14 April 2014, 22:50

Why would former Turkey’s allies turn against Erdogan?

Why would former Turkey’s allies turn against Erdogan?
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan is coming under increasing pressure not only from the opposition inside the country, but from his former international allies as well. Why would Turkey’s NATO partners turn against their former ally? And – what shall they do if he wins the coming Presidential election? Voice of Russia is discussing the issue with Erkan Saka, independent political analyst, based with Bilgi University in Turkey, and Dr. Halil M. Karaveli, a Senior Fellow with the Turkey Initiative at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center.

Last Thursday the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations adopted a resolution, calling "to remember and observe the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2014".

Friday the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the committee had acted beyond its position, competence and responsibility by adopting a "hastily and ineptly prepared" draft resolution. Ankara also warned the Congress against taking steps that would harm Turkish-American ties.

That same day Turkey's constitutional court annulled sections of a new law aimed at expanding the government's control over the judiciary. The court ruled that the controversial clause, giving the justice ministry greater control over the appointment of prosecutors and judges, was unconstitutional.

Erkan Saka:

The new balance of power began with the referendum a few years ago and the judiciary lost most of its independence. The government tries to intensively regulate the judiciary establishment. And I believe that apart from the Constitutional Court there is nothing left from the previous balance of power or independence of powers.

There are signs of real opposition and I believe in the local elections he can lose some of the major cities. But it seems that domestically the state now belongs to him in a way. And we do really believe that there was election corruption in Ankara, for instance, the capital city, and nothing happened. So, we cannot really objectively evaluate the results of elections, but for the moment he believes he is the victor and the state establishment, from colleagues to the military forces, to the judiciary all obey his regime.

So, domestically I don’t see opposition really shaping the public agenda near soon. But you never know. We never expected the Gezi rebellion before. There are signs of a broader social opposition, but I don’t know when that will realize into something.

Dr. Halil M. Karaveli:

The foreign governments are expressing their displeasure with the way he behaves and that is not at all surprising since what has been going on in Turkey last summer.

I’m less sure what impact those international actions or statements have on Erdogan’s own behavior. I think that from his point of view it might serve his purposes, since he is busy mobilizing his conservative base by conjuring the picture of an international conspiracy against him and Turkey.

So, when the Western governments – the US and others – speak in the way they do or pass resolutions, that only confirms the image and the perception that Erdogan wants to convey to his own electorate.

I think that what has been a turning point from the point of view of the US is the way Turkey has acted in Syria. Turkey has proven it is not a reliable ally, it has been assisting all kinds of nasty groups in Syria. And lately there’ve been accusations made that Turkey has acted in Syria in order to precipitate a US intervention there.

And what they are hoping for, I think the US and others are hoping that he will fall from power. Looking from the outside, it doesn’t seem that there is much they can do, although we cannot be sure that things are not happening at deeper levels.

We don’t know of the intelligence operations, of the wiretapping of Erdogan. And all signs suggest that he’s been wiretapped by his enemies – the Gulenist forces, but there might also be a foreign dimension to this.

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