NEITHER PRE-EMPTIVE NOR AUTHORITARIAN…AND BY THE WAY, NOT A DOCTRINE
The AK Party goverment’s groundbreaking outreach was met with the approval of the majority of the people, contrary to the expectations of pundits who are always disappointed by the ballot boxes
by Bekir L. Yıldırım
Prime Minister Erdoğan’s “authoritarian tendencies” have long been a mantra for Erdoğan-bashers in Turkey and abroad. Mustafa Akyol, a prolific Turkish journalist, enriched the terminology with the contribution of “Turkey’s preemptive authoritarianism doctrine” in an article of the same title (Al Monitor, April 10, 2014). The article provoked me to respond because it represents a mindset voiced by many here and abroad with increasing frequency – at least since the Gezi Protests – and reached its peak with the Dec. 17 attempt to topple Erdoğan with or without the feared ballot box.
Recent political history tells us that when the powers decide to hold the feet of a leader in the non-Western world on fire, such depictions abound. The differences are merely in tone or the specific tools employed and not on the modus operandi. Another and no less important reason for the response is the portrayal of people who support Erdoğan with unwarranted belittling, demeaning adjectives akin to those employed customarily by the laicist, self-proclaimed elite. We developed a thick skin for those insults – albeit not put as politely as Akyol does – by the privileged, wannabe Western crowd over the last hundred years. But seeing a young idealistic journalist who takes pains to differentiate himself from them and calls himself a liberal-devout Muslim falling in the same domestic-orientalism trap is disheartening.