Slipping Into Darkness Thanks to Fethullah Gulen
Erdogan eliminated the military before they could eliminate him. The re-Islamization of Turkey is the result.
Turkey is preparing to hold a referendum next month on key constitutional changes that will grant its Islamist prime minister unrivalled power in a country traditionally dominated by the military.
Parliament finished a debate Thursday on the constitutional package, which marks the culmination of a seven year drive by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. the prime minister, to make the democratically elected government Turkey’s most powerful institution.
Mr Erdogan used his AK Party’s majority to pass a set of 27 amendments over the opposition of the country’s minority parties. Antagonism between the factions escalated during the debate and three politicians, including the Trade Minister and a Kurdish leader, suffered facial injuries in attacks.
President Abdullah Gul is expected to trigger the referendum within two weeks.
- Caliph Erdogan
- Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP set for victory as violence mars local elections in Turkey
- Turkish president’s message – Jul 10, 1939
- Erdogan: Hey, let’s restore the might of the Ottoman Empire …
- Turkey’s Islamic Ambitions Grip Austria [Video]
Analysts said that the era of untrammelled military power and extensive interference in the political system by the judiciary would be consigned to the past by the vote.
The measures would allow parliament to select high court judges for the first time and impose a disciplinary system that would facilitate the removal of currently unsackable judges.
The judiciary’s wide-ranging ability to shut down political parties, a power used in the past against Mr Erdogan’s party and others, would also be curtailed.
Few expect Mr Erdogan to lose the referendum. But the vote is expected to bring about a realignment of Turkish politics as nationalist and republican politicans seek to rejuvenate the lacklustre opposition.
Mr Erdogan, who has led Turkey since 2003, has been accused of diluting the secular protections offered to citizens and tilting the country away from the Nato alliance towards the Middle East and Central Asia.
At the forefront of the new challengers to AK Party dominance is Mustafa SarigÃ¼l, leader of the popular Change movement and currently mayor of Istanbul’s leading borough, Sisili. “Turkey has shifted to the East and is moving further away from the democractic countries of the Euro-Atlantic region. It is drifting away from the principle of individual rights,” Mr Sarigul said. “We need a new kind of politics that provides a different vision to that of the AK Party.”
Yet like the three traditional opposition parties in parliament, Mr Sarigul intends to campaign against the constitutional referendum.
He warned of the dangers of the reforms and said an entirely new constitution is needed to ensure democracy is protected in Turkey.
“We certain believe that the military and judiciary should be out of politics but the current constitution was drawn up after a military coup and bears its shadow. The changes therefore grant too much power to the party in power,” he said.