Bloomberg posted an article yesterday about the results of the referendum in Turkey. The results of the election are not good news for freedom-loving people in Turkey or in the Middle East.
The article reports:
Turkey voted to hand Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping authority in the most radical overhaul since the republic was founded 93 years ago on the expectation he’ll safeguard security amid regional wars and kickstart the economy.
The referendum won approval of 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent of Turks, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency, as opposition parties alleged fraud and the European Union branded it as unfair. Once implemented, Erdogan will have authority to appoint ministers and top judges at his discretion and call elections at any time. It will also give him much greater sway over fiscal policy and may deepen investors’ concerns about the independence of the central bank.
The win “represents a blow to the assumption that liberal or even in some cases hybrid democracies are structured to prevent authoritarian figures from hijacking the political system,” Anthony Skinner, a director with U.K.-based forecasting company Verisk Maplecroft, said before the results were declared.
Erdogan triumphed by appealing to voters in the small towns that dot the Anatolian heartland where he won overwhelmingly. These Turks want a firm hand at the helm to combat the resurgence of terrorism, fight Kurdish separatism and Islamic State in Syria and defend Turkey’s global interests. The result is a victory not only for him, but for type of authoritarian system exemplified by Vladimir Putin that has gained admirers around the world.
It helps when looking at this situation to look at some of the history of Turkey and some of its current friends. Turkey is a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as well as a member of NATO. The OIC describes itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.” It’s important to note here that the definition of peace under Sharia Law is the subjugation of all countries and people of the world to Sharia Law. This is not a group that favors democracy.
Historically, Turkey was the heart of the Ottoman Empire, which was defeated in World War I. In 1924, Ataturk (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey, serving as its first President from 1923 until his death in 1938) enacted a new constitution in Turkey. The new constitution instituted laws and jurisprudence much like European laws. There was also a thorough secularization of modernization of the administration. The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the secularization of Turkey caused Hassan al Banna to found the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928 with the purpose of unifying the Islamic states under a new caliphate.
We need to remember that the Ottoman Empire was dissolved less than one hundred years ago. There are still many Muslims who want to bring back the caliphate. I suspect that in addition to his desire to obtain more power and more control, Recep Tayyip Erdogan may well be moving in the direction he feels will bring back the caliphate.