Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Turkey Starts Down a Dangerous Path

The Turkish opposition wasn't very happy with the process that gave Ergogan a narrow victory (51.4%) in the vote to give him pretty much dictatorial powers. But whether or not the vote is totally legitimate, that's the working theory Erdogan will go forward with. What will NATO do?

Yeah, the result is probably fishy:

Turkey's main opposition party urged the country's electoral board Monday to cancel the results of a landmark referendum that granted sweeping new powers to the nation's president, citing what it called substantial voting irregularities.

Bulent Tezcan, deputy chairman of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, cited numerous problems in Sunday's vote, which gave a narrow victory to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's long-time plans to greatly expand the powers of his office.

But urge too hard and that magical and broad "anti-coup" purge that has been going on will surge again, eh?

I've wondered if Erdogan might want to leave NATO--triangulating with NATO, Russia, and China to create maneuvering room--to chart a course for a new Ottoman Empire to serve as the real caliphate of Sunni Islam (under Turkish rule).

But with Erdogan heading into caliph territory, will NATO downgrade or expel Turkey?

I ask because NATO has become a club of democracies, using membership to push former Soviet vassals toward rule of law and real voting.

Can Turkey despite its important geographic position be allowed to set an example for going backwards on democracy and rule of law when we have enough problems keeping some of our new NATO allies on that path?

I imagine the actual path will more likely be pressure on Erdogan from NATO to stop what he is doing that Erdogan will finally meet with downgrades of alliance cooperation followed by a formal break.

UPDATE: The election in Turkey was close--and if there wasn't voter fraud, close for Erdogan's power grab. But what does it say that Turkish voters who live in Europe were more in favor of giving power to Erdogan than voters in Turkey itself?

These Turkish voters, living in some of Europe’s most liberal countries, overwhelming cast their ballots for Erdogan’s illiberal reforms of Turkish society. The results, from the state-run Anadolu Agency:
  • Austria – 73.23% Yes, 26.77% No
  • Belgium – 74.98% Yes, 25.02% No
  • France – 64.85% Yes, 35.15% No
  • Germany – 63.07% Yes, 36.93% No
  • The Netherlands – 70.94% Yes, 29.06% No
Not only did these European Turks vote far more heavily in favor of Yes than their countrymen back home (the domestic vote was 51.18% Yes, 48.82% No), they also voted more heavily Yes than just about any other Turkish expatriate community. In the U.S. and U.K. Turks voted No by about 84% and 80%, respectively.

How is it possible for Turks living in liberal democracies to reject that democracy in their country of origin?

Does this say more about continental Europe than the Turkish residents? Tip to Instapundit.