The end of ErdoIan’s path?

With some shred of prudence, it was possible to see the course of action was wrong. Even the voting results last year at the UN General Assembly for the Security Council membership of Turkey were sufficient to conclude that the right path had been abandoned.

Turkey used to be a country where major reforms were introduced for democratization and the rule of law, relations with the Middle Eastern countries were enhanced and where ties with the West, as well as Asia, A

With some shred of prudence, it was possible to see the course of action was wrong. Even the voting results last year at the UN General Assembly for the Security Council membership of Turkey were sufficient to conclude that the right path had been abandoned.

Turkey used to be a country where major reforms were introduced for democratization and the rule of law, relations with the Middle Eastern countries were enhanced and where ties with the West, as well as Asia, Africa and Russia, were improved. The international media was praising Turkeyand#39s performance.

When Turkey declared its candidacy for membership of the Security Council in 2008, when it was regarded as a rising star in the world, 151 member states supported its membership. Of course, it was impossible to achieve something great in a temporary membership role in a clumsy structure that reflects the imbalances of the old world.

However, the huge support diverse members of the UN extended to Turkeyand#39s candidacy was an international approval of Turkeyand#39s choices back then.

In 2014, Turkey once again wanted to become member of the UN Security Council.

Despite the fact that we were the same country and were governed by the same administration, the voting results were a huge defeat. Turkey was not picked and the number of votes in favor of its membership only reached 60 because even though the rulers of the country were the same, their path and style in domestic and foreign policy had changed significantly they no longer relied on the rule of law and had adopted a more aenturous policy.

The same party and team was in power in the country. Therefore, the criticisms raised by those who previously applauded its policies were about what the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was doing, not about Turkey.

Further calamities could have been prevented if some lessons had been drawn from that outcome. But President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, instead of doing the right things to get back on the right track, preferred relying on conspiracy theories suggesting that he and his party were victims.

Under the influence of a group of aides holding fantastic ideas and views, ErdoIan viewed the Gezi protests and the Dec. 17 and 25 corruption investigations as international coup attempts.

Former President Abdullah Ganduumll and Deputy Prime Minister Banduumllent ArInandccedil referred to this approach as a andldquothird-worldandrdquo mentality but their opposition was not influential. The allegation that there was an international plot against the government was further backed by lies and false claims that then-US Ambassador to Turkey Francis J Ricciardone said following Dec.

17 that the world was witnessing the fall of an empire.

In the meantime, Turkey is receiving additional bad signals.

Many international institutions or media figures which supported ErdoIan up until recently have underlined that this path is not going anywhere. In a declaration they published last week, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari — who used to be an ardent support of the AKP administration — former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard and former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino stated that Turkey is no longer the rising star of the region, that there are major problems in terms of media freedom and the rule of law, that ErdoIan has developed authoritarian tendencies and that Turkey is failing to meet the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership.

A recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), which plays an important role in the US with its balanced analyses and bipartisan stance, confirms this: andldquoRising authoritarianism, restrictions on journalists and the media, and rising claims of institutional corruption all threaten the economic balance that has been created over the past ten-plus years. andhellip The lamentable state of freedom of speech and expression was made clear when the Turkish government banned Twitter and YouTube and, more recently, when the government arrested dozens of media personnel in December 2014.

These attacks on freedom of speech, judicial independence, and rule of law also have economic consequences, striking at the heart of the political and economic stability that have formed the base of ErdoIanand#39s political support.andrdquo

Not only the Western world is making such warnings.

Unfortunately, I have heard similar remarks in Middle Eastern capitals in my recent visits and encounters. Those who love Turkey and want its success are warning that the current course of action is not the right path.

I wonder if anybody hears these calls.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman