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The future of political stability in Turkey

TR_ISTA - 06.01.2014 09:21:40

In the last 10 years Turkey was one of the most stable countries in the region. All credit should be given to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the political stability.
There were key policies which Erdoğan successfully implemented to bring political about stability. First, he reformed Turkey's undemocratic rules and regulations and worked hard to make Turkey a candidate country for the EU, which in turn brought political stability.

Second, he established successful coalitions with social groups from different walks of life. Liberals, conservatives and even some socialists supported Erdoğan against the old establishment. Thus he successfully established a broad coalition that brought political stability to the country.

Third, the AKP government successfully managed the economy, attracting foreign direct investment, especially big investors from the Gulf region which brought stability to economy, which in turn brought political stability.

Ten years later, however, what Erdoğan has been doing is the exact opposite of what he has done in the last decade. He has forgotten about the EU reforms. In fact, he thinks that the EU and the West are plotting against his government. Furthermore, he is proposing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) instead of the EU. He is closer to Vladimir Putin than to Barack Obama. He thinks that the EU reforms are obstacles before him. It seems that he regrets reforming the judicial system which gave prosecutors relative independence. He is now trying to overturn those judicial reforms.

Furthermore, the EU reforms demand transparency, rule of law and fight against corruption. However, Erdoğan's ministers are allegedly involved in corruption. His minsters had allegedly taken bribes from a shadowy Iranian businessman. Erdoğan calls this “businessman” a benevolent person. His son had met with Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman who is allegedly financing al-Qaeda, which is why the EU and the UN froze his assets for a long time. He is still on the US's terrorist list for financing terrorism. Erdoğan is still supporting this person and his son's relations with Qadi.

As Erdoğan and his government distance Turkey from the EU, political stability is negatively affected. Who would come to Turkey to invest when the Erdoğan government is directly targeting businessmen? Just last week, the Erdoğan government halted the activities of two successful mines just because the owner of the mines did not take Erdoğan's side during in a recent disagreement between the Fethullah Gülen movement and Erdoğan.

Unlike his early years, Erdoğan is no longer seeking to unite various segments of society. Worse, he is trying hard to break up the groups and individuals who long supported him. Mehmet Altan is a prime example of this. Professor Altan is a well-known liberal figure who supported the Erdoğan government for a long time. However, Erdoğan targets liberals when they urge him to conduct more reforms for the EU and the democratization of the country. Later, Erdoğan also targeted conservative groups, accusing them of being part of an international plot against his government. Moreover, he criminalizes the Gülen movement and threatens to punish them just because the movement no longer supports him.

In terms of economic stability, the Erdoğan government seems to be crossing a fine line between bringing in foreign direct investment (FDI) and black market money to launder in Turkey. International political observers are closely monitoring Turkey for alleged money laundering activities. This would harm the transparency of the Turkish economy, which in turn harms the political stability of the country.

All in all, 10 years ago Erdoğan's secret to success was to bring political stability to Turkey. Ten years later, what Erdoğan is doing has become the reason for the political instability in Turkey.

The future of the country's political stability is closely related to Erdoğan's nonsensical policy preferences and his ability to implement them…

EMRE USLU (Cihan/Today's Zaman)

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