatically echoed his boss President Erdogan’s grandiose vision that by 2023 (the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic), Turkey will become as powerful and influential as the Ottoman Empire was during its heyday. Under the best of circumstances, Turkey cannot realize Erdogan’s far-fetched dream. Had he stayed the course, however, with his socio-political and judiciary reforms and economic developments, as he had during his first nine years in power, Turkey could have become a major player on the global stage and a regional powerhouse.

Sadly, Erdogan abandoned much of the impressive democratic reforms he championed, and embarked upon a systematic Islamization of the country while dismantling the pillars of democracy. He amassed unprecedented powers and transformed Turkey from a democratic to an autocratic country, ensuring that he has the last word on all matters of state.

In retrospect, it appears that Erdogan had never committed himself to a democratic form of government. The reforms he undertook during his first nine years in power were largely induced by the European Union’s requirements from any country seeking membership, which he exploited as a means by which to propel himself toward his ultimate goal. A quote attributed to him in 1999 describes precisely what his real intentions were from the day he rose to power. “Democracy” he said, “is like a bus, when you arrive at your destination, you step off.”

His role model is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (meaning “Father of the Turks”), who founded the Turkish Republic in 1923.  Both share similar personal attributes as they sought to lead the nation with an iron fist while disregarding any separation of power. However, Atatürk was determined to establish a Westernized secular democratic state while Erdogan went in the opposite direction.

Erdogan steadily moved to create a theocracy where Islamic tradition and values reign supreme while assuming Atatürk’s image, which is revered by most Turks. Erdogan presents himself as one who leads with determination and purpose, generating power from his popular support, ultimately seeking to replace Atatürk; with the new amendments to the constitution, he will be endowed with powers even greater than Atatürk ever held.

With his growing popularity and most impressive economic growth, Erdogan successfully created the status of a strong and resolute leader—the “father” of a new Turkish Republic—and artfully penetrated the consciousness of the Turkish public while using Islam as the undisputed pathway that will lead Turkey to greatness. He is determined to preside at the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic over a powerful nation among the top ten largest global economies and that extends its influence East and West, akin to the prodigious influence that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed.

To realize his grand vision, Erdogan took several measures to consolidate his absolute power.

  • First, clearing the way:

Erdogan embarked on the complete marginalization or elimination of anyone, in and outside the ruling AK Party, that challenged his authority or advanced new ideas for solving the country’s problems. Those who did not support his policies and dared to question his judgment were not spared. He resorted to conspiracy theories, accusing his political opponents of being enemies of the state aiming to topple his government, in order to continue unopposed to realize his vision for the country, analogous to the influence and outreach of the Ottoman Empire. He even fired his long-time friend and confidant Davutoglu because Davutoglu differed from him in connection with the Kurdish problem, and especially because of Davutoglu’s reluctance to support the constitutional amendments that will grant the president sweeping and unprecedented powers.

  • Second, the need for a culprit:

Erdogan needed a scapegoat to blame for any of his shortcomings, and found the Gulen movement to be the perfect culprit that would provide him with the cover to overshadow the massive corruption that has swept his government. This also provided him with the “justification” to crack down on many social, political, and institutional entities, silencing the media, controlling the judiciary, and subordinating the military.

The aftermath of the attempted military coup in July 2016 gave him the ammunition to conduct a society-wide witch-hunt, providing him with the excuse to purge tens of thousands of people from academia, civil society, judiciary, military, and internal security. This has allowed him to assume total control of all departments in the government and private sector. He described his purge as a necessary evil to cleanse the public of the ‘cancer’ that has gripped the country. In so doing, he ensured that the political system revolves around the presidency, leaving him completely unchallenged to pursue his imperial dream to resurrect the stature of the Ottoman Empire as the country prepares to vote in the constitutional referendum on April 16.

  • Third, the creation of Ottoman symbolism:

To project his grandiose vision, Erdogan needed to instill Ottoman images into the public consciousness, including the building of a 1,100-room ‘White Palace’ as his residence at a prohibitive cost to taxpayers. His most recent project was the Çamlica Mosque, the now-largest mosque in Istanbul, standing on the eponymous hill that overlooks the entire city.

Recently, Erdogan started the construction of another mosque in Taksim Square—once the site of the fiercest protests against Erdogan in his career—with all the style of the Ottoman era. Erdogan has even instructed that the national anthem be played on modified drums and brass instruments to make the music sound as if it were being played by bands of the Ottoman period. His purpose is to indoctrinate the public in a subliminal way to his perspective of the glorious Ottoman period.

Fourth, foreign policy assertiveness: Under Erdogan, Turkey has become increasingly assertive and forceful in the region. In Cyprus, he is determined to strike a deal largely on his terms. In Iraq, he placed Turkish troops over the objections of the Iraqi government to maintain his ruthless war against the Kurds. In Syria, he allowed thousands of foreign fighters, including many who have joined ISIS, to cross the border to strengthen the anti-Assad fight, while fighting the Syrian Kurds to prevent them from establishing their own autonomous rule, fearing that the Turkish Kurds would also demand autonomous rule of their own.

Erdogan further promoted the policy of “zero problem with neighbors,” and although presently Turkey has problems with just about every neighbor (and its prospective EU membership has completely diminished), he continues to claim that Turkey enjoys good relations internationally. Erdogan still uses Turkey’s membership in NATO as a sign of greatness; the fact that Turkey has the second-largest number of ground troops in  NATO reinforces his illusion that Ankara enjoys unrivaled military prowess in the region and commands the respect and attention of the international community that the Ottoman Empire was accorded.

Fifth, promoting Islam as a powerful tool: Erdogan is also using Sunni Islam to promote the country as a republic with Islamic ideals supported by a loyal state apparatus. He portrays himself as the leader of the Sunni world that would restore the Ottoman era of influence while cementing his authoritarian rule in the form of a neo-Sultan. To be sure, Erdogan is vigorously promoting – with the support of his party – Islamic nationalism systematically and meticulously. Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish analyst of politics and culture and author of the new book The Islamic Jesus says that “political propaganda is in your face every day, every single moment. If you turn on TV, if you open newspapers…”

Former Prime Minister Davutoglu said in 2015 that Turkey “will re-found the Ottoman state.” Although Davutoglu was fired, he—like most Turkish officials—depicts the government as the rightful heir of the Ottoman legacy. To that end, Erdogan uses Islam as the unifying theme that would propel Turkey to the greatness that the Ottoman Empire enjoyed. In fact, Turkish religious leaders have always thought of themselves as the standard-bearer of Islamic civilization, and though this failed with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to them it must now be corrected. As they would have it, “Turks once again should lead the ummah [Islamic community] as the new Ottomans.”

Sadly, Erdogan, who is still seen as a hero by nearly half of the Turkish population, is leading the country on a treacherous path. Turkey and its people have the resources, creativity, and institutions to make Turkey a significant power. Erdogan, who demonstrated an uncanny ability to harness his country’s natural and human resources, could have made Turkey such a power on the global stage. Indeed, he would have been the Atatürk of the new era had he simply continued with his historic reforms while protecting the rights of every individual and creating a real model of Islamic democracy.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire was largely precipitated, among other things, by its internal political decadence, the arbitrary exercising of power, and gross violations of human rights that dramatically eroded the foundation on which the empire was built.

In whichever form Erdogan wants to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, he will fail because no country can survive, let alone become great, as long as the government walks on the backs of the people and stifles their freedom to act, speak, and dream.

There is where the greatness of any nation rests and endures—the Ottoman Empire never provided a model worthy of such emulation.


Britain’s Lying Buffoon strikes again :Boris Johnson’s stance on Turkey death penalties angers stunned his EU foreign minister counterparts

It is a very rare thing to see Britain attending a meeting regarding the future of the European Union itself. I, surely, wrote about his hypocrisy  regarding Brexit promises why it will lead to cheaper immigration and labour from third countries when it occurred but all will depend on the negotiations with the other EU states. (read also Independent’s analyse here).

In December 2015, Boris Johnson said that  Mr Trump was “out of his mind” for suggesting a ban on Muslims entering the US. But as we leap forward to November 2016, and Mr Johnson’s words of welcome for a “positive” Trump presidency, it’s time to take a look back to look deeper to his positions regarding Turkey.

Even Boris Johnson’s Turkish cousin says the leader of the Brexit camp has turned into “such a Little Englander” he is no longer “being very honest about his views”.

Mr Johnson campaigned hard for Brexit during the European Union referendum campaign on the basis that Turkey was about to join the bloc and open up free movement with the UK.

Since his appointment to the Cabinet the former Mayor of London has said however clarified that he in fact supports Turkey joining the EU.

At a press conference alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, he said: “What I hope for is a jumbo free trade deal between the United Kingdom and Turkey,” adding: “We are leaving the EU, but we are not leaving Europe.”

  • Is he a bad joke or is he getting paid for his views?

According to RT.com, Boris  was attacked by other EU ministers after he warned that going too hard on Turkey’s potential introduction of the death penalty would alienate a key regional and NATO ally.

The facts:
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he aims to restore capital punishment in the wake of a coup attempt in July.
  • Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed the return of the death penalty this summer after he purged over 100,000 potential political opponents from the country’s civil service and arrested opposition political parties.
  • Tension have been running high between the EU and Turkey in recent months. On November 14, Erdogan accused Brussels of pressing Ankara to give up its bid to join the bloc.
  • Ankara began formal accession talks with the EU in 2005. In March 2016, the sides reached what appeared to be an historic deal, sealing a joint plan to tackle the migrant crisis.
  • Ankara promised it would assist the EU in dealing with the influx of refugees and migrants, in exchange for multibillion-euro funding as well as the potential facilitation of EU accession and visa-free travel within the Schengen zone for Turkish citizens.

The former London mayor was at a conference of foreign ministers in Brussels when he said that Turkey, which he called a key ally, should not be “pushed into a corner” over the death penalty.

We should not overreact in a way that is against our collective interests,” Johnson cautioned, according to the Times.

Diplomats told the paper that EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini “slapped him down” and said EU capital punishment rules would clearly rule out membership for a country which insisted upon the death penalty.

One diplomat described Mr Johnson’s intervention as “unbelievable”, according to The Financial Times newspaper.

HOWEVER, during the so “unreal and based on fake promises” campaign for Brexit when the Turkish Sultan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, took legal action against German satirist Jan Boehmermann for performing a poem insulting to the Turkish premier, Boris Johnson wrote a poem of his own.

The limerick read: “There was a young fellow from Ankara. Who was a terrific wankerer. Till he sowed his wild oats. With the help of a goat. But he didn’t even stop to thankera.”

After Prime Minister Theresa May surprised the diplomatic world by appointing Johnson Foreign Secretary in July, Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim said he needed to “make it up” with the Turks.

More significantly, though, Mr Johnson has several times changed his public stance on whether or not Turkey should join the EU.

During the referendum campaign, he repeatedly warned voters about the prospect of Turkey joining the EU – and the impact migration from the country could have on the UK. That was despite the fact he had previously said keeping Turkey out of the bloc “sent out the worst possible message to moderates in the Islamic world”.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told the BBC at the time: “May God help him and reform him.”

Since the referendum, however, Mr Johnson has changed his tone again.

In September 2016, he visited Turkey in search of a “jumbo trade deal”. During the trip, he called for “a new partnership” between the UK and Turkey, extolling the virtues of his “beautiful, very well functioning” Turkish washing machine.

He also said the UK would “help Turkey in any way” with its bid to join the EU.

  • Who is Boris Johnson?

Boris Johnson grandfather was half-Turkish and born Osman Kemal, later changing his name to Wilfred Johnson, due to anti-Turkish sentiment in England prior to the First World War. Otherwise Mr Johnson would be called Boris Kemal.His great-grandfather was a Turkish journalist and politician, Ali Kemal Bey, who was beaten to death by a baying mob after criticising the emerging nationalist movement of the 1920s.

Back in 2008 he told the Telegraph “It is interesting to look at how British I can feel and yet, actually, what a completely mongrel composition I really am.

“What it really teaches me is that our genes pulse down our lives and we don’t really know where they have come from and where they are going.

“Fundamentally, in the end it is all very democratic.”

Although UK’s Boris likes to adopt a caricature English toff persona, he is actually an American. Born in New York in 1964, until some years ago had American nationality.

Boris is a founder member of the Conservative Friends of Turkey Association and regularly uses and used his column on the Daily Telegraph to support the Turkish cause.