Turkey’s Slippery Slopes
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
The so-called Ottoman illusion should be popular in Turkey, but not if it requires centralization and and strengthening of governmental power. In America we would call it the libertarian moment, which can come only in successful societies. It calls for neither a revolt nor a revolution against anything in particular, but for a simple “let me do my thing”. This, however, can turn into a revolt or a revolution if surpressed, and this can turn into a cycle of anarchy and more surpression. There are a lot of “slippery slopes” here.
This poses a dilemma for Erdogan, who naively has tried to simplify what is going on as a green movement for trees, but which has been taken over by hooligans and worse. If this take-over is indeed what is going on, then he must crack down. But if the motivation of the followers, not the new leaders, is more simple, then he risks empowering those who will fight not merely to be left alone but to defend newly against oppression.
This could present a more difficult dilemma than the one Morsi faces in Egypt, where the populace revolted against oppression, not simply for more freedom, and then refused to abide by a democratic process of majority rule. The Turkish protesters now are revolting against oppression and perhaps now would not accept a referendum that would be won by the Freedom and Justice Party (AKP), even though they might have two weeks ago.
The same dynamics exist in America, where polarization has produced non-functional government and the party that traditionally opposes elitism and foreign adventures has become elitist and may follow a probably counter-productive strategy of seeking votes by bringing “freedom and democracy” to Syria.
If all the other Springs fail, perhaps some day the Persians, Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs, and Kazakhs in Iran can jointly pull one off successfully. And some day we may need an American Spring, if we do not need one already, where the great savior, according to mid-June polls, has failed to save even himself and knows it.