What has happened in Turkey could happen in U.S. - analyst

Turkish journalist and author Ece Temelkuran recalls Americans telling her a few years ago “that can’t happen here,” in reference to Turkey’s creeping authoritarianism coming to the United States. Now, she said in an analysis on Monday for the Washington Post, even respected U.S. analysts are envisioning U.S. President Donald Trump dismissing problematic election results, as Turkey’s ruling party appeared to do just last month.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has been in power in Turkey for 17 years, started with a movement that labelled all non-supporters part of the corrupt elite, according to Temelkuran.

“As the political debate grew increasingly confused, Erdoğan and his circle became respected political actors increasingly more effective in using their political power,” wrote the author, whose latest book is “How to Lose a Country: the 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship”. “What came next was a massive operation to disrupt rationality and distort language.”

The right-wing populists of the AKP used a schizophrenic logic that paralyses reason, and the anger and fear generated by Erdoğan’s statements increased as his minions began popping up everywhere, repeating his views, according to Temelkuran.

“All the old political and judicial mechanisms were steadily taken apart by a ruthless government and party machine, leaving the people of Turkey to struggle to keep what is left of their democracy,” she said. “Losing democracy has reminded us all how much blood, sweat and tears are needed to rebuild it.”

Temelkuran argues that something that was considered impossible in the United States or Turkey years ago is happening now, and it’s part of a worldwide phenomenon that should be dealt with on a global basis, with a global network of solidarity.

“We have to see through the noisy insanity and figure out how this political malady works,” she said. “This is the biggest global crisis of representative democracy in recent memory, and right-wing populism will exploit the current vacuum until the power opposing it becomes strong enough to resist. So let’s get to work!”