Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdoğan has become a target after being accused of bargaining with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan
Widely credited with abolishing slavery in the U.S., Abraham Lincoln also preserved his nation's unity and modernized its economy, but was not always embraced by Americans. Bestowing upon him the title of "Great Emancipator" was not as easy then as it is today. Even after the U.S. Civil War, Lincoln was seen as an ambivalent man by intellectuals, while southerners criticized his views with hostility and hate. According to historians, he was a poorly-educated backwoods farm boy and a bumbler who mishandled the war. Even today, some discredit him, arguing he wasn't an abolitionist.
Lincoln regarded slavery as morally wrong and an unjust and evil institution. However, it was sanctioned in the U.S. constitution. The word "slavery" wasn't explicitly written in the supreme law of the land but it was implied.
Though he insisted that the phrase "all men are created equal" should be applied to all citizens, he did not advocate for the same social and political rights to be placed upon them. Even so, he was accused of supporting "negro equality" by his opponents. During the Illinois race for the U.S. Senate in 1858, he announced that he was opposed to blacks having the right to vote and intermarry with whites.
Abolitionists, on the other hand, knew exactly what should be done: slavery needed to immediately be abolished. They didn't care about the existing political system or the current law. They didn't count Lincoln among them at the outset of his political career. He was only able to win over committed abolitionists in 1865, only after the adoption of 13th Amendment to the U.S. constitution.
The critics argue that Lincoln's views on slavery evolved over time. However, moral dimensions of the era, which dragged the nation eventually into a civil war, are often forgotten. He was committed to end slavery but preferred to go through step by step. Still his assassin shouted "Sic semper tyrannis!" (Ever thus to tyrants!) when he shot him in the head.
Turkey's Prime Minister Erdoğan, who is committed to end the Kurdish-Turkish conflict, has become a target after the announcement that peace talks are ongoing with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. Erdoğan is being portrayed as a traitor and a tyrant for pushing to end the bloody conflict, to preserve Turkey's union, and to modernize the economy. His opponents sharply criticize him for bargaining with the PKK. He is accused of being disrespectful to the memory of the Turkish soldiers, while some Kurds condemned him for acting reluctantly. Intellectual elites argue that it is easy to make peace; but most people don't share the same conviction.
Erdoğan, who said he was ready to 'drink hemlock poison' if it would pave the way for the peace, is not a tyrant, just another Lincoln, a decisive individual pressing ahead against all odds.