Monday, April 17, 2017

Thoughts on Turkey’s Turn

Over at his blog, Dani Rodrick is making a point about the latest from Turkey that is about center-mass for many of us who once had a sliver of hope that they would be wrong about Turkey’s drift;
I don’t write a lot on Turkey these days. … It’s partly because the subject is too depressing: try hard as I might, I really cannot find a good scenario developing over the years ahead.
I think of the many good Turkish officers I served with and their families. Culturally, they were modern, forward looking people almost as Western as I am. Sadly, history does not seem to be going in their direction.

Ataturk, one of the great men of the 20th Century, knew the problem and did what he could to push it back. The modernizers of the last few decades lost their spine … and so they will lose their secular and sporadically advancing republic, as imperfect as it was.

This seems reasonable;
Had he won the referendum with a comfortable margin, we might have consoled ourselves by thinking that the country would be moving into a calmer period. Erdogan might then have chosen to contest the next election for executive president – which will happen in 2019 latest -- as a unifier. But he lost all the major cities and may have needed some last minute skullduggery for the constitutional change to pass. So I do not see Erdogan easing up on his divisive rhetoric and policies anytime soon. 
Asked to predict Turkey’s future by a Turkish newspaper a while back, I said the country would end up looking like Malaysia at best and Afghanistan at worst. A liberal, secular path, with tolerance for diversity, civil liberties, and free speech no longer seems in the cards. That is still pretty much my prognosis.
Not a good day for anyone, but who lost Turkey? No one to blame but the Turks.

No comments: