Jun 26 2018

Erdoğan’s victory could make Turkish democracy history – Washington Post

After fifteen years in power, and having just won in presidential and parliamentary elections that grant him “near absolute power,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is on a course that could consign Turkish democracy to history in two more terms, the Washington Post said in an editorial published on Monday.

Last Sunday’s elections brought Erdoğan a swift victory that surprised many observers, sealing his grasp on the presidency in the first round.

However, the circumstances leading up to the election left the opposition little chance of a victory, with Erdoğan and the ruling party dominating the country’s media and using strongarm tactics to silence or imprison critics, according to the editorial.

“What authoritarians have figured out is not to cancel elections, as old-fashioned dictators used to do, or fake them entirely, but rather to hold the vote and control the circumstances so tightly that no one else can win. The latest Turkish campaign was neither free nor fair,” said the Washington Post.

“When Mr. Erdogan took office 15 years ago, many hoped he would steer Turkey toward a role as a moderate and democratic Muslim state in a sea of extremism and tumult,” said the Post’s editorial, adding that the Turkish president’s behaviour since then has dashed those hopes.

With U.S.-Turkish relations already under severe strain after Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems and imprisonment of U.S. citizen Pastor Andrew Brunson, the Washington Post urges the U.S. administration to “hold firm” against Erdoğan’s coercive tactics.