Sunday, June 19, 2016

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erdogan?, by John Hannah

15th June 2016 - Foreign Policy

Houston, we have a problem. A serious problem. Slowly, but inexorably, Turkey is headed off a cliff. 

The signposts ahead are bleak indeed. Despotism. Terrorism. Civil war. Just over the horizon, scenarios like “failed state” and “forced partition” are coming into view. The day may be approaching when U.S. policymakers, much as they’d prefer not to, will finally be forced to grapple with the question: 

What do you do with a NATO ally gone seriously bad?

Turkey’s depressing, seemingly irreversible descent into one-man rule continues apace and may even be accelerating. Five weeks ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who just six months prior had led their Justice and Development Party (AKP) to a major electoral victory, securing nearly 50 percent of the vote and a large parliamentary majority.

So what was Davutoglu’s transgression? What malfeasance had he committed that justified summary dismissal and humiliation? None — save, apparently, the sin of being insufficiently obsequious to Erdogan. 

As my colleague at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Aykan Erdemir, has pointedlynoted, Davutoglu’s slavish compliance for nearly two years with 90 percent of Erdogan’s agenda was simply no longer good enough. Only total, 100 percent submission to the new Sultan is now deemed acceptable.