How the West tries to smear Turkey’s leadership as ‘populism’ - YASIN AKTAY

How the West tries to smear Turkey’s leadership as ‘populism’

Who is going to shed a tear if something were to happen to Turkey's democracy? We had said that the answer to this question is directly related to Turkey's perpetuity problem. We also know that those criticizing Turkey in terms of democracy are very talented at shaping all criteria of democracy according to their own whims and wishes. We did see after all that they resented even a day of mourning after a rare democracy was lost in the Islamic world. They almost started dancing against the likelihood of a coup in Turkey or the actual coup in Egypt, let alone mourn it.

At a time when coup-plotter Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who radically destroyed whatever there is in the name of democracy and human rights in our day and age, murdered nine young men through state power and execution, all the EU's leaders posed with him and collectively awarded him. None of the European Union leaders and Arab League leaders that gathered at the summit hosted by al-Sisi in Sharm el-Sheikh warned him about the innocent people he recently murdered, or the inhumane, harsh tortures faced by the tens of thousands of people he is keeping in dungeons extra judicially and without any questioning.

They did not even make a reminder to him in the name of human rights and democracy. On the contrary, Sisi made a concise speech to them on how "Egypt's unique conditions can offer rightful reasons to slaughter humanity where necessary," and they listened to him and applauded as if charmed.

It makes one think if ancient Egypt's bewitching tradition revived and EU leaders were charmed by witchery of Pharaoh’s famous sorcerers. Yet, I am afraid the situation was much beyond this. We could possibly talk about voluntarily being charmed. And the voluntarism could be related to financial or ideological interests.

Unfortunately, it is dictators like Sisi and the way they treat their people that Europeans see the Islamic world worthy of. Hence, they do not even feel the need to criticize him in terms of either democracy or human rights. Therefore, even though we do not like to admit it, the sad truth we always encounter is that it’s futile to expect any good to come from Europe in terms of developing our own democracy, or a humane administration and life quality that our people deserve. Our people deserve to live like humans, and it is our responsibility to strive to ensure this.

Bethan McKernan and Gökçe Saraçoğlu co-wrote an article for the U.K.'s famous leftist liberal daily The Guardian on March 11, with the headline, "From reformer to 'New Sultan': Erdoğan's populist evolution." The article that brands President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's story with Europe's known neo-orientalist mindset as populism, and of course, a shift to dictatorship-autocracy, is a typical example of this Western hypocrisy.

Normally, all EU leaders who posed together with Sisi especially at that time, and certain conscious European groups would have been expected to refrain from criticizing Erdoğan in this aspect for at least a decade, with the shame of that pose. The newspaper in question is The Guardian, in other words, Europe's leftist liberal newspaper. Are we too naive in still expecting a little conscience from leftist liberalism?

There is reference to a scientific database and study in the article that determines Erdoğan's political legacy has shifted into populism. The database in question is formed and bred by The Guardian. None of the narratives on which they base Erdoğan's legacy in Turkey is a surprise: They are all individuals known to have a personal story and obsession with Erdoğan. Two names are evident: Soner Çağatay and Abdüllatif Şener. The others are not mentioned much, but it is clear they are based on a discourse bred by the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETÖ), Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and the pro-Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP).

A study that evaluates Erdoğan based on their hatred-motivated statements is only a gain for the opposition camp, not for science or an objective position. Or is there a norm in politics which the opposition is more innocent, more valid or more objective than the ruling government that we do not know of?

The story told by The Guardian disregards all that Erdoğan has gone through together with Turkey within the political course, ignores all the opposition's tomfoolery, the consecutive coups and plots they attempted, and summarizes the change he has undergone independent of all factors. They actually depend on the comfort of selling the most common reader a story such as, "He was first a good democrat, a cautious reformist, but then as he suddenly reached power, he became introverted, exclusivist, an authoritarian and dictator," "He was good at first, but changed for the bad after," with which they are familiar and as demanded.

They are ignoring the fact that the leader they are calling a "dictator," went from square to square in the elections to express himself to the people and win their votes, and how he had to constitutionally immediately leave his post to someone else if he could not get the votes required. If Erdoğan is a populist, then, for example, is the opposition calling to a divine politics?

And please, what is this populism? The things Erdoğan did to achieve coherence with his people, to grow and develop his country with the people's support, would be at least called leadership. Strong leadership is one of the most powerful social assets for a country. It is thanks to this leadership that Turkey has overcome many obstacles today that have the world under their influence, with less damage, and as a matter of fact with profit. When you take away this leadership, room would be opened for true dictators that cannot be controlled or that would serve themselves only, not their people. This is all they want.

It is right at this point that a recent article in The Washington Post explained what the real problem is. The Adam Taylor article, titled, "The free world is leaderless," determined how important leadership is in our day and age, and that the lack of a leader is increasingly becoming the West's most important problem. There is a serious void that is constantly pushing the free world into the lap of rightist populism, making it far more uncontrollable, with the West unable to produce any solutions for neither the world’s problems nor its own countries' crises.

Contrary to this, thanks to Erdoğan's strong leadership, Turkey has not been experiencing such a vacuum for years.

If this leadership seems like populism from there, in other words, if it does not seem so attractive, does it not reveal their intentions about what they really want to see in Turkey?


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