President Erdogan Entangles Turkey In War In Order To Reemerge In New Elections Set For November 1

1 Erdogan at campaign rally
Erdogan at campaign rally, Koran in hand. Source: Cumhuriyet, May 24, 2015.

Whither Turkey? – Part I: Following June 7 Loss In General Election

By: R. Krespin | MEMRI

Introduction

During the fierce election campaign prior to Turkey’s June 7, 2015 general election, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who under the Turkish constitution is sworn to impartiality, violated that oath byholding daily campaign rallies for the ruling AK Party (AKP), in addition to pushing for votes that would give the party 400 MPs so that it could singlehandedly rewrite the constitution. Koran in hand, he attacked opposition parties and their leaders, advocating passionately for change to the system of government. On March 22, 2015, Erdogan said that Turkey’s parliamentary system, which is determined by the constitution, had been placed irreversibly in the “waiting room,” i.e. to be discarded, and added that while the road to a powerful super-presidency would be difficult and painful, “every sacred birth is preceded by painful labor.”[1]

However, the results of the June 7 general election turned out to be a failure for Erdogan. Votes for the ruling AKP were 10% lower than in the previous general election in 2011, bringing to an end the party’s parliamentary majority and its single rule that had lasted for 13 years, since 2002. The main reason for its loss was the shift by Kurdish voters in the Kurd-majority east and southeast of the country, from the AKP to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), due to their anger over Turkey’s inaction as the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobane was brutally attacked by the Islamic State (ISIS) in the fall of 2014.

Erdogan’s hostility to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces that liberated Kobane, Tel Abyad, and other towns from ISIS, his equating them with ISIS itself by saying “Both are terrorists,” and his freezing of the three-year Kurdish-Turkish Peace Process eroded support for the AKP, even among Turkey’s conservative Islamic Kurdish voters, who in past elections had voted AKP. In August, Erdogan repeatedly commented that the Kurdish Peace Process had been “put in the refrigerator.”[2]

The AKP’s decline was also a sign of the Turkish voters’ rejection of the one-man rule for which Erdogan had passionately campaigned.

Lower Turkey Map
Map showing the lower percentage of votes for the AKP in the different regions of Turkey in the June 7, 2015 general election as opposed to the 2011 general elections. According to most polls, the trend is continuing in the run-up to the November 1 early elections. Source: Cumhuriyet, September 21, 2015.

This report is part of a series showing how Erdogan is steering Turkey away from democracy and involving Turkey in a war as a means of justifying and promoting his one-man rule:

The June 7 General Election And Its Aftermath

Voter turnout for the June 7 general elections in Turkey was very high – 86% – and four parties gained representation in parliament for the first time in many years. While the AKP’s votes, at 41%, were down from 50% in 2011, the main opposition Republican People’s Party [CHP] party received 25% of the votes; the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received 16%, and Turkey’s Kurds gained a political voice as the HDP, despite all the AKP’s threats, crossed the 10% electoral threshold receiving 13%. This translated to 258 MPs for the AKP, 132 for the CHP, and 80 each for the MHP and HDP – together representing over 95% of all of Turkey’s voters in the 550-member parliament.

The HDP, which focuses on the Kurdish problem, ran under the young, charismatic, and optimistic leadership of Selahattin Demirtas. For the first time, it entered parliament as a party, rather than as individual independent MPs. The HDP campaigned for democratization and equal rights for all ethnic and religious minorities in Turkey, as well as for women’s and gay rights, garnering 85-95% of the votes in most districts in eastern and southeastern Turkey and considerable support from liberal democratic intellectuals in Turkey’s West. It also came out as the third party in Istanbul.

Also for the first time, four Christians and other minority members became MPs: three Armenians, one each from CHP, AKP and HDP, one Syriac and two Yazidi MPs from HDP, and one Roman MP from CHP. This parliament has 96 women MPs, the highest number ever. Almost half of the HDP MPs, including the party’s co-chair, are women.

The anti-AKP media celebrated this democratic and colorful parliament, but because Prime Minister Davutoglu failed to build a coalition due to Erdogan’s wish to go to new elections while AKP still has full control, it was to become Turkey’s shortest-lived parliament.

While there was an opportunity to build a CHP-MHP-HDP coalition that would represent 60% of Turkey’s voters, such a coalition did not materialize due to the ultra-nationalist MHP’s vehement refusal to be on the same side, in any issue, as the pro-Kurdish HDP. Erdogan, and the AKP’s base, opposed the formation of a coalition, fearing that any sharing of power by any other political party would expose the AKP government’s unlawful activities, its corruption cases, and the assistance it was providing to jihadi organizations – all of which had been covered up. After Davutoglu returned the mandate to President Erdogan following 32 days of delaying tactics with the CHP in the guise of coalition negotiations, Erdogan refused, against all settled democratic tradition, to give the mandate of building a government to the leader of the second-largest party, CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and proceeded to declare November 1, 2015 as the date for “repeat” elections. Many in Turkey now fear that these elections might not even take place, due to the chaos and war into which the country has been driven.[3]

Erdogan, AKP: If You Don’t Vote AKP, There Will Be More Instability And Bloodshed

On March 7, three months before the June 7 elections, Erdogan told Kurdish voters at a campaign rally in Gaziantep: “Give us the 400 MPs [that the AKP needed for it to change the constitution and establish a powerful presidency, that is, one-man rule] and we can all have a peaceful resolution [of the Kurdish problem]” – meaning that if they did not vote AKP, there would be no peace.


Campaign banner in Istanbul prior to June 7, 2015: “If you do not want news of shahids [martyrs] say yes to the AKP.” Source: Cumhuriyet, August 24, 2015)

Having driven the country to the brink of civil war between Turks and the minority Kurds, as part of their strategy to stay in power,[4] Erdogan and AKP officials are now shaping their new campaign slogan: If you want peace and stability, vote AKP. The new elections are being framed as an opportunity for the voters to “correct” their “mistakes” come November 1.[5]

In the aftermath of the elections, AKP Minister Yalcin Akdogan said that the AKP was the only guarantee of security and stability in the country, as well as the only guarantee for a peace process: “Now the HDP can only make a movie of the Peace Process,” he said, threatening that there would be no peace if the Kurds again voted for the HDP.[6]

On August 17, 2015, Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said that if Turkey had elected a president with executive powers, the country would not be in the current chaos.[7]

Later that month, on August 26, a confident Erdogan said that November 1 elections would produce different results, even though all early polls indicate no increase of votes for the AKP and even more gains for the HDP. This is leading to speculation that Erdogan may have a more sinister plans – such as preventing voting by the Kurdish majority in eastern and southeastern Turkey, which is the voter base of the HDP, on pretexts of war, military rule, and curfews – or that he will indefinitely postpone the elections.[8]

Erdogan At Police Funeral: This War Will Continue Until Doomsday

This Soldier Has Reached “The High Place Of The Shahids”; His Place Is Besides The Prophet’s In Heaven; “How Happy His Parents… Should Be”

At the August 16, 2015 funeral of fallen police officer Ahmet Camur in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, Erdogan said that this war on [PKK] terrorism would last till doomsday and that there would be no complacency. Using the flag-wrapped coffin as pulpit, Erdogan said: “Happy is he who reaches the high place of a shahid [martyr], the highest of all statuses. How happy his parents and family should be.”[9]

His remarks brought a storm of angry reactions, in both newspaper columns and social media. Some wished Erdogan the same kind of “happiness”; some demanded that he and all AKP ministers send their own sons, who had evaded their compulsory military duty, to serve; many others criticized the fanfare and speech at a funeral, thus turning it into a campaign rally.[10]

Turkish Energy Minister: “My Goal Is To Die As Shahid

In a televised August 19, 2015 interview, AKP Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that he wished to die as a shahid: “Should Allah grant my wish, my goal is to become a shahid for my religion, nation, and country.” He dismissed his sons’ avoidance of military service by paying the exemption fee of 18,000 Turkish lira.[11]

The failure of all AKP politicians’ sons to serve has brought harsh public criticism. Many reacted to Yildiz’s statement in social media by saying that he was welcome to go and fight if he wished to be a martyr.

AKP MP Suggests Sri Lanka Model: Either The PKK Will Lay Down Its Arms and Surrender – Or It Will Be Exterminated

Speaking to a local journalists association, the AKP’s Zonguldak MP Faruk Caturoglu attacked the HDP and said that a decision must be made to continue with the operations until the PKK lays down all its arms and surrenders. He said: “There is no other way; either these people will surrender their arms and themselves, or the matter will be resolved by exterminating their roots, as was done in Sri Lanka.” He added: “I do not believe that the PKK will drop their arms, because the mind that is guiding them is not their own. In fact, we are not fighting the PKK. Our struggle is against the global powers that are behind the PKK.”[12]

Anti-Erdogan, Anti-AKP Protests At Funerals; Families Of The Fallen Punished

In every corner of the country, funerals are being held daily for soldiers and police who have fallen in the fighting, with grieving relatives voicing protests and accusations against Erdogan and the AKP government for ending the ceasefire and the Peace Process and for launching a civil war. The pro-AKP media label these grieving relatives who criticize Erdogan as terrorists, PKK traitors, and even as members of the Alevi minority, to which the Sunni AKP is hostile. One such relative was arrested for “insulting Erdogan,” as his cousin faces prosecution for the same crime.[13]

4 2015 funeral of fallen soldier Recep Baycur
At the August 20, 2015 funeral of fallen soldier Recep Baycur, his grief-stricken cousin, Omer Baycur, said that Erdogan should be proud of causing brothers to kill brothers. (Photo: DHA)

There was tension at the funeral of Capt. Ali Alkan, one of eight soldiers killed in a PKK bomb attack; AKP officials and MPs commandeered the first row during the prayer, pushing the family back. Capt. Alkan’s brother, Lt.-Col. Mehmet Alkan, in uniform and clutching his brother’s casket, said, in a jab at Erdogan and the AKP government, that his brother had not had a chance to sufficiently enjoy his country and his loved ones, and asked: “Who is his killer? What is the cause for this? Those who until yesterday talked about peace now say ‘war till doomsday.’ Let them [the politicians] go there and fight.”

Later, pointing out AKP Energy Minister Taner Yildiz’s remarks, he said: “Those who say they want to become shahids live in palaces with thousands of bodyguards and travel in armored vehicles. No such thing! If you want martyrdom, go there and fight.”

Lt.-Col. Mehmet Alkan’s remarks caused a stir in the country, and while anti-government circles defended him, the pro-AKP journalists, as well as the fiercely pro-government activists on social media known as AK-trolls, engaged in a smear campaign against him, labeling him a “Gulenist,”[14] “Alevi,” “terrorist,” and “traitor.” According to media reports, the presidency wants him suspended, punished, and made an example of, but the military commanders have been reluctant to do this.[15]

5 Lt-Col Mehmet Alkan
Lt-Col. Mehmet Alkan (Photo: Hurriyet Daily News, August 23, 2015)

Similar incidents are taking place at funerals all over the country, where criticism is voiced against Erdogan and the AKP government. In separate incidents, AKP ministers Yalcin Akdogan and Mehmet Muezzinoglu, and other AKP officials, had to be removed from the booing crowds throwing coins and empty plastic bottles at them.[16]

June 8 Reactions Reflect Polarization In Country: Anti-AKP Circles Express Joy For A New Beginning For Turkey

On the morning after the June 7 elections, Turkey woke up more optimistic and hopeful for a more democratic, pluralistic, and peaceful future – as reflected by the headlines of reports and columns in the non-AKP media “Good morning sunny Turkey!” read the title of Bedri Baykam’s column in Cumhuriyet, in which he wrote that Turkey again breathes and feels the warmth of the sun. “From now on,” he said, “the governors, prosecutors, judges, police, and bureaucrats will quit acting like the AKP’s servants and will remember their real boss – Justice!”[17]

Columnist Orhan Bursali wrote, under the headline “A new day: Good morning Turkey!” that Turkey’s step-by-step move towards Erdogan’s one-man rule had been slammed by the voters.[18]

Columnist Necati Dogru of Sozcu wrote that now is the time to look to future with hope. He said that people who sought justice in Turkey’s courts and lost their trust in judges, prosecutors, and the police now can hope to find judges who will serve justice and who will not look to one man’s (i.e. Erdogan’s) lips for their orders. He added, “We can hope to see prosecutors who are the people’s prosecutors, and police who are the people’s police, who will not cross the limits of the law.”[19]

In a column titled “It will be a beautiful summer,” Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in Hurriyet: “There is one big loser in this election: A style of politics has lost. Anger has lost. Creating ‘others’ has lost. Humiliating has lost. Arrogance has lost. Injustice has lost. Oppression, fear and intimidation have lost. It will indeed be a beautiful summer in Turkey. We have long deserved it.”[20]

Other headlines were: “What has lost is the harsh, angry language in politics,” by Deniz Sipahi; “The winners are reconciliation, peace, and HDP,” by Oral Calislar – both of whom wrote that the loser was the harsh, divisive, polarizing and nationalistic language.[21]

Columnist Mehmet Tezkan of Milliyet wrote that the result of the election was the end of the AKP’s rule and that the clear loser was President Erdogan. Tezkan also foresaw that the results would lead to an early election, since the AKP cannot act independently from Erdogan, and therefore cannot build a coalition.[22]

Many opposition figures, liberal media, and civil society organizations expressed the view that the June 7 elections had been a victory for democracy, and marked the end of an era of authoritarian oppression.

AKP Officials Blame West For AKP Election Loss: The HDP Is A Foreign Project

There were no optimistic scenarios in the pages of the pro-AKP media in the aftermath of the elections. Front-page headlines, reflecting Erdogan’s views, demanded a new election, and said that that there must be no coalition.  AKP officials reiterated with one voice that the HDP, whom AKP blames for causing its fall from power by gaining 13% of the vote, was a project planned by international powers to oust the AKP. Throughout the election campaign period, they had warned the voters that a failure to vote for the AKP would bring instability and would end the Kurdish Peace Process.

On April 19, 2015, former AKP justice minister Bekir Bozdag said: “The HDP’s entry to the elections as a political party [rather than as a number of independent MPs] is an ‘international project.’ Their wish is to put a stop to the strong rule of AKP and to Turkey’s political stability. Their desire is to prevent a strong AKP majority representation in the parliament, that is able to write a new constitution [by itself].

“They will be happy if they succeed in pushing the HDP over the [10%] threshold. If they do not succeed, they will attempt to spoil the stability and peace in the country by raising hell about why a party that got so many votes is not represented in the parliament.

“International circles and their domestic accomplices are thus playing a win-win game to block Turkey’s march. The ‘parallel’ [AKP’s definition of members of the Gulen movement], big capital, those who oppose the AKP, and international circles are all working together for the HDP. I say to those who are plotting against us: You will never be able to prevent the AKP from getting into parliament with the majority to change the constitution.”[23]

In a televised interview on May 21, Minister Yalcin Akdogan said: “The HDP’s run as a party is a project. The effort to have it pass the threshold is a project. They [i.e. the Western powers] have made chaos plans to destabilize Turkey. There are powers trying to bring down the AKP.”[24]

On the day after the elections, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said: “The HDP is a project. The HDP has been used to bring down the AKP government. The CHP, the MHP, the parallel structure [Gulenists], and domestic and foreign media have all supported this project.”[25]

Former AKP MP and law professor Burhan Kuzu, who is currently a senior advisor to Erdogan, told journalists on June 8: “I told them [the people] that the choice was between stability and chaos. They chose chaos. I told them that handing the country to the opposition [parties] would mean throwing the country down the cliff. The nation decided to throw [Turkey] down the cliff. Let them sleep in the bed that they made.” He added: “No coalition can come out of this picture. [New] elections are inevitable.”[26]

As coalition talks were underway, Kuzu told CNNTurk TV that he is allergic to the possibility: “I have an allergy, I get the itch at the thought of a coalition.”[27]

On August 15, AKP MP Huseyin Kocabiyik attacked the HDP, and said that the blood of the shahids are on the hands of the dishonorable voters who voted for it. “May Allah curse and punish them,” he added.[28]

Pro-AKP Islamist Media: Evil Western Powers Are Behind The Terrorists And Against Turkey

Taking their cues from AKP officials, the pro-AKP Islamist media attacked foreign countries, international capital, and their “accomplices” in the domestic mainstream media – particularly media boss Aydin Dogan and journalists in his media organs. They accused them of treason by siding with the PKK terrorists and of treating HDP leader Demirtas as a rising star.

Ergun Diler of Takvim wrote under the headline “Bloody Games” that Washington had invited HDP leader Demirtas for a visit in September 2014. Author and former CIA officer Graham Fuller, who had close ties with the Gulen movement, met with Demirtas for four days, guiding him on what role he and his party HDP would play in Turkey. Demirtas was also introduced to a team from the U.S.-based Benenson Strategy Group, which provided the strategy for increasing the HDP’s votes.

Diler, who earlier had written that former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus had created ISIS, stated in this article that Petraeus had also organized the September 2014 ISIS attack on Kobane. This way, he wrote, the votes of Turkey’s Kurds could be taken away from the AKP, and the HDP could enter the parliament.[29]

In subsequent articles, Diler accused Germany, the UK, France, and other European countries of being behind PKK terrorism, and of actively helping the YPG Syrian Kurdish forces to block Erdogan’s Turkey from attaining power and leadership in the region.[30]

In all of his articles, the pro-AKP Islamist daily Yeni Safak‘s editor-in-chief Ibrahim Karagul has attacked the West and the mainstream Turkish media, especially the Dogan media group, and accused them of being accomplices in an act of war, not only against President Erdogan and the AKP, but against Turkey and the Turkish people. On August 10, 2015, under the headline “To which cities in Turkey were the C4 [explosives] and Stingers taken?” he summarized some of his 2007-2008 articles accusing the U.S and Israel of amassing heavy weaponry in areas of Turkey near its border with northern Iraq, of building military bases, installing satellites, bringing tanks and missiles to Turkey’s borders, and of carrying into cities across Turkey and stockpiling in secret houses weaponry, ammunition, mines, bombs, and powerful explosives. He alleged that foreign, that is, Western government’s intelligence units, as well as their domestic accomplices in the military, media, political, and business circles, had facilitated all of the above, as he had warned in the past. Now, he wrote, six years later and after the June 7 elections, when terrorists target Turkey with the support of these same domestic circles, it is being reported that the PKK had stockpiled huge amounts of armaments to be used in its urban war, and added, “The preparations for urban fighting did not happen only in the last two years [during the AKP’s Peace Process].”[31]

In an August 26 article titled “Intellectual Terrorism and Domestic Invasion,” Karagul attacked Turkey’s opposition, some business circles, and mainstream media, arguing that during the air operations against PKK bases at Mount Qandil, some German and British intelligence agents who are training and advising the PKK in Qandil and the YPG in northern Syria are also being hit. He added that “foreign experts” affiliated with Western intelligence agencies are also operating inside Turkey, among the PKK and DHKP-C terrorists.

Karagul wrote that what Turkey is facing, for the first time in its history, is not just terrorism, or threats at its borders coming from Iraq and Syria, or just the “Kurdish problem,” but a “domestic invasion” by “capitalist [business] circles, ideological groups, political circles, writers, and media organs who have joined with terrorist organizations on the same front, firing at Turkey.” An anti-Turkey mastermind has collected all of these elements under one roof, he noted, and added that some media groups that openly provide support to terrorists, encourage violence, and use their pens as bullets will never be forgiven.

“More blood is being shed by their pens than by the PKK’s guns. Their fingerprints are on every bullet fired against Turkey. Behind every pain this country feels is their retaliatory attacks. There is ‘intellectual terrorism’ in this country, and it is much more dangerous than the PKK or other terrorist organizations. There is no difference between the PKK attacks and the sentences written in that media,” he wrote.

He then asked that his readers take note of these anti-AKP writers, keep a notebook of their sins, and engrave them in the collective memory; their place, he said, would be in the dustbin of the country’s political history, and they will be convicted of supporting terrorism and using it against Turkey and its people.

He added: “It is time of great reckoning. This is the last phase of the 100-year-old war of independence. The victor will either be the free, great and national state of Turkey, or these internal puppets. “[32]

Under the title “This is a War between Muslims and Infidels,” Yeni Safak‘s Islamist columnist Yusuf Kaplan wrote: “Global evil powers declared an open, all-out war against Turkey, and they provoke terrorism in the country! And what do some of our [people] do? They join hands with the evil powers and they hit Turkey. Instead of foiling their plots, they choke Turkey. This is rebellion! This is treason! Treason!

“Opposition parties are acting exactly as the evil powers want, and they attack Tayyip Erdogan, who made Turkey grow, deepened its strategic goals, and made it the hope of oppressed Muslims of the world, and who defies the global system! And they rely on terrorists in doing their dirty work! This is called treason! Treason!

“A coalition plot was prevented, and the evil powers and their [local] gangs went rabid. The coalition with the CHP [that the foreign powers wanted] did not materialize! With a CHP coalition, they would place an IMF collar around the country’s neck, and would enslave Turkey to Washington, London, Brussels and Tel Aviv once again! When that failed, the evil powers began an all-out attack, increasing terrorism and creating chaos. They are creating the conditions for a [military] coup! I am warning, their next step is a coup! Let’s be very careful.”

Kaplan went on to suggest that Erdogan keep his cool, show the utmost patience, and embrace all sectors of the society with compassion: He added: “The only man to pave Turkey’s way forward, and the only one to unite the Islamic world is Tayyip Erdogan! Allah has placed the love of only one man in the hearts of this umma [greater Islamic nation]: Tayyip Erdogan. This is why he must act with utmost care, consideration, compassion, and good sense, for otherwise everything will be lost! This is not a war between Kurds and Turks, but between Muslims and infidels!”[33]

Erdogan: “Whether It Is Accepted Or Not, The System Of Government In Turkey Has Changed”; A New Constitution Must Now Be Tailored To Provide The Legal Framework For This Change

When coalition talks with the CHP failed, Erdogan, who had repeatedly talked about what type of government could take the nation to a second election in a few months, took a short vacation in his hometown of Rize, on the Black Sea. In a speech there, on August 14, he said: “There is a de-facto president with powers in this country. Not a symbolic president. Whether it is accepted or not, the system of government in Turkey has changed. What is left to do now is to tailor a constitution to match and provide the framework for this de-facto situation.”

Erdogan also commented on his much-opposed, controversial rallies during the election campaign, that he had conducted under the pretext of speaking at inaugurations of public facilities, and said that he would continue to organize these rallies and to speak “directly to his people.”[34]

Leader Of Main Opposition Party CHP: This Is A Civil Coup

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said that Erdogan’s statement regarding the change in Turkey’s system of governance is an acknowledgement of a civil coup. Erdogan, he argued, “is saying that he has changed the constitutional system of government, and then is telling us to go and change the constitution to provide a legal framework for his [illegal] coup.”[35]

MHP Leader: We Cannot Tolerate A Home-Grown Hitler, Stalin, Or Gaddafi

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said in reaction to these statements by Erdogan: “The legitimacy of our government system is based on the people’s sovereignty and our constitution. We know that they [the AKP] broke the moral compass of the country. We know that they lynched the rule of law. But did we miss a war or a coup that changed the constitutional system? God help us if our government system is in the hands of one man! Let it be well known: The Turkish people have no tolerance for a home-grown Hitler, Stalin, or Gaddafi! Let no one with aspirations for dictatorship underestimate the Turkish people!”[36]

Turkish Legal Scholars: Erdogan’s Words – An Admission Of His Violation Of The Constitution; “A Coup Took Place In Turkey On August 14”

Constitutional scholar Professor Ergun Ozbudun, who had drafted a new constitution in 2007 at the behest of the AKP, said in response to Erdogan’s statements: “The declaration made by the president is proof and acknowledgement of the fact that the current situation is against the constitution. He is violating the current constitution; therefore, he wants it to be changed. He is doing this at a time when many people [including journalists, judges and prosecutors] are being imprisoned in Turkey for violating this same constitution by use of force. People who do not even carry a pocket knife are being accused of attempting to change the system in Turkey.”

Law professor Sami Karahan said: “A coup took place in Turkey on August 14, 2015 [i.e. the day Erdogan made these statements]. A regime change, to a de-facto presidential regime, has been announced. The AKP is a master of remaining in government after losing an election, of deceiving everyone by acting as if they are the victims of deception, and of changing the system of government without changing the constitution.

“If they can disregard the constitution and announce a regime change in the country, then others [i.e. the Kurds] can also use the same method and declare their autonomy.”[37]

* R. Krespin is Director of MEMRI’s Turkish Media Project.

© 1998-2015, The Middle East Media Research Institute All Rights Reserved

Endnotes:

[1] Hurriyet, March 22, 2015. With the “birth” metaphor, Erdogan was using a statement by his avowed political enemy Fethullah Gulen (see endnote 14 below) who said the same about the rebirth of Islamism in Turkey – it will be bloody, he said, but like any birth, a good and blessed thing.

[2] Sabah, August 11, 2015 and on August 21, 2015

[3] For more on Erdogan’s war on the Kurds, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1180, Turkey Finally Opens Air Bases To U.S., Joins Fight Against ISIS – But It’s All About Fighting The Kurds, August 12, 2015.

[4] For more on Erdogan’s war on the Kurds, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1180, Turkey Finally Opens Air Bases To U.S., Joins Fight Against ISIS – But It’s All About Fighting The Kurds, August 12, 2015.

[5] Cumhuriyet, August 31, 2015.

[6] Hurriyet, June 8, 2015.

[7] Hurriyet, August 17, 2015.

[8] Hurriyet, August 22, 2015

[9] Cumhuriyet, August 17, 2015.

[10] TodaysZaman, Cumhuriyet, Twitter, August 16-17, 2015.

[11] Hurriyet Daily News, August 19, 2015.

[12] Cumhuriyet, August 28, 2015.

[13] TodaysZaman, September 2, 2015.

[14] Member of the movement of, or sympathizer of, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, once a partner and ally of the AKP and now its arch-enemy, whom the AKP government is hunting down for allegedly attempting to bring down the AKP government by exposing a case of mass corruption in December 2013.

[15] Hurriyet, Todays Zaman, August 23, 2015.

[16] Hurriyet, August 17 and 21, 2015.

[17] Cumhuriyet, June 9, 2015.

[18] Cumhuriyet, June 8, 2015.

[19] Sozcu, June 10, 2015.

[20] Hurriyet, June 8, 2015.

[21] Hurriyet, June 8, 2015.

[22] Milliyet, June 8, 2015.

[23] TGRT Haber, April 19, 2015.

[24] TGRT Haber, May 21, 2015.

[25] CNNTurk TV, June 8, 2015.

[26] Hurriyet, June 8, 2015.

[27] CNNTurk TV, Dogan News Agency, August 6, 2015.

[28] Diken, August 15, 2015.

[29] Takvim, June 3, 2015.

[30] Takvim, August 27, 2015.

[31] Yeni Safak, August 10, 2015.

[32] Yeni Safak, August 26, 2015.

[33] Yeni Safak, August 21, 2015.

[34] Cumhuriyet, August 14, 2015.

[35] Hurriyet Daily News, August 15-16, 2015.

[36] Cumhuriyet, August 16, 2015.

[37] T24, August 16, 2015.