[Debate] On Syria, As UN Moves Toward Monitors, Turkey Talks NATO

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Thu Apr 12 23:37:30 BST 2012

AKP appears to be losing credibility re: its claim that it's fighting
a good fight against the military, given the exposés revealing the
hollowness of Ergenekon charges,* prosecution of a large number of
journalists in the name of anti-terror, growing discontent of Kurds
and Alevis, the end of the "zero problem with neighbors" policy, and
so on.


MARCH 25, 2012

Erdoğan’s Dilemma

Imagine you are the leader of a regional power, basking in the glow of
global attention to your political and economic success.  You have
managed to consolidate your power by outmaneuvering your opponents,
most critically the military with its habit of pushing out governments
not of its liking.  You are celebrated the world over as a flawed, but
transformative and visionary leader of an emerging democracy.

Now imagine you are faced with the revelation that key parts of the
judiciary on which you have relied to accomplish your political
transformation are controlled by a mafia that has systematically
forged and planted evidence to frame your political opponents. In
particular, the signature trial that brought your archenemy, the
military, to heel – a mammoth court case in which hundreds of officers
are charged with plotting  a coup against you – is based on bogus
evidence.  What exactly do you do?

This is exactly the dilemma that Turkey’ Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces at
the moment.

If he goes on with business as usual, Erdoğan will go down in history
as a political leader who allowed a grotesque miscarriage of justice
to take place under his watch.  If he lets justice prevail he will
have to face the rather substantial embarrassment of reversing course
on a prosecution he has promoted with great fanfare.

So what does he do?

He could redirect blame to his Gülenist allies who have been the key
driving force behind the sham trials. It is Gülen’s disciples in the
police, judiciary and media who have launched and stage-managed these
trials and bear the lion’s share of responsibility. Certainly Erdoğan
would have some justification in claiming that the police and
prosecutors have systematically misled him.

But it would take unusual political skill, even for Erdoğan, to
wrangle out of his own responsibility. Some of the fabrications are so
egregious and amateurish that Erdoğan must have known all along, even
if his own narrow circle were not the instigator.  I documented the
forgeries used to lock up the officers to one of his senior cabinet
members in a private meeting more than a year ago.  Similar
information would have reached him from many other sources, not least
his senior military leaders.

Erdoğan tightly controls the appointment of senior police officers and
members of the judiciary. He could have removed the schemers had he
chosen to do so. Instead, he exploited the coup allegations to rally
political support, reshape the military hierarchy, and pass
constitutional amendments that expanded his powers.

Erdoğan has now painted himself into a corner out of which there is no
easy escape.  The path of least resistance will be to let the fraud
run its course and stand by as a sham court issues certain
convictions. That, however, is the surest way to undermine his future
political legacy.

Erdoğan is arguably the most successful political leader since the
Turkish republic’s founder.  But how he enters history books will be
determined less by his previous accomplishments than by the choices he
makes from this point on.

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 4:48 PM, Riaz K Tayob <riaz.tayob at gmail.com> wrote:
> That is true.
> But there is also a civil/military battle going between the AKP and the
> old guard ... I have not followed it closely enough but AKP is
> struggling with this...
> On 2012/04/12 10:49 PM, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
>> AKP didn't invoke Article 5 for the purpose of warmongering against
>> Israel when Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara and killed 9
>> Turkish citizens.
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Yoshie Furuhashi

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