Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Democracy More Dead

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, election, democracy, authoritarianism, ,

“Turkey’s democracy died today,” CNN headlined its report on yesterday’s national constitutional referendum. The measure contained 18 significant changes designed to further empower the country’s already seemingly all-powerful President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

CNN is behind the times. Turkey hasn’t been a real democracy for some time.

Even before last summer’s coup attempt, as Newsweek informed, President Erdogan launched “attacks on Turkish demonstrators, the press, the Turkish judiciary and police officials launching corruption investigation against him.”

Post-coup, the gloves really came off. Erdogan declared a state of emergency, firing or suspending over 125,000 government workers and arresting more than 40,000 citizens, including more than 100 journalists.

Freedom of the press no longer exists.

Considering the tight media controls, the barring of many opposition events and violent attacks on those campaigning against the change, “Many analysts were surprised by the close result,” noted the New York Times. The referendum passed only 51 to 49 percent, losing in the three largest cities: Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

Authorities changed the rules after voting had begun, sparking demands for a partial recount; accusations of election fraud abound. Nonetheless, President Erdogan has declared victory. The outcome is unlikely to be overturned.

Now, he’ll be able to appoint (without any legislative branch check) a majority of the nation’s highest court. He will also be able to issue decrees, previously forbidden.

Another huge change is re-setting the term limits clock. Now Erdogan may remain in power until 2029.

Before our eyes, Turkey has become an authoritarian nightmare. Such a regime cannot be counted as an ally. Yet, with the close vote, don’t count the Turkish people out.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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  1. Not So Free says:

    According to some sources, the “coup attempt” was a false flag instigated by Erdogan in order to crack down on his opposition.

  2. Pat says:

    I’m afraid I DO count the Turkish people out.   They voted for this man about fifteen years ago.   While there may be many ‘westernized’ Turks who desire good relations with the West, they are outnumbered by those who want Islamic rule.   Whether Americans want to admit it or not, Islamic rule is incompatible with democracy.   The two cannot co-exist, except in a society that is 100% Muslim, and even then there are no guarantees.    Too bad there is no means to expel a NATO member.   Regardless of what the people think, the Turkish government is not on the side of freedom and its membership in NATO may prove to be a security risk.   The days when it was a bulwark against Soviet expansion are long gone.

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