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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Why aren’t you commenting on Erdogan today? Not sure what thread, but you can give us some idea of where Turkey is going now.
At the request of @buddyhollytoday, who asked me to share my two cents in NT, I decided to post something on the result of yesterday's Istanbul election.

Some background for people who are not familiar, wondering what the hell is going on and why does a freaking local election matter so much, covering all the headlines in Western/European newspapers this morning.

We had local elections throughout Turkey on 31st of March. Opposition won the biggest cities in West, Izmir, Ankara and Istanbul. It was a massive blow for Erdogan and the governing AKP, but especially he couldn't handle the loss of Istanbul, the city he was born in and grew up. Election was won by Imamoglu in Istanbul, a secular, western-minded, pro-European opposition candidate, by about 20,000 votes, very narrow win for a city of Istanbul, where 16 million people live. So AKP and Erdogan's crew pushed hard to reverse the results in Istanbul alone (had to concede defeats in other big cities), legal objections after legal objections, about box's sizes, about this about that, but the result stayed same, Imamoglu received his official mandate to start his job as the Mayor of Istanbul. Since Erdogan repeatedly said ''The ones who lose Istanbul, lose whole of Turkey, we cannot allow that'' It wasn't going to end this way.

AKP this time challanged to annul the election and push for re-run. But it was too late. After 18 days in post, we all thought Imamoglu will stay as the Mayor of Istanbul for the rest of 5 years.

But YSK (Electoral High Commitee of Turkey) annuled the Istanbul election at the request of AKP and Erdogan, citing laughable justifications, ruled for a re-run on 23rd of June. It was the most disgraceful decision of Turkish democracy. Erdogan didn't like the result regarding the biggest city of Turkey and got it annuled. I, personaly, felt defeated. Didn't expect anything but AKP's candidate eventual win, because the media is fully in their control and they told to public lies such as ''opposition stole lots of votes, there was a fraud and that and this'' and I thought they were going to be succesful spreading lies above, also other fake news. Erdogan, as the president who has to stay impartial during local elections, traveled around city neighbourhood by neighbourhood telling if Imamoglu/opposition captures the city, Western countries who are the enemies of Turkey will feel as victors too, voting for 'them' is almost like a treason, so on and so forth.

But It did not work.

Imamoglu, the opposition candidate yesterday won the election with even higher margin, this time the gap was not 20,000 but 850,000. His vote share increased from 48,5 to %54,5, AKP candidate rolled back at %44,5.

That's why I guess in general western/european media was surprised and in shock, and why buddyholly all the way from Canada was curious about Mayoral election in Istanbul. Yes it was a significant defeat for Erdogan regime, but still we are far from over about him. He just won't go away easily.
 

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Erdogan is a true disgrace for Turkey but at least the world is now awaken from the delusion of Turkey being a "normal" "western" country, even a potential UE member. It isn't and it never was, unfortunately. It is a great country in all regards but rampant islamization, of which Erdogan isn't cause but consequence, is seriously harming it in the long run.

Congrats to Istambulites and to all secular-minded Turks but I don't know if they will prevail in the long run, demography isn't on their side.
 

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Look at the bright side: The fact that the results were abided and there was no vote tampering to get Erdogan's guy to win speaks well of Turkey's democracy.

Curiously enough, I had made another thread about Turkey's S-400 deal.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Look at the bright side: The fact that the results were abided and there was no vote tampering to get Erdogan's guy to win speaks well of Turkey's democracy.

Curiously enough, I had made another thread about Turkey's S-400 deal.
Technicaly speaking our election system was always decent, there were some procedural problems here and there all the time, but elections alone are mostly fair. But democracy is not what happens on the day of election for sure, in this case, campaigns are very harsh, in favour of Erdogan's party. His party gets 5 hours alone broadcast time in state TV, while other candidates in total barely make up 1 hour during 3-4 months of campaign time. Streets are full of his pics or his guys' depending on the election. You see his face while going for a run, 9 out of 10 times, 1 for other candidates. Even non-state, private media are almost fully controlled by his allies. I think only two nespapers are, out of 20 something nation wide ones, not pro-AKP.

Yes I noticed that thread, but honestly I have nothing to say, I don't know his plans, sometimes he acts very pro Russian then all of a sudden he shoots a Russian jet (remember 2016), sometimes he is pro-American (at first hailed Trump as the victor of non-establishment) then all of a sudden fights with him, calls him Islamophobic etc. The guy has no plan, just lives day by day. He was elected as the president by -mostly- Islamists for making them proud Turks. They think, all Western countries (before it was everybody but now Russia is the good guy) hate Turkey, USA, Israel, Germany etc. So they need a saviour to fight them all. [Like Orban way] Very fucked up stuff, but this election really taught him a lesson I think. Incredible, he gambled with that disgraceful re-run and backfired spectacularly. Main reason IMO is Islamists predominantly live in central and northern Turkey, so he is slowly losing his hand in biggest cities of Western Turkey, especially young population here is growing fed up of his fearmongering and everyone hates us antics.
 

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it means what it is well known already...that Erdogan wins only because of the votes he gets in the underdeveloped religious fanatic population in east Turkey
 

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Since Erdogan repeatedly said ''The ones who lose Istanbul, lose whole of Turkey, we cannot allow that'' It wasn't going to end this way.

That's why I guess in general western/european media was surprised and in shock, and why buddyholly all the way from Canada was curious about Mayoral election in Istanbul. Yes it was a significant defeat for Erdogan regime, but still we are far from over about him. He just won't go away easily.
Thanks for the post. I was hoping you might see this as the beginning of the end for Erdogan, given his admission that Istanbul is key for any government.

But you do not seem too hopeful.
 

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Thanks for the post. I was hoping you might see this as the beginning of the end for Erdogan, given his admission that Istanbul is key for any government.

But you do not seem too hopeful.
Why would that be his end? He caters to the ever growing majority of traditional religious population. Secular minded, "westernized" Turks live mainly in Istambul and other few western cities. The rest of the country of 80 million live in the deep countryside, which is heavily islamic. They have as many kids as Allah gives, so the future isn' t bright. Even large areas of Istambul itself are already heavy with that kind of demographic. Erdogan's purpose is to break the republic's secular constitutional spine, he has achieved a lot already in that respect by submitting the army, the judiciary and other institutions.
 

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Why would that be his end? He caters to the ever growing majority of traditional religious population. Secular minded, "westernized" Turks live mainly in Istambul and other few western cities. The rest of the country of 80 million live in the deep countryside, which is heavily islamic. They have as many kids as Allah gives, so the future isn' t bright. Even large areas of Istambul itself are already heavy with that kind of demographic. Erdogan's purpose is to break the republic's secular constitutional spine, he has achieved a lot already in that respect by submitting the army, the judiciary and other institutions.
He said so, himself.

It sometimes happens with wannabe dictators. When a crack appears, they realize the game is up.
 

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It means democracy is the best system as it ensures no party can hold power forever and this means people feel free.
 

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I was in Instabul and Turkey several times, I think 4 times, but I'm not quite sure. First I think in 2004, and last time in 2013, in May, when I witnessed anti-government and anti-Erdogan protests, which grew in size a little bit later, but I was already back home. Sometimes outsiders can notice some little things, changes. When I was there for the first time, the face of Kemal Ataturk was all around the city. Big posters, murals, pictures, books, postcards. It reminded me a bit of Yugoslavia's Tito, together with powerful military and generals who were important persons not just in their military roles. It was a little strange to see a sort of personality cult in a democracy, but I soon found out that Turkey is unique place in many ways.

Each next time I went there, you could still see Kemal but always a little bit less. I noticed that.

When there was a coup attempt, I was careful in my views about a violent overthrow of Erdogan.There was a high probability it would have created even more problems in that complex country. The only good way to get rid of him is to vote him out. Even if he has a stronger grip on media than his opponents. Sometimes he even tried to control the social media. But the change is more than possible, when the critical mass is reached.

I understand the appeal of Erdogan. He led Turkey to some big economic growth, especially in his first years. He was himself previously the mayor of Istanbul. No doubt that he has been riding a big wave of popular approval. And he curtailed the power of the military who used to have a strong say in civil affairs, which was sort of a tradition in modern Turkey. And that was actually a democratic move, like it or not. He is still popular in Turkey, although there has been a visible Erdogan fatigue in Turkey, for years now. It has been growing, not dwindling.

Erdogan is a populist, a nationalist and moderate Islamist at the same time. One of the main characteristics of Turkish seculars is that many of them are fiercely nationalistic. Even some on the left, although they are not so ready to admit it like the right wingers. This has created a long lasting problems with a certain percentage of ethnic Kurds, not all of them. But the problem is more visible in larger areas where Kurds live in compact communities, where they form a majority. For Kurds, Erdogan was initially a much better solution than the secularists, because of his focus on common religion rather than differences. Strictly speaking, Islam should supersede any national, ethnic, or linguistic differences, but Erdogan is neither strictly nationalist, nor strictly islamist. Just like his country.

Inside Turkey, the problem with Erdogan is obviously his authoritarian tendencies. But, imo, his foreign policy is even more detrimental to Turkey. The man creates enemies everywhere, and the most dangerous thing is when you make enemies among your neighbors. He is inconsistent and unpredictable , which creates headaches for partners of Turkey. No doubt, this is an exceptionally skillful and smart man, but prone to overplaying his hand. I think this will cost him his power eventually, hopefully without much turbulence inside the country. But he did manage to expose Turkey on too many fronts. If something happens, it can create more instability in Turkey and the region. If Turkey didn't have such a strong military, I would say even a chaotic situation would be possible. Turkey has been targeted by some outside forces more in the past decade, this is not a conspiracy theory, and this also has to do with Erdogan's foreign policy mismanagement. But Turkish people are very capable of rallying around their flag, even with a very divisive leader. When you have a complex country, leaders will be divisive more often than not.

I hope Erdogan will go soon, (imo, if he was a true patriot, he should have given up politics about 5-6 years ago, for the sake of the country), but obviously not at the cost of some major instability inside and/or outside of Turkey. But next year, every f.ing thing in the entire world will be more possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Fair points there, ssin, I do not demonise him like lots of Kemalists here (I will call them that instead of seculars, because they worship Atatürk and are definitely ultra nationalists, particulary on Kurdish rights). Erdogan was clever, while starting off his political adventure, he convinced EU leaders that he will transform this place, promising a Muslim and Western friendly country, we were going to be unique, he began with recognising lots of rights when it comes to Kurdish people (he took most of them back, post-2013 btw), it was unprecedented and loads of Kemalists opposed it. I supported him (not by voting, I was younger than 18 at the time.) He also looked serious in his bid towards EU membership and never seemed so nationalist like our Kemalist politicians were before. European Union loved this man. And there you go, this was our honeymoon in recent history.

But RTE never intended to stay as liberal. Gezi protests took off in 2013, it is where he definitely said 'fuck off with EU' and decided to heavily silence the dissent. Look, my parents are religious people and traditionally voting for Erdogan, and the year of 2013 was the only time we had a fierce fight regarding politics, as a country we were that much polarised, parents were fighting kids, friends unfriending each other, and these are still happening (luckily we are on much better terms with my family even though we disagree on pretty much everything). It is a sad outcome indeed for my country, yesterday it was the same with Poland, polarisation is a poison of modern times politics. You become so alienated to your countrymen, and I would never wish this feeling to anybody.

Between 2004-2012 this country was happy, I was proud to be its compatriot, I was hosting my European friends (which I had the chance to know them from Interrail journeys) and we actually could talk hours while traversing the streets of Istanbul without even touching the political subjects. at the moment? Impossible. Our leader wants enemies, and acts hostile to stay in the power, because now he lost the Economy is doing fantastic card and his European friends, his only bullet is deep Anatolia's strong Islamic beliefs and xenophobia. He does not represent the educated and the young. He is being despised. We facepalm everytime he talks, especially those rallies where he tries to provoke the Western nations. It is just tragic. Erdogan, as ssin rightly identified, has changed, it is clear, or maybe he was always a man like this and lied, manipulated everybody and used liberalism as a way of coming to power. Who knows. Orban pulled the very same.

Istanbul, Constantinople or Carigrad has always been the cradle of European civilisation, I would never wish this city and its surroundings to be talked this way, populism and Islamism are killing our tolerant nature and I see no way out in the near future. I am not one of those dreamy people, this country will not be a member of EU, it does not necessarily need the Union to become prosperous, rich and tolerant too; we just need to glue our Eastern/Islamic/Anatolian way of see things (you shall never remove it, without looking wannabe and fake) with our Western/secular/cosmopolitan tendencies. We can live together. It shouldn't be THIS hard, and we do not need disgusting populists to achieve this feat.
 

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If 97% of Turkey follows islam why is there a secular and Islamist struggle in Turkey?

From what little I know about Turkey(close to negligible) it's the the most progressive nation with a majority muslim population?

Is this related to the Syrian refugee crisis?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If 97% of Turkey follows islam why is there a secular and Islamist struggle in Turkey?

From what little I know about Turkey(close to negligible) it's the the most progressive nation with a majority muslim population?
Can't object that. But hardly a success story, right? It is always easy to compete with the likes of Iran or Lebanon. We are of course doing miles better than them, and are much more welcoming. When I visited Albania and BiH, I always thought we should aim that kind of approach. Such nice examples.
 

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Fair points there, ssin, I do not demonise him like lots of Kemalists here (I will call them that instead of seculars, because they worship Atatürk and are definitely ultra nationalists, particulary on Kurdish rights). Erdogan was clever, while starting off his political adventure, he convinced EU leaders that he will transform this place, promising a Muslim and Western friendly country, we were going to be unique, he began with recognising lots of rights when it comes to Kurdish people (he took most of them back, post-2013 btw), it was unprecedented and loads of Kemalists opposed it. I supported him (not by voting, I was younger than 18 at the time.) He also looked serious in his bid towards EU membership and never seemed so nationalist like our Kemalist politicians were before. European Union loved this man. And there you go, this was our honeymoon in recent history.

But RTE never intended to stay as liberal. Gezi protests took off in 2013, it is where he definitely said 'fuck off with EU' and decided to heavily silence the dissent. Look, my parents are religious people and traditionally voting for Erdogan, and the year of 2013 was the only time we had a fierce fight regarding politics, as a country we were that much polarised, parents were fighting kids, friends befriending each other, and these are still happening (luckily we are on much better terms with my family even though we disagree on pretty much everything). It is a sad outcome indeed for my country, yesterday it was the same with Poland, polarisation is a poison of modern times politics. You become so alienated to your countrymen, and I would never wish this feeling to anybody.

Between 2004-2012 this country was happy, I was proud to be its compatriot, I was hosting my European friends (which I had the chance to know them from Interrail journeys) and we actually could talk hours while traversing the streets of Istanbul without even touching the political subjects. at the moment? Impossible. Our leader wants enemies, and acts hostile to stay in the power, because now he lost the Economy is doing fantastic card and his European friends, his only bullet is deep Anatolia's strong Islamic beliefs and xenophobia. He does not represent the educated and the young. He is being despised. We facepalm everytime he talks, especially those rallies where he tries to provoke the Western nations. It is just tragic. Erdogan, as ssin rightly identified, has changed, it is clear, or maybe he was always a man like this and lied, manipulated everybody and used liberalism as a way of coming to power. Who knows. Orban pulled the very same.

Istanbul, Constantinople or Carigrad has always been the cradle of European civilisation, I would never wish this city and its surroundings to be talked this way, populism and Islamism are killing our tolerant nature and I see no way out in the near future. I am not one of those dreamy people, this country will not be a member of EU, it does not necessarily need it to become prosperous, rich and tolerant too; we just need to glue our Eastern/Islamic/Anatolian way of see things (you shall never remove it, without looking wannabe and fake) with our Western/secular/cosmopolitan tendencies. We can live together. It shouldn't be THIS hard, and we do not need disgusting populists to achieve this feat.
I like this post, objective and truthful, and also personal and mature. ;)

I only once really fought about politics with my late father, almost 30 years ago. I was immediately so sorry (although I proved to be right in any possible way) that I literally swore I would never do that again. I can only talk about it, not quarrel. I still avoid fighting over politics with my family and friends. It is an understatement to say it is not worthy. For me, it is utterly ridiculous. When I realized it is mostly about power of some idiots with doubtful moral qualities, who will even intentionally create divisions to stay in power, I came to despise politicians in general. It is a rare occasion when I think I like some politician anywhere in the world. But as for my friends, I don't mind any kind of politics. Except maybe the far right, but I never had such friends, so I don't know. I have known some professed communists. I forgive them if they are too young, artistic or they don't know shit about history. Frida was a communist, even Hemingway when he was young. There have been also some fascist assholes among great artists. I forgive them too, especially if they are dead.

I don't think the feeling of pride should be connected to any personalities or politics. Istanbul is indeed a magical place, and Turkey is a great country, with or without Erdogan. And Europe has seen much worse politicians than him. I feel shame or pride only for what I personally do or have done, and I only represent myself. This doesn't mean I'm not patriotic - I am, although I've always been very individualistic. Even when I was a kid. But, patriotism for me is wishing well for my own community and immediate surroundings, not only for myself. So, I'm a Serbian patriot, but also some kind of Balkan patriot, it should include Turkey, I guess. But Turkey is too big player to put it in the same basket. I'm not a patriot in the sense that I will ever take credit for something good some Serb may have done. No, never. I like this quote by Ayn Rand very much: "A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race - and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin".
 

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Discussion Starter #16

It is incredible he is boasting about this 😂 It may be because we sent our minorities (mainly Greeks, Armenians) packing after centuries of tolerance granted them by our predecessor empire, following the foundation of our nation state, any chance?? Loads of churches, synagogues in TR have no congregation at all or very few, in fact. While the fact that we protect the buildings instead of demolishing them is a decent/lawful act, it is hardly subject of pride that they do not exist anymore, one would have thought.
 

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LoL Erdogan gloating about Armenian genocide and Greek ethnic cleansing. He could not be more cynical.
 

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From the external politics point of view Turkey is one of the most interesting countries in the entire world. Its imperial history and geographical positioning have always been a solid foundation for its aspirations to become the first league player. And they indeed are the "swing" country and have their own (justified) imperial ambitions. Being a cultural and religious link and a transit route between Asia and Europe, islam and christianity, the West and the East coupled with big population and military force gives them power and tools to effectively negotiate and play with anyone.

That's also why Turkey is so volatile: being a member of NATO but allying with Putin when needed. From talking with EU about potential membership to blackmailing them with uncontrolled Middle East immigrants inflow. Not the most peaceful place to live in but hell - so fascinating!

And well, one may hate Erdogan and AKP but we have to pay credit where its due - it's incredible how he manages to stay in front of this big country and nation for almost 20 years now. He will never be another Atatürk though, no one will.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
LoL Erdogan gloating about Armenian genocide and Greek ethnic cleansing. He could not be more cynical.
Some Erdogan voters / Islamist apologists these days are discussing about Cordoba mosque - cathedral? For me it is wrong to convert a historical mosque to a cathedral but at least that was done ages ago, in 1236 to be exact. Same story with Seville Cathedral/Almohad mosque.

There are still masses there, right? It would be nice if you at least converted it to a museum, maybe.
 

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Some Erdogan voters / Islamist apologists these days are discussing about Cordoba mosque - cathedral? For me it was wrong to convert a historical mosque to a cathedral but at least it was done centuries before, in 1236 to be exact. Same story with Seville Cathedral/Almohad mosque.

There are still masses there, right? It would be nice if you at least converted it to a museum, maybe.
LoL as you say, it was done 800 yrs ago. Plus, mosque was built on the site of a destroyed by the invading muslims Christian church 🤷‍♂️
 
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