EMRE USLU

Why is Erdoğan making mistakes?

People are reading, understanding and explaining the criticism which I wrote recently »»

People are reading, understanding and explaining the criticism which I wrote recently of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government as enmity.

I don't hold any such enmity. I am merely trying to explain the sequence of the logic of why, when, where and how the AKP is making mistakes. In the context of my criticism, every one of the pieces I've written is a piece of the sequence of logic. In this context, today I will try to explain why the AKP and Erdoğan began to take incoherent and politically erroneous steps. Most of the AKP voters seem to have accepted that Erdoğan has made mistake after mistake in the last year. The same Erdoğan did not make as many missteps in the last nine years as he has in this past year. Various reasons are being cited as to why Erdoğan has made this series of errors.

According to one argument, because no point of resistance stood before Erdoğan in the period following the Sept. 12, 2010 referendum, Erdoğan adopted a reactionary stance as opposed to one connected to a long-term, logical plan for a political position. Because there is no structure before him that provides any resistance, he does not feel the need to enact necessary democratic reforms to overcome such resistance. This is why he is making mistakes. According to another view, Erdoğan abandoned his principles and, in order to become president, he began to see everything as permissible and began making mistakes to this end.

I am of the belief that there is a third view that is more correct. As I see it, there was a bureaucratic circle which began to form around the prime minister after the 2007 elections which completely changed following the 2011 elections. When the Constitutional Court did not shut down the AKP, this circle saw that the party and Erdoğan were here to stay and started to lend itself to the AKP's ends. Later, using classic Ankara tactics, the circle influenced Erdoğan and the AKP and settled itself around them (Erdoğan and the AKP). This circle is steering Erdoğan in the wrong direction and giving him incorrect information on a good deal of subjects. Erdoğan's lending a good ear to this bureaucratic circle is the main reason he continues to make mistakes.

In order to convince the AKP and Erdoğan, the bureaucratic circle uses various tactics. One of the most important tactics is using religious-minded leaders as references, introducing themselves to Erdoğan as religious and, especially, as National View (Milli Görüş) supporters. For example, a president of an important company -- during the AKP's first period when the AKP was seen as a temporary and an unstable party -- would smoke while others fasted during Ramadan at his workplace and in other places where he was on duty. He would actually make a point of showing his staff that fasted that he was indifferent to Ramadan. But when the Constitutional Court acquitted the AKP, this president became religious and snatched an important position through the AKP. Ankara has always been a factious capital full off bureaucrats like this, and this current period is no different. “This circle” is informing and directing Erdoğan and the AKP in clearly the wrong way. Because Erdoğan is delegating issues to these bureaucrats, he is erring in trusting them.

I think it is necessary for me to give some examples to prove my point. Two of the most important of these are the Uludere incident, in which 34 civilians mistaken for terrorists were killed on the Turkish-Iraqi border near Uludere, and the crisis over the downed Turkish jet. If Erdoğan, who usually takes on the problems of the people, had acted according to his sentiments over the Uludere incident, he would have apologized and done everything to find the perpetrators of this crime. However, the day on which the Uludere incident happened and in the days that followed, it became increasingly evident that Erdoğan was being misdirected. For example, Erdoğan actually thinks that villagers have land mine maps and that this is the reason why they are able to avoid them, and he actually made this statement from his political platform. This clearly evident erroneous information shows us that Erdoğan is very mistaken.

Every piece of information that has surfaced in the crisis over the Turkish fighter jet that was shot down in Syria disproves the statements that Erdoğan made on the issue on the first day it occurred. Following the Syrian crisis, which took a jab at Erdoğan's popularity, each statement he has made turned him into a leader who is unreliable and untruthful. There was only one reason for Erdoğan's perceived charisma in the Middle East: He was a trustworthy leader. But his charisma is being damaged as the information which Erdoğan shared with his circle turns out to be inaccurate in the Syrian crisis.

Another example I can cite has to do with the AKP-Gülen community crisis. Someone in Erdoğan's circle seems to have convinced him that there is a hawkish wing within the community that is preparing to topple him. This became evident through the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) crisis, which began on Feb. 7 when a specially authorized prosecutor called in the MİT undersecretary for questioning. Erdoğan seems so bent on this ridiculous argument that he is engaging in acts that are not typically expected from him.

Media bodies that are close to Erdoğan are supposedly “reading” the community, noting that there are actually two communities -- “the good community” and “the bad community.” And in this process Erdoğan is being misguided. Let's say for a minute that a hawkish wing within the community is fixated on Erdoğan and orchestrated an operation against him through the MİT crisis. Someone should then be able to explain why the same group, which had worked so hard to support the party in the 2011 elections, would be interested in conducting an operation against the AKP when nothing has changed in the past six months. Let us say that they have decided to conduct an operation. Why would they engage in such a thing through MİT? It seems that Erdoğan has been extremely manipulated where the community in concerned, which is why he gave orders to MİT to blacklist the bureaucrats close to the community in order to get rid of them.

In all three cases, Erdoğan worked against himself, damaging his image. And it seems as though this is bound to continue. No calculation that is based on false information will bring about correct results.

2012-07-13

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Columnist:: EMRE USLU