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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Will Today's Referendum in Turkey Empower or Chasten Erdogan?

In their DER SPEIGEL piece, How Erdogan's Referendum Gamble Might Backfire, Eren Caylan and Maximilian Popp report on signs of restiveness within Erdogan's own party, the AKP.

Some excerpts:

Lawyer Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat is one of those founders to have left the party out of irritation with Erdogan. He turned his back on the AKP in 2014. "The AKP was more than a party. It was the promise of more democracy," he says. "But we were so enthralled with our success that we didn't see the authoritarian tendencies."
Firat believes that three events led to the radicalization and division of the AKP: the power struggle with the military, the Gezi Park protests in 2013 and the quarrel with the Islamist Gülen movement.
Erdogan and Gülen were once allies. Together, they clipped the military's wings but then quarreled in 2013 over the distribution of their newly gained power.
The coup attempt, which Erdogan blames on Gülen, has definitively split the party in two. Around 130,000 public servants have been suspended from their jobs while 45,000 more have been arrested as suspected conspirators. The purge mostly affected people from the conservative Islamist milieu that had previously been broadly supportive of the AKP.
Now, with just a few days to go before the referendum, nervousness is growing in the party. Previously, Erdogan had always managed to unite the party behind him before elections. But the discord within the AKP can no longer be denied.
What If He Loses?

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