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Warning to US: Erdogan Has Used Same Techniques as Trump to De-Democratize Turkey


Warning to US: Erdogan Has Used Same Techniques as Trump to De-Democratize Turkey

Juan Cole

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, began his legitimate political career at the turn of this century with a push for more political pluralism in a Turkey that had long been dominated by an elite, secular military.


Unfortunately, the people who need to read this article would look at a globe*, not see a country shaped like their Thanksgiving bird, and declare that there is no such country as Turkey. They are also quite comfortable being drummed up into a state of fascist fury. Additionally, they vote and procreate.

*Theoretically speaking; of course they would never go to such a drastic measure.


I thought it was slang for the town in Alaska called Chicken.


Yes, the trend toward authoritarian forms of government that nonetheless have legitimate elections which seem to then ratify the authoritarian is indeed very disturbing - Sisi, Erdogan, Putin, Ortega, Orban, the Polish Law and Justice Party, Duterte and maybe soon, Trump. We can add Netanyahu/Likud Party to this list of authoritarians too.

Some of it is simply populist demagogery, or the roadblocks the authoritarians put in the way of effective opponents running in their elections. The other problems is simply the republic forms of government with an overly powerful chief executive as head of state.

But the most disturbing reason might be that the methods of propaganda and control of the minds of a majority of a nations people (through Bernays propaganda theory) - supercharged by modern internet utilities like Twitter and facebook - has reached a level of sophistication and effectiveness that dictators can simply engineer their popularity among the masses, so that absolute rule is no longer needed.


Thank you, Juan.
My suspicion is there’s a back-channel worldwide cabal of strongman authoritarians such as Trump, Erdogan, Duterte, Putin, El Sisi, the Saudi prince, Singapore/China, etc. and others who are allied with corporate fascists like the Kochs to set up a worldwide fascist state.
They sometimes bleed over into collusion with the neoliberal globalists.
Their goal is to turn the planet into a technoindustrial slave plantation in which there’s rigid vertical power structure with a tiny fraction of the earth’s population owning most of its wealth, and controlling the peasants–us.


You are absolutely correct. See my comment below.


It is pretty obvious Trump’s goal is to go down something like the route followed by Erdogan. Trump is not only aligned with the religious right but also with the libertarians supported by the Koch brothers, Walton family, etc. Trump has a large populous white nationalist backing. So far the democratic institutions in the US are holding up including the free press and the courts. But Trump and the Republicans keep chipping away. The US is becoming more and more divided divided between large metropolitan areas and more rural areas, with the former heading left and latter heading right. There is certainly still time to head off the fate of Turkey but this period to transition back to normality will not last forever.


Do you live in a democracy if your only choice is to vote every few years for your next oppressor?

The definition of democracy has been so bastardized that real democracy is only an illusion.

Democracy (definition)

– A government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

– A state having such a form of government:

– A state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
Source: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/democracy?s=t

It is my belief that the ONLY real democracy is Direct Democracy.


I don’t think that Prof. Cole is exaggerating even a little here. We should take seriously what he is saying here. It could happen!


To most of them, the globe is the glass thing which protects the front porch light bulb.


From a hollow democracy to an infested autocracy?


We are experiencing a rise of ultra right policies that will be confirmed by all the conservative judges appointed from lists compiled by the most conservative corporate friendly organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and the like. The trashing of civil rights fought for over the last 60 years can vanish overnight many already have. Democracy is a hollow saying and has been for a ling time. This is a plutocracy where the wealthy make policy, the people have no say what-so-ever. We are used for our votes and immediately forgotten about after the election. Remember hopey, changy Obama, yeah, no hope no change. Same with MAGA, what’s so great these days. Yep, nada.


It sure could. I don’t really understand the strong appeal of authoritarianism but it seems every country has people who want that type of government. Erdogan got over the half the votes cast for president, avoiding a runoff. Putin has done very well in elections and so have authoritarians in Italy, Poland, and Hungary. Even in France it took a coalition to stop the right wing nationalists from winning. There seems to be a willingness to trust one person to rule rather than a real sharing of power between a president and a legislature.


I think that especially in times of uncertainty that some people strongly want some certainty in thinking and planning that they can adapt to. That is what the authoritarians offer. Simple, black and white certain thinking and plans, no ambiguity. With the plan in place, shitty as it may be, they have something certain to adapt to. They have the anointed authorities that can settle discussions and disagreements. I think that the actual plan is far less important to them than that it is basically black and white and unchanging, with agreed on authorities to settle disagreements.


Chicken was named chicken because they couldn’t spell ptarmigan.