Hungry for Power: Erdogan's Witch Hunt and Abuse of State Power

Hungry for Power: Erdogan's Witch Hunt and Abuse of State Power

by Aydogan Vatandas


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For much of the last thirteen years, Turkey rode a wave of political, social, and economic success. When the AK Party came to power in 2002, it pursued a progressive and democratic agenda which resulted in the advancement of democratic and human rights and widespread economic growth. Two landslide election victories reaffirmed the AK Party’s successes, and Turkey was held up to the world as an example of the peaceful co-existence between Islam and democracy. So now we ask: what went wrong?

After the AK Party secured its third sweeping victory in the 2011 Parliamentary elections, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suddenly veered off "the train to democracy" and began pursuing his personal agenda. The result has been four years of brutal crackdowns on public demonstrations, the criminalization of the free press and internet, and the deliberate polarization of society through hate speech and fear mongering. What was once a growing democracy has become a burgeoning police state. All sections of society have suffered, but few have suffered more than Hizmet, a peaceful civic movement that has been the victim of a massive witch-hunt as the government has sought scapegoats for its increasingly corrupt behavior. Such a witch-hunt should serve as a warning to the whole of Turkish society: even the peaceful are not safe.

This collection of articles shed light on Erdoğan’s transition from Muslim democrat to authoritarian leader, analyzing events as they happened. They present a variety of perspectives on Turkey’s unique position in the Middle East, its relationship with the USA, Erdoğan’s extreme reactions to any form of opposition, and his escalating authoritarianism and witch hunt.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935295778
Publisher: Blue Dome Press
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Aydogan Vatandas is a journalist based in New York, specializing in media, international politics and political psychology. He has published books about a range of topics, many of which have become bestsellers in Turkey. Since 2006, he has been working in New York as the representative for Cihan News Agency and correspondent for Todays Zaman Daily where he wrote his dozens of articles on Turkish and Middle East politics. He holds an M.A in Media Studies from The New School in NY.

Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Chapter 1 Turkey-Us Relations and Democracy Promotion in the Middle East 1

Democracy Promotion in the Middle East: a Must or a Mistake? 3

Speaking of Islamo-Christian Civilization amidst

Turmoil of Clash of Civilizations 5

How Did Erdogan Help the "Confrontationist" Camp? 15

Towards the Collapse of Turkish Democracy 19

"Erdogan Is Institutionalizing Perpetual Control of the Government by His Party" 22

How Was Obama's Red Line Crossed? 25

Phillips: "Executive Presidency Will Unfetter Erdogan's Ambitions" 30

CFR Senior Fellow Cook: "Turkey Is No Longer a Democracy" 40

Chapter 2 Suppression of Dissent and Press Freedom: From Harrassment and Intimidation to Criminalization 45

Turkish Democracy and Media Going through Turbulent Times 47

Criminalizing Investigative Journalism Has No Place in a Democracy 50

How Did Turkey Experience the CNN Effect? 53

Occupy Movements from Wall Street to Gezi Park 56

How Erdogan Failed to Understand Social Media and the Emergence of Participatory Culture? 60

"Lies Run Sprints, but the Truth Runs Marathons" 63

How Did Erdogan Become a Media Mogul in Turkey? 66

When Free Press Is Silenced in Turkey 69

How Should the Obama Administration Respond to the Senators' Letters about Turkey? 72

Chapter 3 Erdogan Leadership - Towards Authoritarianism and One Man Control 75

Authoritarian Leadership versus Servant Leadership 77

Why Erdogan Exploits Anti-American Sentiments 80

Does Erdogan Have Caliphate Ambitions? 83

Is There a Way Out? 86

Why Didn't They Listen to Erdogan? 90

Destructive Narcissism and Erdogan's Leadership Style 93

Erdogan's Imagined Grand Turkey, Grandiose False Collective Identity 97

Can Erdogan Escape from the Reality of Soma? 100

Erdogan; Villain or Hero? 103

What Does Turkey's Presidential Election Reveal? 106

Dr. Rainer Hermann: "Erdogan Wants to Build a Regime according to His Wishes" 109

Erdogan Building One-Man Show in Turkey 114

Chapter 4 Erdogan's Hizmet Witch Hunt 119

Who Was behind the Pennsylvania Demonstrations? 121

An Open Letter to ISNA 124

Any Leader Acting against Educational Institutions Will Find Himself on the Wrong Side of History! 128

Can Erdogan Play a Mediator Role while Terminating an Aid Charity? 136

Chapter 5 Erdogan's Failed Middle East Policy 139

Erdogan's Biggest Challenge with al-Qaeda 141

Erdogan in the Middle of Saudi-Iranian Rivalry 144

Is Erdogan's Turkey already an Iranian Satellite? 147

Chapter 6 Turkey: Views from Outside 151

Turkey Is Now Increasingly Looking like an Autocratic Country 153

Erdogan Is Doing a Great Disservice to His Country and to Its Image 158

"Nobody in Washington Is Buying the Turkish Government's Conspiracy Theories" 163

Without Justice, No Country Has a Solid Foundation! 170

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