During a speech in the northwestern city of Düzce on Saturday, Erdoğan criticized the fear of foreign nationals in Turkey in response to criticism by opposition parties over efforts to clear Turkey's border areas of land mines, saying: “This mindset has seemingly not changed. It has been the same for many years in this country. They have chased members of various ethnicities out of this country. Have we won? This was a result of a fascist mentality.” Some welcomed Erdoğan's remarks, saying it was a very courageous move for him to engage in such self-criticism and touch on such a sensitive nerve in Turkey, while others accused him of betraying Turkey's interests by claiming that Turkey had a fascist attitude against foreigners in the past because this means placing Turkey in the ranks of some European countries that followed fascist policies in the past, such as Germany and Italy.
Yeni Şafak's Yasin Doğan does not share the concerns of those who are critical of Erdoğan's remarks. According to Doğan, Erdoğan's statements do not indicate the existence of a fascist administration or regime in Turkey, but instead a “fascist mentality” in the past. Doğan says this approach does bear the marks of fascism. In his view, the lack of tolerance for minorities and people of different ethnicities, religions and sects in Turkey and the existence of discriminatory attitudes toward these groups make Erdoğan's “fascist mentality” comment appropriate. As such, Doğan says it is wrong for these circles to adopt a defensive stance and take Erdoğan's remarks out of context. “It is also an example of a fascist mentality to not tolerate well-intentioned self-criticism and to try and suppress freedom of expression with an aggressive attitude,” Doğan argues.
Although he finds Erdoğan's remarks accurate and courageous, Milliyet's Semih İdiz thinks Erdoğan is inconsistent in his statements because he claims Erdoğan recently implied that Armenians living in Turkey should be chased from the country. “Is this not the same Erdoğan who will work for the fulfillment of legal responsibilities toward Armenians who are expelled?” İdiz asks. In his view, if Erdoğan wants to open the gates of self-criticism sincerely with his recent statement, he needs to be consistent in his statements and actions, which will make him more credible. “Otherwise, he will confuse people further by saying this today and saying that tomorrow. He will continue to remain trapped under the bars that he raised himself,” İdiz says.