Jan 03 2018

Erdoğan uses “Orwellian Doublespeak” to cement power - report

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is playing the populist to strengthen his grip on power, combining it with political manipulation and “Orwellian doublespeak", writes Mustafa Coban for the Conversation.

“He has something to say about anything and everything – from tax policy to window tinting on cars to the number of foreign football players allowed in professional squads, nothing escapes his hawkish pronouncements,” Coban said. “The pattern is consistent: a state body or the government comes in for criticism, and then Erdoğan the patriarch steps in to clear up the mess and appease the people.”

An autumn argument over tax hikes was perhaps the most striking example, he said. In a bid to address budget constraints, the parliamentary government announced legislation to increase some taxes, the most controversial being a proposed 40% tax on motor vehicles.

“After a public outcry, Erdoğan flaunted his influence by publicly suggesting the tax increase be limited to 15-20%. While the net result is an increase in taxes, the public announcements in Turkish are presented as a tax cut brought about by Erdoğan’s influence. This adds to the overall impression that Turkey’s authoritarian drift is taking on distinctively Orwellian characteristics,” Coban wrote.

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