Friday, June 06, 2008

Democratic Dictator du Jour

The school of "Get elected first, become a dictator later" has a bright new recruit: Turkey's Erdogan. He is using the tested tried and true methods seen with Chavez and Putin, and to a lower extent and less success by Kirchner, Morales and Correa. Let's not forget that the precursor of them all was Mugabe, who brought the promise of a democratic and prosperous African state to nightmare status.

Clearly, democracy needs to reevaluate its safeguards as every day they are breached in more and more places, including the US. The weak link is the judicial system and when the side in office manages to control it, then the game is over. Erdogan is trying that just right now, and this is much more dangerous than anywhere else as it would allow for the return of Islamic fundamentalist to political respectability in Turkey, not just amused tolerance. Sadly, when all is said and done, Erdogan does not care one way or the other about joining the EU, so this one will have little influence on how the tragedy will develop. And there is no hope of democratic support from Islam lands, where the moderates should be looking at secular Turkey as a role model. In fact the reverse is taking place as it would seem that the moderates would like Turks to become more like them, feeble societies where sometimes little more than a handful of fundamentalist dominate the political discourse. Look at the latest attack on the Danish embassy to know what appeasement yields you. If we must return to strong man rule, why can't we have more Atatürks and less Putins?

-The end-

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