"With the result of Sunday’s referendum on its constitution, Turkey as we know it is over; it is history.
The architecture of its governance designed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – Turkey’s founder – has, after a wobbly series of experiments with the military and a secular elite in charge, been dismantled by the leader of the Justice and Development party (AKP). The collapse of the rule of law that took place in slow motion after the Gezi Park protests has been followed by the erosion of the separation of powers and the annihilation of the independent media.
It’s hard not to notice the striking resemblance to the sequence of events in Germany from 1933: the Reichstag fire, the Night of the Long Knives, the infamous referendum in 1934. The similarities give one a powerful sense of history copy-and-pasting itself. No wonder those who once shrugged at such comparisons are now in shock – particularly when they heard the harsh rhetoric of President Erdoğan’s victory speech: he pledged to an ecstatic crowd that one of his highest priorities is to reintroduce capital punishment." Guardian
Once upon a time SWMBO and I lived in Izmir, Turkey. We were there for two very pleasant years wedged in between two of my VN War tours of duty. The weather was much like that in central, coastal, California. We had a very nice, modern and cheap apartment that looked out over Izmir Bay. The restaurants were very good (and cheap). Turkish cuisine is one of the world's great cooking and eating experiences. I had a good job in the NATO headquarters in the city. Life was splendid.
We traveled all over western Turkey in our blue '67 Mustang (great car) and I traveled throughout the country in the course of my duties. It was evident then ('69 to '71) that the country was very much in transition from an Ottoman past in which the cities were glittering marvels of mixed European and Islamic culture and the rural areas were only slowly growing to accept the idea of a Westernized future. Holding the process of change together were the institutions of Kemalist secularism and Turkish nationalism. The national schools curriculum was probably the most potent weapon in the battle for modernism. Conscription into the armed forces was yet another tool. The Turkish Army was then the school of the citizen.
Somehow all that turned to ashes in the general rise of political Islamism across the Islamic culture continent. Now we have the spectacle of a president of the Turkish Republic (a former semi-pro "jock" of some kind) who calls for a resumption of capital punishment while his wife stands at his side swaddled up like an infant.
The Turkish author of this Guardian article has it right. Turkey as I knew it is dead and the notion that Erdogan's Turkey is anything like the old Turkey is folly. We should stop pretending that this Turkey is an ally. pl