Jun 22 2018

Re-election of Erdoğan is a scary prospect for international community - columnist

The prospect of a triumphantly re-elected Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 24 is alarming not only for Turks, but also for the international community, columnist Simon Tisdall said in the Guardian on Friday.

According to Tisdall, over his 16-year rule, Erdoğan has turned from neighbourhood bully-boy into geostrategic threat. “Under his choleric, resentful tutelage, Turkey has ceased to be a reliable friend of Europe and the U.S. If he gets his way in Sunday’s polls, Erdoğan, a dictator in all but name, is likely to foment further instability in Syria and throughout the Middle East region,” Tisdall said.

Tisdall said that president Erdoğan’s deliberately divisive, populist policies represented a big challenge for foreign partners. Since the influence of former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his “zero problems with neighbours” policy faded and Erdoğan has started to seek to be the leader of the entire Muslim world, his foreign policy has thrived on problems with neighbours, according to Tisdall. 

Erdoğan’s rift with Egypt, his support to Muslim Brotherhood, his de facto alliances with Iran and Qatar, his approach to Kurdish problem and Turkey’s military operation in northern Iraq against Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) basis, as well as Turkey’s military offences in northern Syria are examples Tisdall gave to explain Erdoğan’s pattern in foreign policy. He also added that Erdoğan had recently picked up a fight with Turkey’s old enemy Greece and had abandoned past attempts to improve relations with Israel. 

Tisdall reminded that the U.S. Senate tried to block the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey this week, accusing Erdoğan of “actively operating to undermine US interests around the world”. Moreover, Tisdall foresees that Erdoğan’s rows with European countries, his defiance of human rights norms and shared democratic standards, and his growing military collaboration with Vladimir Putin will get worse, if he is re-elected. 

“Turkey’s voters have a duty to the world, not just to themselves. Kick him out,” Tisdall said.