True facts about governance in Turkey comes to light through the unrest that started in Taksim Square and expanded in other major cities. No matter how much Ankara may want to enter the European Union or belong to the “West”, the way this situation was managed by the government revealed the inability of using democratic methods to solve interior crises.
Regarding the huge amounts of tear gas and the brutality used to suppress the protesters, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan does not seem willing to show any compunction about the violence towards the gathered people. Expressing his prospects and decisions about this situation can confuse and might be considered by the listener as an authoritarian leader. He sounds like a politician and a man who does not accept an opinion different than his. Due to these characteristics, his profile is similar to some dictators (without implying that he is one), rather than to European leaders.
Number one in imprisoned journalists, manipulation of media, a considerable number of unsolved issues with neighbors and minorities, refusal to recognize many genocides, four coups d’etat since 1960 (including the 1997 military memorandum, characterized also as a “postmodern coup”), and now, a hardcore suppression of the people protesting against a pertinacious Prime Minister who is planning on tightening alcohol rules and forbidding public display of affection, the political system and governance in Turkey tries to find a way into the European Union.
However, the most dangerous move of the Turkish PM is not his refusal to apologize for the excessive use of violence and the lack of any conversation with the protesters. What could make him look like a leader of previous centuries with a total ignorance of the term “diplomacy” is his indirect (at least until the moment this article was published) call of his supporters to react to the Taksim Square movement. “There is an end to our patience” Erdogan said, with rage in his voice, in front of a crowd that was chanting its will to die for him. Such words, to such an audience, are far from helpful for this social unrest and could lead to clashes between masses of the people, to an uprising and of course to situations beyond any control.
Prime Minister Erdogan should think twice. His intransigence and hence a socially and politically unstable Turkey, will not be only a national issue, but also a major risk for Turkey’s allies during this period of turmoil in the Middle East, and many steps back regarding the country’s aims to come closer to the European Union.