Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Which Path Will President Erdogan Follow: Vengeance or Enlightened?

President Erdogan Has Two Routes to Go; The vengeful or the Creative: Which Will he Take? The answer is all to obvious. The Coup failed. The mutiny has been quashed. The Erdogan forces are carrying out his will. Over 9,000 have been detained, with more to come. A warrant has been issued for one of the President’s military advisors. The government immediately dismissed prosecutors and judges, with about 200 arrested. The details of the coup’s planners and planning are still murky. It’s unknown who was behind it. What is clear is that Erdogan has had a list prepared of whom he wishes to purge in the judiciary, prosecutors office, and military. He blames the coup of Fethullah Gulen and his Hismet Movement. Gulen’s soft Islam emphasizes democracy, science, and interfaith dialogue. His secular, secular Islam has been very popular in Turkey’s secular class, especially among prosecutors, police officials and the officer ranks of the military. He has been purging these ranks for several years, replacing the ousted officials with more devout Islamicists. He now has the opportunity to fulfill his purge. That’s a foregone conclusion. The question is what will he do with the surviving coup leaders, the list of which seems to be growing. He spoke of vengeance the night of the coup. The prime minister vowed “They will pay a heavy price.” He and his prime minister have demanded, demanded – not requested - the extradition of Gulen from the United States. And he is willing to bring back the death penalty – the historical penalty for mutiny. He said in response to the chants of the Turkish mob after the coup failed: “Enough – Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons, for years to come.” A bullet or hangman’s noose is a lot quicker and cheaper. Everything in his past shows the propensity to become a typical dictator willing to use deadly force to perpetuate his power. Yet, there is an alternative in the history of Turkey. Ataturk won the Turkish War of Independence. The rule of the Sultans was a spent force. If Ataturk had followed the French and Russian Revolution, there would then have been regicide and mass executions. Instead, Ataturk first abolished the monarchy and then the Caliphate. The Ottoman Era was history. His solution was to expel the main members of the House of Osman. The one condition was that they had to sign over the properties of the Royal Family to the new Turkish Government. They were given passports with one year terms and had their citizenship revoked. Thus, they could leave Turkey, but never return. They were deported. Only in the past decades have their descendants been allowed to return and become Turkish citizens if they wish. President Erdogan could do that with the major coup leaders. Deport them. Strip them of their assets. Cut them off forever from the Turkey they love. Let them wander the world stateless: Men Without a Country. They are a spent force. They will do no harm in the future. President Erdogan could do that, but he won’t. He’s too vengeful. Ataturk was an inspired leader seeking the well-being of his people. Ataturk freed his people. What will history say of Erdogan? President Erdogan is increasingly corrupted and consumed by power. He is undoubtedly leading his country into an Islamic based, corrupt dictatorship.

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