Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected as Turkey’s President in August of this year. In 2013 Istanbul and other cities were involved in a protest movement against Erdogan’s attempt to introduce laws based on the extremist sharia philosophy. He seeks to make Turkey a Muslim state. In doing so, is he welcoming the terrorist group ISIS?
Erdogan has been in power since 2002. August 2014 was the first direct presidential election; he will remain in power for at least five more years. It is widely believed that he used funds from the nation’s resources to wage his campaign. After his election, he spoke to his followers and promised to make the opposition ‘sorry.’
Turkey is considered a democracy; its population is very diverse in comparison to other nations in the region. Its total population is more than 75 million people. An estimated 70-75 percent are ethnic Turks; 18 percent are Kurds; the remainders include many minority groups including Georgians, Bosniaks, Armenians, Arabs, Jews and Greeks.
Turkey’s religions, although primarily Muslim, include Christians, and Jews. Attitude about religion is also variable. Only 40.8 percent think of themselves as religious, attempting to follow laws and requirements. 43.3 define themselves as believers who do not fulfill all of their religions obligations. Only 2.5 percent consider themselves entirely devout. 10.3 percent claim to have no religious affiliation. And 4.1 percent classify themselves as atheist.
Erdogan claims that he is a devout Muslim. Because of his religious beliefs, he instituted a program of austerity in the country’s economics and banking practices. Early in 2014, with the nation’s economy continuing to take a downward spiral, the banks voted to raise their repurchasing rate and also the interest rate.
In a recent speech, Ergogan said that Muslims could ‘handle their own problems,’ and that the western world only wants to be in the Mideast for its riches and cheap labor. He called for a unification of all Islamic Nations to solve the region’s problems. He claimed that the Western World pretends to be their friends, but they actually want them dead, adding that the west wants to see their children die as well. However, he has lobbied for assistance from the United States in the removal of Syria’s leader Assad, at the same time refusing to participate in the war against the terrorist group ISIS.
Erdogan frequently displays his infamous temper. In a 2011 speech he vehemently denounced Israel as a country who only knows one thing; ‘how to kill.’ While his motorcade was traveling through Istanbul he saw a statue of a Turk and Armenian in a face to face meeting. He called it an ‘abomination,’ and ordered the statue decapitated.
Ruling more like a dictator than an elected official. He has ordered the removal of certain newspapers from the country. He has banned twitter, and said he does not care what the rest of the world believes, he will show them the ‘power of the Turkish Republic.’ He also warned Facebook and YouTube that they must obey Turkish laws. Adhering to his personal beliefs, he said that ‘anyone who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic.’
He demonstrated his lack of respect for his own people in 2013. The last ‘green place’ in Istanbul was to be torn down to create room for new business. People from all levels of income, all religions, and diverse ethnicity filled Gezi Park and the adjoining Taksim Square. The protests turned into riots as Erdogan ordered water cannons and tear gas canisters to be used against the angry crowd. The protests turned towards other matters which had infuriated Istanbul’s citizens such as forbidding public displays of affection, attempts to restrict women wearing western clothing, and prohibiting the use of alcohol.
He referred to the protestors as ‘thugs and hooligans.’
It appears Erdogan would welcome a group which professes to follow the religion of Islam, but in reality is no more than misogynist men who wish to create a place where their rules are not questioned.
Will we see signs held up by ISIS reading ‘Turkey or Bust’ soon?
By James Turnage