A couple of days ago the Washington Post published an editorial titled "Turkey needs to turn away from Mr. Erdoğan's repression." It was stated in the article that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan achieved his ninth election victory and became the 12th president of Turkey. As it was outlined in the title, the article went on by providing evidence for why this strong man should not be left completely uncontrolled.
The article also touched upon Erdoğan's victory speech in which he said that he wanted to establish a "new" Turkey and that he would be sensitive to the desires of all the people of the country. After these statements, without changing its course, the article went on to say that the country was facing a deep polarization and some of Erdoğan's actions in recent years raised suspicion regarding their harmony with democracy. It also raised the question of whether a new Turkey would be different from the old one.
The article further suggested that Turkey, as a Muslim country, which keeps itself away from radical elements in the region, should have bridged the gap between the Middle East and EU and that this would be highly appreciated. However, this was hindered due to Erdoğan's "erratic and disconcerting" behavior.
For example, during his election rallies, Erdoğan criticized Israel with harsh words. It is highly interesting that the Washington Post associates the reason why the ideal of democratic Turkey failed with Erdoğan's firm stance against Israel, which used brutal and disproportionate force and killed some 2,000 Palestinians. It also claimed that Turkey hosted and protected the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which held 49 Turkish people, including a consul, captive and threatened Turkey saying they would bomb the Atatürk Dam by challenging Erdoğan. It is the same ISIS that is said to be trained by the collaboration of the American CIA, British MI6 and the Israeli MOSSAD to wage war against all terror organizations in the region for the security of Israel with a strategy called "the hornet's nest," according to what former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden revealed.
Recently, the Washington Post interviewed an ISIS commander and tried to prove Turkey's support for ISIS. So, which one should we believe now? A former NSA agent who is speaking through the documents he hacked or a vague ISIS commander?
Let us behave reasonably and display a balanced approach toward both claims. As strong allies, Turkey and the U.S. summoned all moderate Syrian opposition groups to the U.N. and held meetings in which their own representatives took part in order to rid Syria of Bashar al-Assad. It is a difficult task for Turkey to control a 700-kilometer-long border with Syria and to make a clear distinction between moderate and extremist groups when they were brought to Turkey for treatment. Although Turkey was later left alone by the U.S. in this struggle and the whole world sat back and watched the atrocity, Turkey welcomed 1.2 million refugees and got them out of the warzone. As it was too difficult to be controlled, the U.S. deployed a special team to the region not to insure that the support for moderate groups would not go to radical ones.
It is not possible for Turkey to overlook such extremism that jeopardizes its own security. I would not even want to think that the U.S. supports ISIS. Here, both countries are allies that move on the same path to protect democracy and peace.
Any attitude that will jeopardize this alliance should also be disapproved of by the U.S. administration. It is more or less certain that Erdoğan will administrate the country for the next 10 years. This is an opportunity for both the U.S. and EU and you will see that this will be approved of frequently in the future.
In order to prove Erdoğan's malignancy, the Washington Post said that the freedom of expression in the country worsened to an unprecedented extent. It also asserted that Erdoğan took the Gezi protests personally and terrorized the people and that the country is overwhelmed with corruption scandals. It suggested without any hesitation that Turkey should get rid of Erdoğan.
I need to remind the Washington Post and those who are of the same opinion: The new Turkey is not Erdoğan's project. It is rather a strong demand that is directly supported by 65 percent to 70 percent of the country and not opposed by the vast majority of the remainder.
The country's democracy is under construction and is striving to get rid of the totalitarian Kemalist state that pleased the West but ruined its own people. For 12 years, Erdoğan has been politically pioneering this transformation process by encountering numerous coup attempts, which he overcame with politics. Obviously, he makes mistakes like everyone else. However, as he moves on the right path, he garners more popular support in every election.
The idea of a new Turkey is not a theory, but a reality. This is a great chance for the entire world. If the West gives up turning a blind eye to the developments in Turkey and adopts fair criticism, it will turn into a game in which all parties win.
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