From catastrophe springs opportunity. The catastrophic attempted military coup in Turkey killed more than 300 people and left more than 2000 injured, but it gave its alleged target, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the opportunity of his lifetime to seize totalitarian powers.
In the aftermath of the so-called coup, which a government security chief bragged he had penetrated and defeated by sending coup plotters into action pre-maturely and then crushing them, Erdogan and his AK party have sent tens of thousands of supposed coup sympathizers to prison and tossed more than 100,000 allegedly “disloyal” public employees out of their jobs.
Erdogan’s iron fist has specifically targeted journalists and media executives and both politicians and civilians of the Kurdish minority.
Now, he’s pushed through Parliament a Constitutional re-organization that shifts power and responsibility from the legislature to, well, him, the President, if not for life, than at least for the next dozen years.
There is a final step for Erdogan’s march to self-entitled tyranny, a national referendum almost certain to be held in April.
Polls indicate the vote could be close, largely because something close to a majority of Turks say they mistrust the pile of powers the President has awarded himself should the referendum pass.
But, there are a variety of polls and they disagree on who would win were the vote held today. But the vote is a couple of months off, and virtually all the established outlets of the traditional news media, print, radio and TV are being counted on by President Erdogan to support him. His confidence is based on the fact that most opposition media institutions are closed, and most of what President Trump’s belligerent Strategic Advisor Steve Bannon would call “opposition journalists” are where he’d would probably love to out ‘em: –in jail.
The government’s control of the media is just one of 4 reasons why our guest today, Turkish-American journalist and scholar Pinar Tremblay of the online newsmagazine Al-Monitor thinks the triumph of Erdogan, the AK Party and tyranny in Turkey may be unstoppable.
Pinar Tremblay is a columnist for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse and a visiting scholar of political science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is a columnist for Turkish news outlet T24. Her articles have appeared in Time, New America, Hurriyet Daily News, Today’s Zaman, and other Turkish news outlets.