PNA - Racep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has won three successive elections in Turkey. Its electoral support has doubled to almost 20 million and 47% of the vote.
This is against the background of a booming economy in Turkey in contrast to recession elsewhere in the world and Erdoğan has embarked on some social reform. But although he speaks of a mission of stability for Turkey its real future is bleak and uncertain for one key reason: the Kurdish issue remains unresolved. It is still on the table without tangible progress, and the fighting continues between the PKK and the state. The Turkish prime minister has become the champion of the Palestinian cause and ‘a player’ on the issue of Syria’s future. But at home he still relies on the army to fight the PKK. The man is a lion outside his country but he is a fox in his homeland.
Erdoğan’s model is supposed to combine modernisation, prosperity and Islam. But there is a huge gap between the rhetoric and the reality. How can it be possible for Turkey to show much admiration and concern for the Palestinians while it kills and suppresses 24 million Kurds in the south of Turkey who are asking for basic human rights and dignity? I have no answer other than to say that this is a display of hypocrisy. They are hunting the PKK’s fighters from valley to valley and from mountain to mountain in the south of Turkey; this large country with its long history cannot meet the basic demands of all its population.
When you visit Diyarbakir or other Kurdish cities in the North of Kurdistan you feel you are walking in a colonised country. To me, Turkey is still ruled by the generals. It is going through a shaky democratic experience. According to the International Press Institute, there are now considerably more journalists in prison in Turkey than in China. Turkey still exudes a climate of fear. Erdoğan’s attempt to change the constitution is really about his desire to remove the clause that prevents prime ministers from holding office for more than three terms.
Western countries realise that Erdoğan’s Turkey is very difficult to deal with, especially following the break-up of its relationship with Israel over the Palestinian issue. And the US will not easily forget the Turkish parliament’s refusal to allow US forces to cross into Iraq from Turkey in 2003.
Turkey is coming out of the western club and getting closer to the autocrats in the Middle East. An Iranian diplomat told the Iranian new agency that Turkey’s call for a doubling of the trade relationship between Turkey and Iran should be accompanied by more political agreement as well .
Turkey has been digging its own grave on two fronts - with Israel and the PKK. First Israel refused to apologise for what happened when the aid flotilla attempted to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, leaving nine Turks dead in the fighting. Second, the PKK is every day getting stronger and it is obvious that Turkey cannot defeat the PKK militarily.
Turkey’s hypocritical prime minister recognises Bosnia as an independent state but refuses to grant basic democratic and human rights to all of his people. Turkey showed further hypocrisy over Libya – opposing French and UK intervention but at the same time hailing the Libyan revolution, even though it accepted a ‘human right prize’ from Gaddafi less than two years ago. The western world knows very well that the attitudes of Erdoğan’s Turkey are not compatible with EU membership.Turkey cannot be admitted to EU membership while treating its Kurds so badly. The ‘Turkish model’ is nothing other than hypocrisy.
By Mufid Abdulla