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!