Much of the news today is incomplete; failing to offer information to the public which prevents a presentation of the truth. Such is the case of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Most of the stories about him begin with last year’s controversial failed coup.
While Erdogan was out of the nation, some military officers staged a rebellion, which was quickly defeated when the president returned. Some, including myself, believe that the coup was staged by Erdogan, allowing him to consolidate power. Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens have been placed in prison.
But the truth is that this did not begin in 2016.
In May, of 2103, the residents of Istanbul learned that the ‘last vestige of greenery’ in the city would be demolished and replaced by a business park. The people of Istanbul are diverse. Although the majority are Muslims, nearly every ethnicity, every nationality, and every religion is represented in this truly cosmopolitan city. Gezi Park became a symbol. Soon hundreds of protesters arrived. The number rose to thousands and spread into Taksim Square.
History shows us that it is often one small issue which creates a revolution; this was Gezi Park.
Erdogan attempted to remove much of the nation’s democracy. He ordered the women of Turkey to reject western clothing, and wear the burka. Alcohol consumption was forbidden, as well as displays of public affection; all part of sharia law. The protests lasted for nearly a week as they spread throughout the nation.
In April of 2017, Erdogan won his reelection bid in an atmosphere of controversy. Thousands protested that the votes were not fairly tabulated. Since that day, Erdogan has increased his efforts to consolidate all power into the control of the president. He claims that the situation will continue until his nation attains a state of ‘welfare and peace.’
Since the failed coup, Erdogan has jailed more than 40,000 individuals accused of planning the coup; fired or suspended an additional 140,000; shut down nearly 1,500 civil groups; jailed 120 journalists; and shut down 150 social media outlets.
Turkey is a member of NATO, but Erdogan has aligned himself with the twisted beliefs of ISIS. Erdogan is upset with the United States for directly arming the Kurds in northeastern Turkey.
Before he left for his trip, Trump welcomed Erdogan to the Oval Office. During his visit, guards outside of the home of the Turkish ambassador brutally attacked protesters; injuring at least 14 people. John McCain announced that he believed that the Turkish Ambassador should be exiled from our country.
Throughout our 240 years as a nation, our leaders have supported a few dictators for a single purpose; to protect American interests. Our government’s penchant for imperialism has been the root of multiple Muslim uprisings in the Middle East and elsewhere.
What will happen with Erdogan and the people of Turkey is unknown, but the people of Turkey and their relationship with their president remains tenuous at best.
by James Turnage
Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey
Follow me on twitter; @jamesturnagenov