What message should Brussels give Erdoy-an? (2).
In this piece I would like to point out that two critical elements of democracy -- freedom of association and the free enterprise system -- are under heavy government pressure.
With regard to the first, Prime Minister Erdoy-an last week directly targeted some associations and told Turkish diplomats around the world to disparage them. He targeted GE-lenist associations around the world just because they no longer support him. Furthermore, the National Intelligence Organization (MyT) issued an order to its units to monitor all religious associations. MyT under that order claims that religious associations have established a "parallel state" and thus pose a threat to the existence of the current state. Therefore, according to MyT, religious associations are the number one threat to the Turkish state.
In a working democracy, as long as officials work within the rule of law, no one cares what religious beliefs the officials follow. In Turkey, however, just because the police and prosecutors carried out the law and conducted operations against the government's corruption, the government demolished the bases of democracy. Government officials, who have been serving in the same position for the last 10 years, suddenly became members of a "parallel state" when they launched an investigation into the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's corruption.
Worst, Erdoy-an is changing the core of civil society in Turkey. As we all know, the core of civil society is nongovernmental associations. However, the Erdoy-an government funnels money to some associations to establish "pro-Erdoy-an associations." In the short term, such a policy will help Erdoy-an stay in power, but in the long term, the essence of those associations changes and they will turn into "governmental nongovernmental associations," which harms the essence of such democratic institutions.
Secondly, Erdoy-an and his ministers are targeting the free enterprise system through various ways. For instance, Interior Minister Efkan Ala claimed on a TV show that a particular bank had earned $2 billion in profits because the bank knew about the police operation beforehand. However, the central bank said this is not true. There is no bank that bought up that many dollars before the corruption operations.
In a normal democracy, if a minister accuses a bank of making $2 billion in profits, he should prove it or resign from his post for two reasons: lying to the public and demonizing a private entrepreneur. However, this is Turkey and we think it is too much to expect a minister to resign just because he lied to us. It is enough for us Turks to see him apologize for lying, but we have lost hope that a minister will apologize for lying to the public.
Furthermore, the AKP government not only lied about the bank but also tried to make the bank go bankrupt. For instance, it is widely believed that government officials ordered Turkish Airlines (THY) and other big business owners to withdraw their money from the bank all at once in the hope that the bank would not be able to meet its customers' demands and would declare bankruptcy.
THY acknowledged that it had withdrawn all its money from the bank which Erdoy-an and his associates had targeted to seize.
Furthermore, Erdoy-an has openly called on families to boycott prep schools and does not bother to consider that he is targeting private entrepreneurs.
EU officials should know all these facts and that Erdoy-an is targeting the basis of democracy. They should send a strong warning to Erdoy-an stop targeting free enterprises, freedom of association and freedom of the press and the separation of powers.
If the EU does not intervene in what Erdoy-an is doing, it should be prepared to deal with yet another mafiocracy on the European continent. Unlike Russia and its mafiocracy, Turkey is an EU candidate and the EU has the key responsibility to stop Turkey from turning into a mafiocracy.
EMRE USLU (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN
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