What Ive witnessed in Turkey is an assault on democracy itself | Owen Jones

Erdoan, emboldened by the rise of Trump, is humbling shaky openness tens of thousands detained and the press muzzled. The west must end its silence

Democracy is a parcel of rights and freedoms fought from the powerful. Our governors only cede their influence when compelled to when the cost of withstanding pres from below becomes greater than the cost of paying foot to it.

But it is naive to relation these concessions as permanent. Nobilities are always waiting for opportunities to hijack back their influence. The ideal excuse is a national crisis, plotted or otherwise , usually committing us-led coalition forces of internal and external threats, all expecting drastic various measures to demolish. The tyrannical rightwing populism sweeping the Western life skilfully exploits panic to drive back the borders of democracy.

Turkeys regime is fast languishing into outright totalitarianism, emboldened by the imminent ascending of Donald Trump to the most powerful posture on Earth. I expended last week with Turkeys beleaguered opposition political parties, newspapers and activists. Their daring is energize, their plight distressing.

Last July an attempted military takeover failed to topples the tyrannical president, Recep Tayyip Erdoan. The resentment was quick. As Human Rights Watch reported, the regime took advantage of the moment to crack down on human rights and dismantle fundamental democratic precautions. More than 120,000 Turks have been sacked, practically 90,000 detained, and more than 40,000 have been arrested, 144 of them journalists. Turkey is a world leader in jailing media workers, with some 160 shops closed.

So how did thoughts deteriorate so badly? Erdoans Justice and Development party( AKP) was, for many years, in alliance with a secretive progress led by the US-based cleric Fethullah Glen. The Glenists infiltrated often of the Turkish government, including the army, police and education system .. It was, in part, a marriage of convenience: both sought to drive out authoritarian elements that defended Islamism. But the means were, from a democratic attitude, dubious.

In 2013 the two sides fell out, and Turkeys governors alleged the Glenists of storying the failed takeover. But this attack has been used to suppress a secular opposition that had not yet been association with Glenism whatsoever. There ought to have clampdowns on the media and basic democratic freedoms, center even more influence in the pass of the regime.

Ahmet Sik is a foremost Turkish investigative writer who would fearlessly challenge approval. In his journal The Imams Army, Sik disclosed how Glenism infiltrated everything from members of the judiciary to the security services, improving a parallel government. Ahmet knew it had heavy hazards, a pal alleges, but he went onward and publicized the book.

Sik was incarcerated in 2011, and his journal was banned. Even when he was liberated, he refused to be silenced: he said the AKP and the underground fright group FET, allegedly affiliated to Glen, were working in hand in glove. His sidekicks called him a superstar, a label he resented. Its only that everyone else is silent that I look like a superstar, he said.

Turkeys current justice minister has admired Glen as a great Islamic scholar. But in 2013 Sik disclosed a full-scale war between national governments and the Glenists. And after the failed takeover, Sik refused to stop disclosing the AKPs past associations with the Glenists. If the latter are blaming FET for the takeover, as his pal gives it, then the AKP were partly responsible because they had worked together for so long.

Last month Sik was arrested for spreading terrorist hype on social media, and not just on behalf of FET he was also accused of backing the PKK, which fights for Kurdish national self-determination and is diametrically opposed to Glenism. So a writer persecuted for disclosing regiman associated with Glenism was locked up on accusations of being in league with Glenists.

I inspected the newspaper Cumhuriyet, whose office is currently in the shadow of Trump Towers Istanbul. So many of its journalists have been arrested, it is on a skeleton staff. Likewise, 189 journalists ought to have physically or verbally abused, and hundreds have had their press cards confiscated in fact restricting them from their chore. And opposition papers are being commercially suffocated, with advertisers stressed to withdraw.

Then theres the foe: members of the leftist HDP have faced mass stoppages, departments attacks and the allegations of terrorist associations. The secular centre-left CHP told me: We represent western ethics, but the west has abandoned us.

Journalists and civil alike have been rounded down for the crime of insolent President Erdoan. Perhaps in solidarity the people of the world should start his specify the ultimate offend. As he cows foe, the president now intends to rig the constitution to grant himself even more sweeping powers.

The west is largely silent. And Erdoan is triumphalist. Last July Trump admired Erdoan for shifting it around after the attempted takeover. And Erdoan cheered Trumps car-crash news conference last week: Trump, who told a CNN reporter that the organisation he worked for produced phony word, had according to Erdoan articulated the reporter in his lieu because media organisations such as CNN undermine national unity.

Turkeys shaky republic is being bled to demise. It is dusk for republic in Poland and Hungary too, as <a href=”https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/18/the-guardian-view-on-polands-turn-to-the-right-europe-is-correct-to-be-concerned” title=”” data-link-name=”in” body link” class=”u-underline”>populist rightwing governments keep the superficial trappings of republic for figures sake but hollow it out in practice. Now that the demagogue Trump is about to become “the worlds” most powerful boy, the authoritarians accept biography is on their side.

Turkey is a urge: republic is prized but shaky. It accentuates how rights and freedoms are often won at great cost and sacrifice but can be deprived apart by regimen manipulating national catastrophes. The peril is that Turkey wont be an exception, but a template to seeing how to purge countries around republic. That is intellect enough to stand by Turkey. Who knows which country could be next?

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ commentisfree/ 2017/ jan/ 18/ turkey-democracy-erdogan-trump-authoritarians

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