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The US President, Donald Trump called to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulated for his “Pyrrhic victory” during the last Sunday’s referendum, despite the big criticism coming from the international observers. The Turks approved on Sunday in a minor victory a constitutional reform promoted by Erdogan which will allow him to extend his mandate until 2034, and replace the parliamentary system which has characterized the Turkish democracy, by a presidential system. Large cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa and Izmir strongly rejected such a reform, but it has been largely supported in rural areas where ‘a strong leadership’ was preferred.


President Erdogan was looking for this wished election date for years; it was for him the possibility of seizing such a great an unknown power in Turkey since the times of the mythical founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Erdogan arranged everything in his favour not only to get the approval of his constitutional amend, but also to achieve it with a big great result. The seriousness of his face during the first public intervention after knowing the first election results, left no room for doubt. “The referendum has been won, but no victory has been achieved,” Abdulkadir Selvi, a columnist close to the Islamist AKP (Justice and Development Party and Erdogan’s) government, wrote in the daily newspaper ‘Hürriyet’. And It didn’t happen because of a lack of resources: Erdogan has well exploited the last attempted coup: the massive subsequent purges, with about 50,000 imprisoned, seemed to pave the way for his absolute victory.


The Republican People’s Party (CHP),of social-democratic ideology and main opposition party in Turkey, announced on that it will call for the cancellation of Sunday’s referendum. The Turkish political analyst Semih Idiz stated, “In the end, Erdogan has gotten his way and got the system he wanted, but it is not the victory he was hoping for. Erdogan asked for at least 60% of  people’ support during the campaign, which would have given real legitimacy to his executive presidency.” Finally, it has remained at 51.41%.The opposition has not acknowledged these results and announced that they will be impugn them at the Constitutional Court.


The referendum on Constitutional reform in Turkey has also triggered a reactions’ wave across Europe. The idea that Erdogan is walking in the opposite direction of the European values, ​​is the most repeated thesis, and although in this reform does not appear anything referring to the re-establishment of the death penalty, which is the limit that all EU countries and institutions have designated as insurmountable, the way in which this referendum has been carried out and the political consequences arising from the outcome, are viewed in Europe with much scepticism and as a bad affair. The most obvious symptom has been the OSCE and Council of Europe election observers’ conclusions, who have formally pointed out that the referendum which has decided to reinforce the powers of President Erdogan, has not taken place under conditions of the required democratic impartiality. It is not often that a mission of election observers makes such a drastic statement about an election process, especially being Turkey a member of the Council of Europe.


From countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, warnings have already been made to Erdogan about the use he might make of the election’ result, and they are analysing the possibility of limiting the maintenance of Turkish nationality to those migrants who have acquired as well that of their country of residence: they must either renounce to their Turkish nationality or lose the acquired nationality, i.e., Belgian or Dutch.


If it were not enough, Erdogan referred to the possibility of calling a new referendum, this time on Turkey’s accession to the EU, with the clear intention of asking the Turks to vote against it. In addition, another vote on the re-instatement of the death penalty.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan removed his democratic ruler’ mask long time ago. From the failed ‘coup’ or better, ‘self-coup’, we have witnessed the spectacle of an autocratic and threatening Turkey. It began by the blackmailing to the EU with the refugee crisis, while he was embracing with other autocratic leaders or dictators in front of the spotlights. Thousands of people have since been arrested, detained and expelled from their jobs for their alleged involvement in the coup, without a single evidence. A whole purge to strengthen Erdogan’s power. The red alarm’ lights have long been lit around Erdogan, especially after those incidents with the Dutch and German authorities during last March.


With this new authority’ twist, the president of Turkey has consummated the betrayal of those who elected him through the ballot box and to the thousands of citizens who went into the streets to preserve the democratic order.


Erdogan plans to dismantle the democratic regime and all the political plurality which had been reached by the transcontinental nation, minimizing or just finishing with his political opposition. He wants an Islamist Turkey just for him: a country which he can handle like that Ottoman empire he has been dreaming his whole life. Bye-bye Atatürk!


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Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 19, 2017 - 9:40am
Almudena A., in reading your article what comes to mind is the recent history of Venezuela. It is just the recent country that chose the path that Turkey is on. Venezuela is at the end of that path, or at least at a fork in the road with a choice.
Erdogan choice to follow the path of the Koran and the caliphates of history including the Ottoman Empire is not surprising. Islam is a government wrapped in the cloke of a religion. The rural areas of turkey is the bread basket of community islam. Where everyone is muslim and the problems of the religions/government do not stand out. In a homogenous community setting it is a religion of peace and compassion.
Europe citizens have now experienced the true nature of Islam so the politicians created images no longer hold water. I suspect that not far in the future Turkey will be thrown out of Europe community of nations and NATO. That will be a blow to security for Europe. The politicians of Europe have let Turkey fall back away from a secular nation. The leaders after the fall of the Ottoman Empire started the country on a path to joining Europe and being secular. Now in a decade that progress has been lost. The power of Islam, the government wrapped in religions cloke.
Mike Haluska Added Apr 19, 2017 - 10:09am
Anyone still believe that all Muslims want to just "live peacefully and cooperatively with people of all religions"???
Bill Kamps Added Apr 19, 2017 - 12:59pm
AA, the referendum only solidified the rule of Erdogan, and gave him what he wanted.  I was appalled that Trump called him and congratulated him, and how dare we call the country a democracy.
In too many countries it is too easy to destroy people's rights.
Thomas what keeps Turkey in NATO, is simply that the EU prefers that to the alternative, which is Turkey going into Russia's orbit.  Given their location this would be a inconvenient turn of events.  This allows Erdogan to play both sides against each other giving him what he wants, a more or less free hand to run roughshod over his people.
Autumn Cote Added Apr 19, 2017 - 2:17pm
Please note, the best way to draw more attention to your work is to comment on the work of others.  I know this to be true because of you do I'll do everything in my power to draw more attention to your work. 
PS - There is a lot I can do and would like to do.  
Jeff Michka Added Apr 19, 2017 - 8:54pm
Interesting and pointed article, Almundeno.  I've two cousins that married Turks.  One had her father (retired for several years  and former Turkish Air Force ranking officer and former NATO rep from Turkey jailed for three months post last year's coup. The other's set of parents were held under house arrest for a period of time.  Erdogan is just another Trumpist style pol with more extreme religious views and hates "secular elites" who have been the stiff backbone of Turkish democracy since the days of Attaturk.
Jeff Michka Added Apr 19, 2017 - 8:55pm
The reason the Orangeness was so pleased, and called Erdogan is he wants to get a similar referendum going here. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 19, 2017 - 9:16pm
Jeff M.  compare Trump to Erdogan?  Are you on drugs?  So who has Trump put under house arrest.  Who has Trump put in jail for political activities but not rioting?  What change in the Constitution has he promoted?    
Bill Kamps Added Apr 20, 2017 - 9:30am
Jeff, unlike Turkey  it is pretty tough  to change our Constitution.
What we need to do is stop pretending that places like Turkey are democracies and that they  support any kind of human rights.  We have our problems in the US, but they are nothing like what really is going in on Turkey where 100K people were arrested simply because Edrogan differed with their politics.
I think all Presidents secretly wish they were dictators, so they could get done what they  want, but we have things tied up pretty tightly in the Constitution so that none of even try.
Jeff Michka Added Apr 20, 2017 - 12:16pm
Bill Kamps writes: What we need to do is stop pretending that places like Turkey are democracies and that they support any kind of human rights. - This ignores how circumstance and applied democracy in Turkey has changed. Attaturk assembled a secular government that even stomped on "Muslim traditions," like banning habibs, save for prostitutes wearing them as a means of identifying them as hookers, modern Turkey's founders had a greater sensibility on secular matters than the current "pro-conserv Muslim" regime, where religion is an excuse for political oppression.  And why would the Constitution stop Trump from becoming the American Erdogan? "Ignore it."  Republican objections? "Say, Orangeness sir... We object to you becoming president for life." Oh sure, they'd toss a permanent R president for the Constitution.  Riiight.
Almudena Alonso Added Apr 20, 2017 - 2:18pm
Thanks for all your comments.
There are several points to answer here:
1/ Turkey has never been a real democracy at the Western style, but comparing to its neighboring countries, and since the secular revolution of Atatürk, it was the closest thing to a democracy as we the Western countries know it. Recall the massacre to the Armenians and the removal in Istanbul of Orthodox Greeks in the last days of the Ottoman caliphate.
2 / Since Erdogan seized power, all common freedoms have been gradually reduced, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, religious freedom, etc.
3 / An Islamist regime is being imposed at the same time as it has permeated all the institutions. All they have left is the private enterprise.
4 / After the self-coup, Erdogan has got rid of all his political and ideological adversaries by accusing them of the coup, and now, he has all the institutions at his service, to be a sultan with absolute power, as in the times of Ottoman power that he so much yearned.
And yes, Trump called him to congratulate for the referendum results. I imagine Trump´s call is part of the geopolitical courtesy, no more no less, wanted to keep him as an ally in the area, which has been historically and still is, a powder keg. But I´m not sure if Erdogan would stay as a US ally.
T. Sutrina, Venezuela is a disaster, a political drama. Yesterday were three students killed in Caracas by army soldiers in peaceful demonstrations all over the country against the current communist regime. The Chavista regime, sponsored by the Cubans, has eliminated all freedoms, even now they reject to call for elections. It is a bloody dictatorship, where in a country formally rich, many children are looking for food in the garbage cans. Something must happen to get rid of the donkey assassin and tyrant current president Maduro.
Almudena Alonso Added Apr 20, 2017 - 2:20pm
Autumn, thanks! 
Thomas Sutrina Added Apr 20, 2017 - 5:59pm
Western secularism is not compatible with Islam, a government wrapped in the trapping of a religion.   The sacred books I come to understand were written long after the profit died,  when the religion ran the government and had a conquering army that resulted in the largest empire to date.   It presents Islam in that context.  
Just as Judaism during the exodus in Babylon changed from a similar Judgemental theology of a government wrapped around a religion. Islam is a religion wrapped around a government, the opposite. Islam, Islam could make a similar transformation to a salvation theology.  Secularization would be part of that process.  
The total collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the failure of Islam caliphates economically because it did not embrace the industrial revolution I hope would result in some of the leaders of the faith to come to the same conclusion that the Jewish religious leaders made in exile.   This may actually be occurring but they have not gained momentum.  Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and a few other muslim countries and the population of Muslims in western countries I hoped would together have enough momentum.   We shall see how harmful the losses from the Arab Spring are.
Dino Manalis Added Apr 22, 2017 - 4:18pm
Trump has to warn Erdogan he should become more secular and democratic, otherwise, another coup attempt is likely.  Turkey ought to be a reliable NATO ally, not a supporter of ISIS!