Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 17, 2017

Goodbye Turkey

The wannbe Sultan of a new Ottoman Reich, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, let his people vote in a referendum about new extensive powers for his office.

Erdogan is the Turkish president since 2014. He has since continuously broken the constitution by wheeling partisan powers way beyond the neutral, only formally executive role the office of the president is supposed to have.

Yesterday's "yes"/"no" vote was allegedly won by the "yes" side with 51.4% of the votes. This even though the "no" vote won in all major cities. In Turkey the vote in the major cities usually reflects the total. The campaign for the vote was very unfair with all state media and offices pushing for a "yes". Opposition politicians were put to jail or threatened with retribution. Media opposing Erdogan were suppressed or completely closed down.

There is significant reasons to believe that the vote count was fraudulently manipulated. On the day of the vote the election commission, stuffed with Erdogan cronies, suddenly allowed ballots without the official stamp to be counted. According to Turkish election laws each ballot, and each envelope of a postal vote, needs to be officially stamped before voting starts. This is supposed to prevent ballot stuffing with ballots printed outside of the official channels. The election commission has given no reason yet why it thought that such a last minute rule change, in opposition to the law, was necessary or even legal. Use of unstamped ballots was reported out of many election localities in rural areas where the "yes" votes now were the majority. Additionally video was recorded of local election workers stamping ballots after they had been used for voting.

The opposition is protesting and will go to court. But it will likely have little success. Erdogan has removed all judges and other legal personal that could go against him. An amateurish coup attempt against him, which he knew about before it happened, was used by him to clean all public offices of people not aligned with his party and program.

The new powers of the presidency will only come into force after the next election for the presidency. But everyone expects that Erdogan will use them right away. With the issue of the referendum put aside Erdogan is now free to escalate interior and exterior conflicts. We can expect new Turkish operations in Syria as well as in Iraq to be launched soon.

In the 1990s I extensively traveled in Turkey - alone, by local buses and mostly in the east. The country was waking up and in an intellectual and commercial growing phase. During the last years a new wave of conservatism has stopped that move. My friends there report of stagnation.

Turkey does not have the economic and intellectual power to become a new Ottoman Reich. It will fail in new expansive endeavors. But the attempt alone will be destructive for Turkey as well as for the countries around it.

Turkey is no longer a democracy. It is now a one man dictatorship with an expansive and distinct Islamist agenda. To change that, should the Turkish people be inclined so, will require the removal of Erdogan through some act of force.

Posted by b on April 17, 2017 at 19:04 UTC | Permalink


thanks b.. the whole thing is a sham! erdogan has pushed turkey to the edge of a cliff, making like he is the only one to save it from going over.. it is amazing how destructive he has been to turkey in such a short amount of time, and of course his mind is riveted on the death penalty of all things! geez louise... how does this play out in international politics with regard to russia and the usa with a madman at the helm of turkey?

Posted by: james | Apr 17 2017 19:08 utc | 1

After Turkey's demise, give Constantinople, Smyrna, Trebizond, all of Cyprus, et al back to Greece and create a Kurdish homeland. Let the Turks "stew" in their own juices.

Posted by: Barbarossa | Apr 17 2017 19:17 utc | 2

Time will tell the tale. Will the U.S. add another dictator to its ranks of the willing, or . . . . . . . ? How will it deal with the problem of a NATO member turned into a dictatorship? Oh, forgot about those Arab countries that are dictatorships today, how clumsy of MOI. If "E" restarts his battle with the Kurd's, will the U.S. abandon them again? More questions than answers.

Posted by: Eugene | Apr 17 2017 19:30 utc | 3

Have look at this:
Gladio B in Turkey
(YT Video, Sibel Edmonds, 56 min)

and read this: NATO’s Currency War against Turkey

We landed spot on the point, we have been planning for.

Posted by: maningi | Apr 17 2017 19:30 utc | 4

Confirmed: Rutte, Erdogan just gave a great show!

Posted by: nmb | Apr 17 2017 19:45 utc | 5

Why is this such a big thing for peeps here? There was a referendum and Erdogan won, deal with it. People wanted this. Just accept and move on.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 17 2017 19:53 utc | 6

@6 anon1.. what did you think of b's post, or did you read it? how closely have you followed turkey the past 5 or so years? looks like you have been living in a cave, or getting exposure only via the msm, or more specifically the daily sabah lol...

Posted by: james | Apr 17 2017 20:04 utc | 7

There is some irony that the "Yes" votes from Turks living in Germany, Belgium and Holland pushed Erdogan over the top.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Apr 17 2017 20:05 utc | 8

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 17, 2017 3:53:29 PM | 6

Erdogan did not win but managed to split Turkey right down the middle with one part of the middle feeling cheated, and a lot of people in prison for nothing.

Turkish people will have to deal with it, but it is not a recipe for stability.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 17 2017 20:16 utc | 9

I doubt he will be invited to join the EU anytime soon, Europe has a red line on the introduction of the death penalty. Nor do they do not like to be threatened
or blackmailed with millions of refugees.

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 17 2017 20:17 utc | 10

Erdogan wont be in power long. We have always preferred working with dictators rather than Democracies. Once he is gone and replaced with someone we can control then it will be easier to get things done. How he gets taken out I wont bother to guess.

Posted by: Pft | Apr 17 2017 20:30 utc | 11

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 17, 2017 4:17:20 PM | 10

Agree -- Erdogan voluntarily disqualifying Turkey from the EU may be a feature, not a bug -- face-saving for both -- double-good. Hit that reset button.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 17 2017 20:38 utc | 12

Posted by: harrylaw | Apr 17, 2017 4:17:20 PM | 10

Yeah, but that has never been in the cards anyway as Europe's 'Christian' conservatives refused. There probably won't be the non visa entry for Turkish people either that had been agreed in exchange for the solution of the 'refugee problem'.

Europe's - and NATO's - policy concerning Turkey has always been hypocritical. Erdogan basically called the bluff.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 17 2017 20:59 utc | 13

It does not matter how many of his own people he kills or how many suffer during his reign of authoritarian conservatism...America will support him as long as he helps our ruling power elite and he is not liberal.

Posted by: Charles Misfeldt | Apr 17 2017 21:22 utc | 14

Anon1 6
52% of Turks wanted it. (as somebody pointed out) The fun is watching a concentration or power. You're right though. It does happen. See Venezuela. Or here in the US where Rethugs had no problem with Bush/Cheney concentrating Prez power until Obama took office. (and vice versa)

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 17 2017 21:36 utc | 15

I'm wondering how this will affect Ankara's (or should I say Erdogan's?) foreign policy and geopolitical alignment. External meddling/ blackmail is much more difficult now - which might be a disaster for NATO, should Erdogan choose to...

Posted by: smuks | Apr 17 2017 21:47 utc | 16

Pft at 11

You present an intelligent educated guess. When Erd is no longer useful, he will be gone.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 17 2017 21:49 utc | 17

Like b, I visited Turkey in 1998, and was impressed by its vibrancy and potential, although I was certain it would never be allowed into EU. IMO, Erdogan has ruined that vibrancy and turned Turkey into a Rogue State through his support for Terrorism and the invasion of Syria as well as his treatment of Kurds. Clearly, Erdogan has only one thing on his mind and no amount of carrots/sticks can dissuade him. The Turkish people deserve so much better since they've been flimflammed like so many NATO polities--essentially victims of the Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 17 2017 21:51 utc | 18

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 17, 2017 5:36:19 PM | 15

It is more vile than that. With the openly rigged referendum there is no legitimacy left. When there is no law or vote to correct people are forced to take things into their own hand.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 17 2017 21:56 utc | 19

turkey was put in a very tight spot by usa war on iraq
which turkey had the wisdom to avoid
+ destruction of Libya
+ ongoing destruction of Syria
there would be no refugees fleeing into turkey today if not for usa warmongering
thanks george, thanks dick, thanks barack, thanks hillary, thanks donald

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 17 2017 21:58 utc | 20

NATO’s Currency War against Turkey

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 17 2017 22:03 utc | 21

While the US is to blame for much of the Mid-East's "re-accommodation"[1], Erdogan has done this by himself. His efforts to reislamize Turkey could have only one outcome...another Mid-East country being turned into shithole...and yes, that is the end results of a theocracy. The US & Israel are responsible for turning Iraq/Libya/Syria into shitholes, but Turkey is Erdogan's doing. A hostile Islamic republic in NATO...hmmm...Turkey has always played a double game, now it's a threesome.

[1]See United Airlines for the definition of

Posted by: S Brennan | Apr 17 2017 22:41 utc | 22

"... The opposition is protesting and will go to court. But it will likely have little success. Erdogan has removed all judges and other legal personal that could go against him. An amateurish coup attempt against him, which he knew about before it happened, was used by him to clean all public offices of people not aligned with his party and program ..."

It does look more and more as if Erdogan had a hand in organising the coup in some way, even if the people involved in the putsch attempt were his political enemies. Erdogan could have purged these people earlier or simply let them continue working but under close surveillance. Will he now drop his insistence on the extradition of Fethullah Gulen back to Ankara or will he decide Gulen might be better left in the US to use to extract other concessions out of Washington?

Posted by: Jen | Apr 17 2017 22:44 utc | 23

fascism is on the rise worldwide, not just in turkey. erdogan has more or less said, yeah ... but what are ya gonna do about it - the election. same thing with a stolen constitutional referendum here in thailand. obama put in place even more power for the us president ... and the congress is even more reactionary than he is.

it's not the individual figures, they're just taking advantage of fear, uncertainty, and doubt created by years of ducking all substantive issues by the political class worldwide ... 'globalism' is gonna save us. 'globalism' is the ascendancy of corporate power ... just as mussolini observed of fascism. the acute problem is fascism with 'a vision' ... as in germany last century and the usofa in this 'new american century'.

unless and until we the world's peoples take control of our governments, 'globalism' will continue to play out. whatever its endpoint, it won't be good.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 17 2017 22:49 utc | 24

I really couldnt give a damn what happens within Turkey's (or any other country's) borders but if Erdogan makes further attempts to undermine the sovereignty of Syria and Iraq, then he deserves a bullet through the brain. That may well happen if & when the bodybags start piling up and the officer corps subsequently get seriously itchy trigger fingers in the near future.

Posted by: Nick | Apr 17 2017 22:49 utc | 25

nick @ 25
you say
if Erdogan makes further attempts to undermine the sovereignty of Syria and Iraq, then he deserves a bullet through the brain
so let me ask you
does usa undermine the sovereignty of syria and iraq?
what do leaders of usa deserve?

Posted by: mauisurfer | Apr 17 2017 23:05 utc | 26

Is Turkey, at its present state of development, suited to an Anglo Saxon model of government, Representative Democracy in a Parliamentary System with multiple competitive parties and media lightly regulated and independent of the state?

That model is failing in the West.

I think Turkey is better served by a strong, development-oriented executive at present. Whether Erdogan is the best choice for the role is a matter for the Turks to decide.

Posted by: Godfree Roberts | Apr 17 2017 23:52 utc | 27

Erdogan has served his main purpose now by turning Turkey from a secular Democratic state to a religious autharitarian theocracy based on Sharia Law and Islam. This has been the Anglo-American-Israeli strategy for the Middle East since the Jerusalem Conference in 1978 and in Central Asia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Gülen is the power behind Turkey’s AKP regime of Erdogan who is a product of Gülen’s schools and the Muslim Brotherhood all under control of Anglo-American intelligence agencies. Proof that the alleged Gülen’s coup was in fact an intelligence op most likely designed to fail so Erdogan could consolidate power.

Erdogan has been key in financing ISIS since his oil and shipping companies are keys in buying stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil from ISIS so they can continue to destabilize Syria and Iraq.

if Erdogan tries to go his own way he will be taken down. Gülen is the real power in Turkey through his followers in Turkey. He is hunkered down under protection in PA since his exile from Turkey in 1999 after a real coup attempt that failed. Erdogans request for Gülen’s extradition is likely a ruse to reinforce the story of the coup that allowed him to undermine Turkeys Democracy.

Posted by: Pft | Apr 18 2017 0:20 utc | 28

Turkey's got the balls to lock up the Gulen CIA + NATO operatives. Now, they will be hanged for treason. No wonder comprador Europe is freaking out; it unmasks them for the cowards they are.
Turkey can join the Eurasian Project and have a future as a proud nation. The Wilsonian's 'make the world safe for democracy' worked, now Wilsonian progressives and their AIPAC handlers can live or die with the democratic will of the Turkish People.

Posted by: jpb | Apr 18 2017 0:22 utc | 29

@27 gr, 'a strong, development-oriented executive'

that's who tee-rump is impersonating : mussolini. erdogan ... tee-tump ... great minds think alike. Make Turkey Great Again!

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 0:58 utc | 30

Pft @28:

... the alleged Gülen’s coup was in fact an intelligence op most likely designed to fail so Erdogan could consolidate power.
This was my read as well.

I imagine that if Erdogan was warned by the Russians, as some say, it's because the Russians were fed that info.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2017 1:08 utc | 31

@Jen 23
It doesn't even matter whether Erdogan 'had a hand' or not. The two opposing factions were bound to crash sooner or later, the question was just who would pick the moment and win the game. Erdogan would probably have loved to purge them earlier, but he needed a justification. Of course, the lists were long prepared.
Gülen won't be coming back anyway, but he can probably be used to pressure the US.

@jfl 24
I have no idea what 'globalism' means, maybe at some point someone will explain to me.
Fascism on the other hand is, unfortunately, a standard instrument of the elite in times of crisis. Keep people distracted with racism and propaganda, and kill those who refuse to be distracted. Surprisingly simple and successful.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 18 2017 1:23 utc | 32

I think its worth noting how much as been done, since Russia intervened in Syria, to provide Russia with false and misleading info that keeps them off-balance.

1. Spring 2016: Separating moderate rebels from extremists (never gonna happen)

2. June 2016: Turkish coup (not what it seems)

3. Late summer/early fall: Kerry's peace plan (never gonna happen)

4. November 2016: Election of Trump (anticipation ...)

5. December 2016: Flynn talks with R. Ambassador (Russia relents)

6. April 2017: Attack on airfield that leaves runway intact (WTF?)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2017 1:24 utc | 33

smuks @32:

I have no idea what 'globalism' means
It means the end of sovereignty. The end of government check on corporate and oligarchic power.

Imagine a world that looks like Ukraine does today.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2017 1:46 utc | 34

Sorry for veering off-topic, well, slightly off-topic, Turkey is a member of NATO is it not and treaty bound to respond to invocation of Article 5 by a NATO ally? Like the US for instance.

What would/ What will Erdogan do in this case?

The topic I want to raise again is of course North Korea.

US Deploys Two More Aircraft Carriers Toward Korean Peninsula: Yonhap

According to a report by South Korea's primary news outlet, Yonhap, the Pentagon has directed a total of three US aircraft carriers toward the Korean Peninsula, citing a South Korean government source.

Yonhap reports that in addition to the CVN-70 Carl Vinson, which is expected to arrive off the South Korean coast on April 25, the CVN-76 Ronald Reagan - currently in home port in Yokosuka, Japan - and the CVN-68 Nimitz carrier group - currently undergoing final pre-deployment assessment, Composite Training Unit Exercise off Oregon - will enter the Sea of Japan next week. According to the senior government official. the US and South Korea are discussing joint drills, which will include the three aircraft carriers and other ships.

This certainly looks like the US pre-positioning for a strike on North Korea doesn't it.

And if the US launches a pre-emptive strike on North Korea the North Koreans will of course have the right to respond militarily anyway they want (as is their inalienable right of course).

So how would they respond?

Well, their first response would probably be to target any US military assets in theatre that they could - starting of course with the Naval Carrier group (likely USS Carl Vinson) that made the strike.

So what would other targets entail? US Naval assets, US bases in South Korea & Japan, Guam, Hawaii?

Could North Korea really strike a significant blow against all these US military assets?

Well, of course not, they'd need help from their two big Northern neighbours wouldn't they.

But how to get Russia & China involved - and on their side??!?!?

I'm sure the North Koreans have something up their sleeves - and thinking about it for five minutes gives a possible answer to how they would do it - "Occam's Razor" - it's fairly obvious.

North Korean subs located near the US carrier fleet would launch volleys of missiles against the Russians & Chinese surface ships shadowing the US Fleets.

This would force an immediate response to this aggression by the Russian/ Chinese.

Do you really think the Russians are in any position to pass up the opportunity to sink a US Carrier Battle group after being attacked by (apparently) US naval forces?

Afterall, there is every reason to believe the US would do this given their aggressive posture of late - this would be a great chance to give the US a bloody nose back by sinking some of their prized naval assets.

The missiles come from a submarine - and afterall, hasn't Trump just boasted how powerful US submarines are? It must have been them firing these missiles at the Russian & Chinese ships.

So, if the North Koreans successfully managed to draw Russia & China in on their side with a "False Flag" attack like this - you then have the US invoking Article 5 against China, Russia & North Korea - and voila - WW3 just like that.

Surely this is the North Koreans most likely result? As well as lobbing missiles at all the South Korean and Japanese nuke plants of course. And attacking the 30,000 US forces in South Korea.

Global Submarine Fleets - By the Numbers.

1. North Korea (78 submarines)
2. United States (72)
3. China (69)
4. Russia (63)
5. Iran (31)
6. India (17)

Certainly a lot of solid US allies there in the Top 6 aren't there.

As well as "False Flagging" the Russians & Chinese I'd expect the North Koreans to send some missiles at any and all nuclear power plants in Japan, electricity plants, dams, and of course military bases - and the same in South Korea.

I wouldn't expect them to specifically target Seoul? What would be the point of that but to draw international ire?

They'd go after South Korean bridges, nuclear power plants, dams, electricity power plants and of course military bases and assets wherever they could.

Another possibility that I haven't seen mentioned many places is what if the North Koreans have positioned a dozen of their subs of the US West Coast?

What would be the Top 10 targets of North Korean subs on the US West Coast (I'm including the states of Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona - not sure if they could reach these two - but there are some juicy targets for a potential North Korean attack).

1. San Diego US Naval Headquarters
2. Pearl Harbor - Hawaii (Priceless PR for DPRK).
3. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco) - striking a symbolic blow against the US.
4. Columbia Generation Station (Nuclear) - Benton County, Washington.
5. Diablo Canyon (Nuclear) - Avila Beach, California.
6. Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station (Nuclear) - Tonopah, Arizona.
7. Alphabet/ Google Headquarters - Menlo Park (Silicon Valley), California.
8. Apple Headquarters - Cupertino (Silicon Valley), California.
9. Facebook Headquarters - Menlo Park (Silicon Valley), California.
10. Amazon Headquarters - Seattle, Washington State.

Actually, it'd be interesting to see a list drawn up of perhaps the Top 100 targets North Korean subs could hit on the US West Coast - Electricity, Dams, Surveillance State (FAAA), Bridges, Bases etc.

And then of course if they can drag their northern neighbours into the conflagration - well, does it even matter at that point?

Posted by: Julian | Apr 18 2017 1:47 utc | 35

Smuks @ 32: You are right that Erdogan needed a justification and the poor fools who brought the putsch forward fell for a ruse he prepared.

What I suspect Erdogan could have wanted was a state of emergency (because it probably would give him additional powers under the Turkish constitution) under which he and the AKP could prepare the referendum. The botched putsch attempt was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: eliminate the Gulenist elements and bring on the state of emergency.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 18 2017 2:02 utc | 36

Turkey reminds me a bit of Ukraine where the country is split roughly 50/50 between groups which cannot reconcile their differences. This is just what the Middle East needs-- another country in roiling turmoil.

Posted by: Edward | Apr 18 2017 2:21 utc | 37

@35 I would think Mar-a-lago would be a tempting target. Florida might be a bit of a
stretch for NK missiles.

Posted by: dh | Apr 18 2017 2:27 utc | 38

Be interesting to see what happens now regards Turkey/Syria. How will Erdogan's plans align with Trump regime plans. Erdo and Trump may well be best buddies when it comes to Syria.

Interview wit Elijah Magnier. Starts off on the bus bombing, then he expands onto how he sees things shaping up re Turkey Qatar US.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 18 2017 3:04 utc | 39

It seems crazy to attack NK.

Maybe the real target is the foul-mouthed, anti-US Philippine President?

Using China's failure to reign-in NK to 'mask intention to grab' strategically-placed Philippines would be yuuge upset win. Does anyone recall Trump's remarks about Philippines during the campaign?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2017 3:15 utc | 40

the psychopath hotline, as paveway might say ...

Trump calls to congratulate Erdogan over Turkish referendum

The American president’s congratulatory tone appears to run counter to an earlier statement by the US State Department, asserting that the referendum took place in an environment where “fundamental freedoms essential to a genuinely democratic process were curtailed.”

Apart from congratulating, thanking and voicing support for Erdogan, Trump also talked about his recent missile attack against the Syrian government.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 3:41 utc | 41

@37 edward... that is the way i see it too... a clearly divided country.. perfect for a authoritarian and worse) leader like erdogan.. that doesn't bode well for the whole area and is a winning recipe for the war party here..

Posted by: james | Apr 18 2017 4:37 utc | 42

Posted by: jfl | Apr 17, 2017 11:41:25 PM | 41

Turkey is part of the US designed Saudi, Egypt, Israel, Jordan alliance. Erdogan made sure he is the only person in Turkey the US can bet on.

Turkey under AKP/Erdogan will not go Eurasia, they will go Middle East.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 4:46 utc | 43

37, 42

Patrick Cockburn on Turkey risking a proxy war

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 5:14 utc | 44

If the west stands to gain anything from such a thing, then I can totally picture a color revolution (or turkish spring) in the making. But that remains to be seen for so long as Erdogan is an ally to the west, Turkey will be allowed to spiral downwards (albeit somewhat regrettably to some) into an islamic dictatorship.

Posted by: never mind | Apr 18 2017 5:18 utc | 45

Erdo helped NATO (the US) to destroy Iraq.
Erdo helps to destroy Syria.
and Erdo also helps to destroy Turkey.
Is he a Kurdish agent? Or maybe he works for Mossad/the CIA, who knows.

Posted by: the truth | Apr 18 2017 5:46 utc | 46

@anon1 6

b : 'According to Turkish election laws each ballot, and each envelope of a postal vote, needs to be officially stamped before voting starts. This is supposed to prevent ballot stuffing with ballots printed outside of the official channels. The election commission has given no reason yet why it thought that such a last minute rule change, in opposition to the law, was necessary or even legal.'

according to wikipedia:

  ~1,500,000=unstamped=illegal ballots.

that's the recipe for an illegitimate vote => an illegitimate constitution => an illegitimate government. it is not at all apparent that erdogan won. the peeps here need not accept the result as legitimate, although that will make no difference to erdogan.

it is quite similar to the dictator's referendum here in thailand on his 'new' constitution. during the run-up to the vote discussion, not to mention criticism, of his made-to-order constitution was 'illegal' - there's no law in thailand at present but you would be thrown in prison for discussing / criticizing the dic's constitution by the dic's decree.

thailand has a - potentially - exemplary paper ballot voting system at the precinct level, with the tally counted locally under the observation of the people who cast the votes.

but then all the local tallies were (said to have been) iPhoned in to the dic's election central - and never heard of again. the dic' merely announced that he'd won ... by a landslide. verification impossible. same thing happened with the last dic's constitutional referendum in 2007.

not a word of criticism was published in any of the local msm, or international msm for that matter, following the dic's announcement.

not so different from electronic voting in the us, brazil, or e-voting nations elsewhere, as far discovering the actual result of the vote is concerned.

illegitimate tallies yield illegitimate results yield illegitimate governments. that fact is never lost on the people, no matter how loudly the 'authorities' whistle past the graveyard, with their 'fresh' grinning game faces set in stone.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 6:14 utc | 47

james 7

I have been following it quite regulary, I havent understood the whole
hysteria about Turkey.

somebody 9 / Curtis 15

Well AKP and ther other parties that supported a yes-vote won so that is a win for them - and this is important -
his voters. Thats how democracy works. Split society? Sure like any
other society today, but I dont see any hysteria for that?

Is the problem with a referndum? yes or no? Or with Erdogan? Yes or no? It seems to be the latter and quite frankly that
view on Erdogan is wholly up to the turkish voters to decide on.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18 2017 6:48 utc | 48

The opposition is protesting and will go to court. But it will likely have little success. Erdogan has removed all judges and other legal personal that could go against him. An amateurish coup attempt against him, which he knew about before it happened, was used by him to clean all public offices of people not aligned with his party and program.

The new powers of the presidency will only come into force after the next election for the presidency. But everyone expects that Erdogan will use them right away.

It's also a bit on the nose that a radical change to Turkey's Constitution could be approved by a simple majority. Turks would be more comfortable with Erdogan's victory if the referendum sought an "overwhelming majority" of votes, say, 60% as a minimum.
Considering that Brexit was decided on the basis of a simple majority and is of similar importance, perhaps the Turkish referendum reflects the New Normal in these divisive, propaganda-soaked times. Modern politicians have way too many agendas which did not come from, and are not in the best interests of, The People.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 18 2017 7:03 utc | 49


Core of Democracy is not only the rule of the majority but the protection of the minority. That is why we like to have constitutions and the separation of powers. The alternative is mob rule.

If the minority is hindered in political life, or worse, prosecuted and killed because the majority say so (feasible in your view?), then the society is no longer democratic but a Tyranny of the Majority.

The Muslim Brotherhood often saying it likes democracy and wants to take part of it. But when it wins it does not accept the equal rights of the minority as it collides with its view of Islamic law. Morsi in Egypt showed such. Erdogan once said he would use democracy to travel to power and then "get off the tram" of democracy as soon as feasible. He is now off.

Posted by: b | Apr 18 2017 7:18 utc | 50

Somehow one can understand why some people would fall for Erdogan. After all, the EU blames him for his will to reintroduce death penalty, but the EU economy has no problem doing most of its dough with the US, China or KSA.
As for the OSCE when was the last time we heard them about the Gulf? ah yes those ar not members. But who put Turkey within OSCE if not for NATO objectives?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 18 2017 7:43 utc | 51

Turkey is no longer a democracy.
What was it under the Ataturkist military coup regimes? All this is hardly new. The Ataturkists were not a popular regime either - it was the domination of the minority westernised urban elite.

Erdogan has been consistently popularly elected, and has a large mandate in Anatolia. It may be that he cheated in this referendum in order to get a majority, I don't know. But he had, and continues to have, large scale support. It is undeniable, but doesn't suit western points of view. Of course, he is also going rather mad, and certainly has megalomaniac tendencies.

It's what people call these days "elected dictatorship". Apparently it's a dictatorship and not democracy, even if you're popularly elected, if you don't correspond to some externally imposed criteria. However, if, like Britain, less than half the parliamentary representatives are elected at all, and the head of state is an unchosen hereditary ruler, it is still nevertheless a democracy. Difficult one, that.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 18 2017 8:18 utc | 52

Anti-Erdogan demonstrators march against referendum results in Istanbul

Results announced on Sunday showed the Turkish President had 51.36 percent voting ‘Yes’ and 48.64 percent of voters choosing ‘No’, figures highly contested by Turkish opposition parties as well as international observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), who put forward allegations of electoral fraud.

that's the same deaf, dumb, and blind outfit that cannot record the ukrainian fascists' attacks on donbass. but they can see this fraud. what a difference one's 'point of view' makes, eh?

Turkish-backed rebels attack Kurdish forces in northern Syria

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 A.M.) – The Turkish-backed rebels launched a surprise attack against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on late Monday evening, targeting the latter’s positions in the northern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate.

wasting no time now in carrying out his wishes, now that der führer has ensconced himself in turkey.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 8:42 utc | 53

@52 lg, 'However, if, like Britain, less than half the parliamentary representatives are elected at all ...'

that's the 'house of lords', right? they constitute more than half of the 'peoples' representatives in britain?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 8:46 utc | 54

@52 lg

i have no trouble terming the potus, with his/her/its vast and growing powers, an 'elected dictatorship'.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 8:47 utc | 55


Re: minority

I understand your point but imo that is a classic liberal view of democracy, since Turkey isnt following liberalism, why should they follow that criteria?

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18 2017 9:06 utc | 56

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18, 2017 5:06:59 AM | 56

Because it happens to be half of their country and they need the loyalty of half of their country.
They risk being Iraq, Syria or Ukraine.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 9:20 utc | 57


But how is this different from any other country that is very often split the same?
If the other side had won with 51%, we(st) wouldnt have this discussion.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18 2017 9:33 utc | 58

@56 anon1

the rights of all people of a given polity are to be respected/honored no matter the 'brand' of government. you're saying that's a 'liberal' failing? the turks have a history of genocidal solutions to 'minority' problems. just as do the 'liberal democracies'. they're a sort of chosen people, too, in their own eyes.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 9:35 utc | 59

@58 anon

there are two questions ..

1. was there a majority for erdogan's constitution?
2. what is the likely outcome of erdogonian rule under the new constitution?

i think that 1. is suspect, unproven. and that counting the illegal votes invalidates the election. an illegitimate election is an illegitimate election.

i think that, 2, as a direct result of this new constitution erdogan is going to assume full dictatorial powers ... that that is why, in spite of the massive coercion leading up to the election, the new constitution was in fact defeated at the polls.

i wonder, immediately, what will happen to those pushing for an investigation of the vote? i can't imagine any such investigation being undertaken by the erdogonian government.

i may be wrong on the first two ... without the third, we'll never know.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 9:44 utc | 60

Too many people underestimate Erdogan purely because his tactics seem or are reported as crude & brutish yet his ascension to a position where he has complete dominance over Turkey's political, economic, military and judicial sectors is now pretty much complete, and unlike other commentators I do not believe he will be a short term bully.
Erdogan now dominates across all those sectors pretty much unopposed and history teaches us with such assholes, that by the time the reality of the 'erdogan state' forces all the Joe Citizens to wake up, the AKP machine will have people in place throughout all sectors so any potential threats will be nipped in the bud. It may well be Recep Tayyip Erdogan's grandson whose actions are so casually self serving that causes Turks to finally resist.
Whenever it does occur, the days of Turkish governments changing with the regularity of the citizen's underwear have now gone - not that it would matter too much if the culture of "It's a new day, time for a new political party of the same old assholes" did continue because real power has been shifted out of the legislature and into the prez's office.
However it is unlikely that Erdogan could tolerate the loss of prestige that he believes persistent legislative electoral defeats would amount to, so he will be using the AKP machine to prevent any 'embarassment'.
Simply put Turkey is screwed for the next few decades.

As for the ME and the rise of neo-Ottoman culture, Turkey's most recent activities in Syria indicate Erdogan & the AKP now realise that a return to full Turkish dominance of the ME is unlikely tho there are still plenty of fish to be fried.
When fukusi declare a once viable but obdurate ME state to be "ungovernable" - something that mob of greedy whitefellas allege with increasing regularity, what they really mean is "we cannot find a way for us to control all of the place all of the time". Perfect for neo-Ottomanism V2.0. Turkey will rattle its sabres, whine about corrupt/apostate/terrorist Kurds, and then help themselves to a big slice of whatever nation fukasi have just fucked over, as if it were a delicious dessert rather than a nation of oppressed human beings.
Of course if at some later date an opportunity presented, Turkey would make a grab for the whole pie, but no rush. In the meantime they plan on enriching the upper hierarchy of AKP and the rest of the arriviste noveau Turkish elite by gobbling all the loose chunks around the edges of all the made to fail ME nations.

As for the so-called refugee problem of course Erdogan et al will threaten to open the faucet but they have no more control over that than anyone else. It has been the negative reports from all the poor fuckers who got to europe and discovered that euro-tolerance is a sham & that yes, some of them may get lucky and become marginally better off economically, all ME refugees are much worse off culturally & ethically in Europe, and that is what has reduced the number of ME refugees seeking a life in western whitefellaland.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Apr 18 2017 10:04 utc | 61

Same applies to Brexit: Forcing a majority (let's assume for now) decision down the throats of almost half the population isn't 'democracy', and it doesn't bode well for the future of a country. Not everyone can agree on every issue, but at least a society needs dialogue, to follow a path everyone can 'somewhat accept'. Disregarding this is a recipe for civil war and/ or fascism.

@Jack 34
In other words, 'globalism' is the same as unrestrained capitalism. Hmm...really, nothing more?

@Jen 36
95% agreed - I'm unsure about the 'ruse' part, but it's entirely possible. Yet I find it hard to condemn Erdogan for this, since the alternative would have been the other side doing the same to him and his loyals, wouldn't you think? Note that the coup attempt was on the same day as the release of the '28 pages'.

@somebody 43
Turkey is in the Middle East anyway. The Q is, what it will do on the global chessboard...?

Posted by: smuks | Apr 18 2017 10:13 utc | 62

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18, 2017 5:33:30 AM | 58

"If the other side had won with 51%, we(st) wouldnt have this discussion."

That exactly is the point. You don't change the constitution - ie the fundamental legislation - with a - contested - margin like that.

"Other" countries that are split "the same way" have learnt by history not to try. Quite often they learnt the hard way - by devastating civil war.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 18, 2017 6:13:33 AM | 62

Part of Turkey is Europe.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 10:40 utc | 63


No I meant that if the other side would have won, regardless of their views, we wouldnt have this discussion. We should differ between ones own emotions vs the people actually voting and their views. Somehow is voting a threat nowadays, its a very weird notion.

This is is what democracy is about, people voting and they have done that now,
how is by the way a referendum somehow bad when dealing with questions like these?
If turks in majority support and want Erdogan to rule, well let them?

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18 2017 12:04 utc | 64

Trump Told Erdogan United States To Cooperate With Turkey In Fight Against PKK: CNN Turk

US President Donald Trump has stold his Turkish counterpart that the United States will closely cooperate with Turkey in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other issues regarding the situation in Syria and Iraq, CNN Turkey reported on Tuesday citing own sources.

another 180 degree turn, head for rump - rump for head, by the dynamic duo of tee-rump and tee-rex ... or do they in fact even speak to each other?

and what do 'his' generals think of this? who will they use to kill their former best friends, the ypj, now that their boss has decided that to help his soul-brother erdogan with the upcoming kurdish genocide? ... in syria and iraq as well as in turkey? ... and who will invade and subdue raqqa?

but wait, how about the isis just change uniforms? vanquish themselves and takeover their own 'capital'? what economy! brilliant! and the usofa can arm them and act as their airforce during the kurdish genocide.

tee-rump's metamorphoses. and we're just at the beginning of book 1!

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 12:15 utc | 65

@64 anon

you keep talking as thought this were a clear victory at the polls for erdogan, just as it was clearly the saaf that dropped chemical weapons on the innocents in idlib. it is not clear what happened in either case, but in both the msm outcome seems to me the least likely to be true.

erdogan is not a 'right' guy. the election was unfair to begin with and the count seems unfair in the aftermath.

both the turkish referendum and the 'chemical attack' in idlib need to be investigated before we can hope to know what happened.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 18 2017 12:20 utc | 66

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18, 2017 8:04:09 AM | 64

1. How do you think would have been the results of this referendum if the question asked was

"Do you want Turkey's constitution to remain: yes or no?"

2. How can you subscribe a contract with yes or no when you don't get a copy of the fine print?

3. How would you deal with polls indicating that people have changed their opinion - have a daily referendum?

4. How do you deal with people getting different space explaining stuff media, imprisonment of opponents, no free speech?

5. How do we find out if the result was cheated? Where is the independent body to decide?

It is clear that Erdogan intends to rule by megaphone with the power to frame the facts. It is not the same as rule by the people.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 12:35 utc | 67


1. Dont understand your point here.
2. I think the amendments werent controversial at all, have you looked through the 18 proposed ones?,_2017#Constitutional_amendments
3. General philosophical problem of democracy sure
4. General problem of democracy, like in any other society.
5. This is like democrats/MSM that cant accept that Trump. While I am sure that any legitimate accusation is reviewed. Who said it was a fraud? The opposition? Western media? Come one. And also, the referendum wasnt about Erdogan itself as some here seems to believe.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18 2017 12:58 utc | 68

Part of this is the urban-rural divide.

Team Obama took advantage of this to win in 2008 even while he insulted the rurals. Trump proved it's possible to win enough with the rurals with Hillary decreases in the cities.

"And so it has been in other places as well. In the Brexit vote, London strongly voted to stay in the EU, while less densely populated industrial centers and more rural areas voted to leave. Most recently, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's anti-democratic referendum in Turkey narrowly passed despite strong opposition in Istanbul and Ankara, because it was strongly supported in outlying areas. The same is likely to happen in France's upcoming presidential election, in which Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front will do well outside of Paris while losing the capital in a landslide."

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 18 2017 13:04 utc | 69

Same in Egypt, big cities and industrial areas voted overwhelmingly for the communist candidate, Sabbahi. Not exactly the Gulf cup of tea. But since the poor have more children and are more receptive to free meat and small cash distributions by the MB....

Posted by: Mina | Apr 18 2017 13:34 utc | 70

"To change that, should the Turkish people be inclined so, will require the removal of Erdogan through some act of force."

That was tried with the coup. The US replacement would be CIA-stooge Gulen who is more of a extreme Islamist than Erdogan. I bet he would have no problem dispatching US-created and trained terrorists towards the Russian Federation.

The irony is that the US, and increasingly other vassal states, are clearly one-party states (the Wealth Party?) with an 'elected' front to preserve a sham of 'democracy'. The front man can change but the Anglo-Zionist policy remains - Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump ... More war, more destabilization, more corporate profits.

Posted by: Yonatan | Apr 18 2017 13:45 utc | 71

Erdogan warned OSCE to "know your place" as in thou shalt not question the president who has taken on more power to himself. One thing OSCE complained about is a biased media.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 18 2017 13:54 utc | 72

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18, 2017 8:58:44 AM | 68

1. It is easy to paint a naysayer as traitor but not someone who says yes to the existing order.

2, One - strange - example
"President gets power to create States"

So Erdogan will gerrymander the cities with Anatolia?

Two - elections of the president with parlament.

"Next presidential and General elections will be held on 3 November 2019. If Grand Assembly decides early elections, both will be held at the same day. Board of Judges and Prosecutors elections will be made within 30 days of approval of this law. Military courts will be abolished once the law comes into force."

You get systems where MPs vote in the government through coalition talks if necessary and systems where presidential elections are separate from parliamentary elections.

The new Turkish system means there is no need for coalition building and the president can play off parties according to his wish.

It also depends how ballot papers are designed - to vote for the party same as for the president?

There is no possibility for parliament to remove the president who does the effective governing.

Eg the united states has two bodies in control of the president, with different election dates. In Britain and Germany MPs decide on the chancellor/president. France has different election dates for legislative parliament and executive president.

The Turkish president can rule by decree. Parliament redoing it by own laws is not really a remedy if Erdogan plays catchup and divides the MPs (which he is good at)

Basically there are no effective checks and ballances.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 14:24 utc | 73

re 54

they constitute more than half of the 'peoples' representatives in britain?
Yes, that's right. 800 appointed or hereditary Lords, 650 elected MPs.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 18 2017 14:31 utc | 74

1. Still dont get it? Who is a traitor?
2. I assume that is a bad translation on wikipedai, looking up the turkish original text doesnt say anything like that.

3. How is different days for electing President and Parliament un-democratic? Thats how its managed in many other nations in this world.
Not to mention its nothing new for Turkey itself.

Where does it say that parliament have no effect on the president? In fact Article 5 says that:

"To overcome a presidential veto, the Parliament needs to adopt the same bill with an absolute majority (301)."

Logical to me.

Also, Article 4 clearly impose check and balance, also Article 11, where the president cant reject an outcome of an election i.e.

However all this is pretty irrelevant, this is the outcome turks inside and also turks outside Turkey wanted. I think their views should be respected.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18 2017 14:40 utc | 75

Also, unmarked/unstamped ballots were allowed at the last minute - against Turkish laws. Ballot stuffing would have never been easier in this referendum. Funny that the one time it was allowed was during this super important vote.

Is a referendum that eliminates democracy democratic?

Posted by: George Smiley | Apr 18 2017 18:28 utc | 76
Observer says 2.5 million Turkish referendum votes could have been manipulated
Up to 2.5 million votes could have been manipulated in Sunday's Turkish referendum that ended in a close "yes" vote for greater presidential powers, an Austrian member of the Council of Europe observer mission said on Tuesday.
However Turkish authorities are not cooperating with efforts to investigate claims of possible election fraud, according to a senior official in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which conducted a separate monitoring mission.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed criticisms of the vote, saying foreign observers should "know their place". The foreign ministry said foreign monitors lacked objectivity and impartiality.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 18 2017 18:57 utc | 77
Opponents seek to annul Turkish vote as Erdogan's new powers become reality
By Gulsen Solaker and Tuvan Gumrukcu | ANKARA
Turkey's main opposition began a battle on Tuesday to annul a referendum handing President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers, while the bar association and an international monitor said an illegal move by electoral authorities may have swung the vote.
A defiant Erdogan, whose narrow victory exposed the nation's deep divisions, has said Sunday's vote ended all debate on the more powerful presidency he has long sought, and told European observers who criticised it: "talk to the hand".
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, whose job will cease to exist once the constitutional changes take full effect, said Erdogan would be invited to rejoin the ruling AK Party as soon as official results are announced, a sign the government has no intention of waiting to see the outcome of opposition appeals.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 18 2017 19:01 utc | 78

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 18, 2017 10:40:10 AM | 75

1) Did Erdogan say this, yes or no?

“Who says no? The PKK says no. Who says no? Qandil says no. Who says no? Those who want to divide this country say no. Those who are against our flag say no,” Erdoğan said.

2. You are supposed to separate jurisdiction, legislative and executive powers. The idea is that one controls the others.

If you have one ballot that elects legislative, jurisdiction and executive that is absolute power for the president that gets elected as he will bring his faction into parliament at the same time.

Or do you seriously think Erdogan's idea is to give Turkish people a chance to hedge between the parties they elect for parliament and the president who is a member of one party?

As is, Erdogan will control the ballot for president and parliament and the judiciary that will be appointed by him.

As in all likelihood the elections were manipulated this time, and there is no way for remedy, Turkish people won't have the chance to stop him by the ballot box either.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 21:03 utc | 79

79/ add to 1
Try Erdogan's rethoric by replacing the no with yes. It just does not work.
So yes, it was very important how the referendum was worded.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 18 2017 21:05 utc | 80


Good article. Erdogan has removed any incentive for Syria to try to rein in YPG's desire to support PKK. If Erdogan wants more overt involvement in the Syrian war it can come into his own yard.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 19 2017 4:45 utc | 81

@ 'b' | 50
"Core of Democracy is not only the rule of the majority but the protection of the minority. The alternative is mob rule."

I've come to this thread late, but excellent point, b.
And so very relevant to Turkey where AKP actively support mob rule and vigiliantism to further their cause or policies.
- Irfan Degirmenci's (a news presenter) house was shot at by AK supporter group simply because he said on air that he was voting 'No' - and after he was thrown out of his job for saying so!
- Often the police are employed in such activity - parading around Gazi Mahalle with Hurda Par extremists all armed and hunting Alevis after the faux coup;
- often using religious groups - armed groups of Hurda Par and others were immediately dispatched by mosques on the night of the faux coup;
- the Diyanet often encourqges such behaviour - the disgusting labelling of people wanting to celebrate Mew Year as 'kefir' which led ulitmately to the nightclub shooting! Only after the shooting did the diyanet deny having made such comments! But it never reyracted the label of 'kefir'!!
- And we can even look at the hideously racist behaviour of vigilante groups that tore down a make-shift few tents in which Syrians were living - the police are never anywhere to be seen until the damage has been done.
- Even on issues of mass paedophilia in Quran courses the hand of AK mobs can be seen protecting abusers and attacking lawyers and victims.

Mob rule indeed!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Apr 19 2017 11:22 utc | 82

I also travelled extensively over the east of Turkey, but in the mid to late 1980s. The country and its people impressed me by their variety, their love of life and their intelligence. Turkey is not Turkish in the manner most people are taught to believe it also home to Kurds, Laz, Assyrians, Arabs and a rich variety of immigrants from all over the Middle East and beyond. They weren't refugees when I was there. All have their own cultures and customs. Erdogan's grand plan to make it the centre of a Turkic Empire stretching from Europe and into China, and taking in parts of Syria, Iran and other nations, where pockets of Turkic-speaking people can be found, will definitely fail over time. With this latest folly, that time may come a lot sooner than he thinks.

Posted by: Bryan Hemming | Apr 19 2017 18:45 utc | 83

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