May 04 2018

Turkey’s Erdoğan among strongmen threatening democracies - Time

Changing times have boosted public demand for more muscular, assertive leadership and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is among the exemplaries of this strongman era, political scientist Ian Bremmer wrote in Time magazine.

 

“These tough-talking populists promise to protect “us” from “them”. Depending on who’s talking, “them” can mean the corrupt elite or the grasping poor; foreigners or members of racial, ethnic or religious minorities. Or disloyal politicians, bureaucrats, bankers or judges. Or lying reporters. Out of this divide, a new archetype of leader has emerged. We’re now in the strongman era,” he wrote.

Bremmer said Erdoğan, emboldened as a result of the failed coup attempt in 2016, had identified his own set of “deep state” enemies and jailed an extraordinary number of journalists.

According to Bremmer, the most worrying element of the strongman’s rise is the message it sends as they create disincentives for establishing a democratic system based on checks and balances, and instead offer shortcuts to greater security and national pride.