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7 Ways Turkey's Erdogan Has Moved to Dictatorship

Image: 7 Ways Turkey's Erdogan Has Moved to Dictatorship
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (unseen) listens on, during a joint news conference, on November 13, 2015 in Istanbul. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 18 Jul 2016 01:52 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed nearly 9,000 members of the political and military establishment after a failed coup attempt on Friday, a move that has further consolidated his power and put the Western world on edge.

"A decade ago, Erdogan seemed to have found the magic formula to combine Western liberal democracy with Islamic faith," wrote the Bloomberg editorial board on Monday. "But in recent years, he has grown increasingly authoritarian."

Gathered below are seven ways in which Erdogan has moved Turkey toward a dictatorship.

1. He's taken on the military — The Turkish military, which Bloomberg describes as having a "secularist agenda," has always been a "natural enemy" to Erdogan, who has for decades aligned himself with the Islamists in Turkey. He was elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994 and was jailed in 1997 when the military forced the country's Islamist-led coalition government to resign. This jailing boosted his appeal among many supporters, and won him new ones.

2. He's taken a hardline stance against the Kurdish minorityAccording to The New York Times, Erdogan "has helped reignite war with Kurdish separatists in Turkey’s southeast, and hundreds of civilians have died in the fighting, which began last summer." The unrest has divided the nation, as well as hurt Turkey's tourism industry and the wider economy.

3. He's jailed his enemies and humiliated them — Dozens of alleged coup conspirators were stripped to their underwear, detained in horse stables, and photographed for the world to see over the weekend, CNN reported.

4. He's muzzled the media and dismissed his detractors — "The editor-in-chief of Turkey’s largest daily has fled the country, and another is on trial on charges of revealing state secrets," The New York Times reported in early July, before the coup attempt. "The president has grown intolerant of criticism, purging his oldest allies from his inner circle and replacing them with yes men and, in some cases, relatives." Roughly 1,800 journalists, politicians, and ordinary citizens have been charged with "insulting the president," according to The Times.

5. He's circumvented the people — "Erdogan is facing growing criticism for disrespecting people’s lifestyles and interfering in their personal choices," The New York Times wrote in 2013. "His government has drafted and passed bills without public consultation. A law on restricting alcohol sales was passed on May 24 in Parliament via a last-minute amendment. And then, two weeks later, again without public consultation, he began the demolition of a popular park as part of a controversial urban renewal plan for Taksim Square. The small-scale sit-in opposing the demolition morphed into mass nationwide public demonstrations after the police used excessive force against protesters."

6. He's moved his country toward isolation — Erdogan and his administration have alienated a great number of countries in the region and beyond. Turkish forces shot down a Russian fighter jet last year, he has made war against the Kurds, has been unable to contain ISIS terrorists in bordering Syria, and continues to have rocky relationship with Israel. Following the coup attempt, Turkey's membership in NATO has been questioned by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as Erdogan insinuated U.S. involvement in the coup attempt, and specifically blamed Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in Pennsylvania, of masterminding the plot. Furthermore, Turkey's potential membership in the European Union could be sunk if the death penalty is reinstated and applied to the coup conspirators.

7. He considered amending the Constitution to circumvent term limits — Erdogan served three terms as prime minster before becoming president, the maximum number of terms allowed by the Turkish constitution. In 2014, Reuters reported that, "there has been speculation the AKP would change its rules to enable Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, to stay on as prime minister for a fourth term and finish off a power struggle with an influential Islamic cleric he accuses of seeking to topple him." In the end, Erdogan ran for president rather than moving for a fourth term as prime minister.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed nearly 9,000 members of the political and military establishment after a failed coup attempt on Friday, a move that has further consolidated his power and put the Western world on edge.
turkey, erdogan, dictatorship, coup
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2016-52-18
Monday, 18 Jul 2016 01:52 PM
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