Turkey’s Machiavellian prince

In his famous work and”The Prince,and” Machiavelli, the founder of the and”ends justify the meansand” mentality, tells the prince that and”it is better to be feared than loved.and”
Our prince, or to express more accurately, sultan, should have learned these principles not from books, given his distaste for reading, but from the intricacies of political life. The leading alibi is the extensive use of the fear tactic in the run up to the Nov. 1 election.
Interestingly enough, instability and terrorist attacks increased in the country following the June 7 election, in which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its single-party government for the first time in 13 years. Following the twin suicide bombings in the heart of the capital Ankara, people, worried for their security, chose to vote for a strong single-party government, although stability without freedom does not matter much. Turkeyand’s choice of security over freedom must be evident from abroad as I heard similar comments in Washington, D.C., and New York last week.
Following the Nov. 1 election, despite the striking results, Turkey is being closely monitored due to its strategic location and fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The number one priority in the US, even with its reflection in the domestic presidential race, is ISIL. Unlike the relative indifference in Turkey, Americans are worried about possible attacks by home-grown ISIL terrorists. Otherwise, it would be naive to assume that who slaughters who in the Middle East would matter at the other end of the Atlantic Ocean. In other words, as always, realpolitik is at work and, when evaluating an issue, the question and”How does this influence our interests?and” remains valid.
In this respect, even though concerns over Turkeyand’s democratic nature are deeper than ever, the biggest aid of the democratic forces in Turkey is the Turks themselves, as long as it does not directly hurt Western interests. The leading media institutions, human rights organizations and official bodies do not shy away from calling the regime in Turkey a dictatorship. Of course, if I made such an argument in Turkey I would be in trouble. Even though the and”autocratand” in Turkey is elected, it is difficult to talk about democracy in an environment in which TV stations are shut down live on air and election campaigns are shadowed by an unfair race. The White House, in its post-election statement, did not congratulate the administration but the people for their participation in the election while referring to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europeand’s (OSCE)oncerns on fair elections. As a result, the AKP needs to save face and repair its international image. No wonder that it has hired lobbying and PR firms one after another. However, actions speak louder than words. The AKP has lost its democratic legitimacy in the West. Donand’t be fooled by German Chancellor Angela Merkeland’s visit to Turkey ahead of the election due to fears over the refugee influx. The interesting coincidence in the release of a former aide of Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was charged with espionage in Germany gave us an inkling of the anticipated negotiations of the visit.
In such a context, where the Zaman building was raided by the police again on Nov. 11 on a ridiculous pretext and with water cannons and even helicopters, the G-20 summit has turned into a test for Barack Obamaand’s administration to present to Erdogan the much needed legitimacy. The continuation of the media ban on critical newspapers and TV stations bothers Western participants, especially in the face of increasing pressure from media aocacy groups such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF). However, although media freedom matters, the red line for the US seems to be ISIL. Turkeyand’s failure to display the desired level of cooperation in the fight against ISIL is duly noted, especially while military-to-military cooperation has been on the rise.
The autocrat who chose to be feared over loved has a difficult task, even though people at home do not seem to care much about either media freedoms or the underestimated threat of ISIL. In that respect, one could even argue that, with the exception of a minority, the ever increasing pressure on critics of the regime and the relentless witch hunt within the state do not matter much.
There are some out there who are closely monitoring his actions even without making a noise.


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