• Dalia Ziada

Time for a Turkish revolution against Erdogan?



The human rights abuses committed by the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his regime against the Turkish people, the Kurds in northern Syria, and the innocent civilians of Libya, has been all over the news for a while. Most of the inhabitants of Planet Earth are aware of the well-documented support by Erdogan and his party to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists and other terrorist organizations that have been wreaking havoc in the Middle East since the early days of the Arab Spring. Erdogan and his party represent the Turkish branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of an infinite number of local terrorist organizations operating all over the region; e.g. Hamas, Hasm, and Gayyish Elnosra. Because of Erdogan, Turkey abandoned its long-embraced secular principles and turned into an ally to the notorious sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East; i.e. Qatar and Iran. However, the international community has done so little to control Erdogan’s irrational and illegal actions that wasted thousands of innocent lives, so far. Ironically, the card Erdogan is playing to deter the international community from holding him accountable is the exact same practice for which he should be punished. That is his sponsorship of ISIS terrorists. The United States and Russia consider Turkey an important ally, mainly because of his strong economic relations with ISIS terrorists; regardless the fact that this economic partnership is based on steeling the oil of Syria and selling it to Erdogan’s regime via a company owned by Erdogan’s son and known for its illegal practice of money laundering on an international scale. Europe, which treats Turkey as the bastard child most of the time, is deliberately turning a deaf ear to Erdogan’s violations, out of fear of Erdogan releasing ISIS terrorists into European countries. Human rights defenders, worldwide, are the only groups that are strongly standing up for Erdogan. Their persistent documentation of Erdogan’s violations of human rights and oppression of the Turkish citizens is the only window of hope for the large masses of angry, but defeated, Turkish youth. While Erdogan is using Turkey’s wealth to support terrorism and the compulsory militarized youth to fight illegitimate wars in the Middle East, with the sole purpose of manifesting his Muslim Brotherhood’s goal to establish Caliphate system in the region, the Turkish economy fell to a miserable state of poverty and lack of resources and the unemployment rate reached 13.7% at the end of 2019. The practice of democracy in Muslim majority countries is, unfortunately, known for its shocking and unpleasant consequences. That is particularly true when the state in question is going through some economic difficulties and the people are fed up with corrupt secular regimes. Turkey is one major example on this. Erdogan came to power through abusing democracy to convince the Turkish people that his Islamic agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood is the answer to their political and economic troubles. Once Erdogan came to power, he destroyed democracy by announcing the State of Emergency, editing the constitution to give himself broad powers, and issuing the so-called “Terrorism Law” to use against his political opponents, journalists, and the civilian citizens who dare to criticize his policies. In January, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session on Turkey turned into almost an interrogation. The session, which lasted for more than three hours, was concluded by announcing 455 recommendations to improve human rights situation in Turkey. That is, allegedly, the highest number of recommendations a country has ever received on a UPR review. The most prominent recommendations were to condemn the repressive practices, arbitrary arrests, systematic torture and extra-judicial killing by the regime against citizens, especially media workers, political opposition, and young influencers on social media. In March, the US Department of state issued its annual report on the human rights situation in the world and devoted a long chapter for recounting the large number of abuses practiced by Erdogan’s regime, throughout 2019. The American report focused on the cruelty of the Turkish regime in exploiting laws to justify the oppression of citizens and the violation of fundamental rights and freedoms, primarily what is known as the “terrorism law” which Erdogan issued in parallel with the declaration of the state of emergency after the alleged coup attempt, only to use it to pursue political opponents and opinion-holders who reject his foreign and domestic policies. What a cruel scene that allowed Erdogan, the notorious sponsor of terrorism, manipulate the rule of law to silence journalists and public opinion influencers by accusing them of practicing terrorism against his regime! If Erdogan managed to immune himself against the accountability measures of the international community, he cannot secure himself against the angry citizens. The unprecedented crackdown by Erdogan sadistic regime on the Turkish citizens is expected to backfire against him, soon. It is time for the political opposition in Turkey to seize the moment to encourage the people to break the barrier of fear that Erdogan has built over the past few years, and then to participate positively and express its position through non-violent means of resistance that have proven their effectiveness and strong impact around the world.

Key Search Words:

Dalia Ziada - Liberal Democracy Institute - Erdogan - Turkey - Non-violent action - Turkish revolution - human rights - democracy - repression

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