Posted tagged ‘Turkish democracy’

Turkey’s Tightrope Dance

May 26, 2017

Turkey’s Tightrope Dance, Frontpage MagazineRobert Ellis, May 26, 2017

Turkey’s economy is in the doldrums and foreign investors, not surprisingly, are heading for the door. Growth is stagnant, there is double-digit inflation and unemployment is rising, particularly among young people. There is desperate need for foreign capital to reduce the growing current account deficit, which is why Turkey has been badly hit by the drop in the number of foreign, particularly European visitors. Erdoğan’s vitriolic attack on various European countries, for example, accusing Germany of “Nazi methods” and calling the Dutch “Nazi remnants” and “fascists,” hasn’t helped either. 

********************************

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was recently in Washington in search of “a new era” in Turkish-U.S. relations, was also out with the begging bowl. At a meeting with 40 prominent U.S. investors, Erdoğan urged them to increase investments in Turkey and shared recent developments regarding Turkey’s investment environment and economic agenda. What he did not share was the increasingly repressive environment that Erdoğan himself has created in search of absolute power.

But the true nature of Erdoğan’s regime did not go unnoticed when his bodyguards attacked a group of demonstrators, which seems to be a constant feature of the president’s foreign trips. Senator John McCain even suggested that the U.S. should “throw their ambassador the hell out.” Once safely home, Erdoğan reassured the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSIAD) that the state of emergency, where he has ruled by decree since the failed coup last July, was no hurdle for business.

According to Erdoğan, Turkey is preparing for “a new leap in democracy,” but there are no signs that this is true. On the contrary, Turkey has plans to build 174 new prisons to accommodate the thousands who have been purged since last July. At the beginning of April Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that 113,260 had been detained and 47,155 had been arrested, including over 10,000 police officers, 7,631 from the military and 2,575 judges and prosecutors. These numbers have since increased, not to forget the 231 journalists who have been arrested. In addition, over 140,000 have been dismissed from public employment, so that they and their families are now ‘non-persons’ in the new Turkey.

Turkey’s economy is in the doldrums and foreign investors, not surprisingly, are heading for the door. Growth is stagnant, there is double-digit inflation and unemployment is rising, particularly among young people. There is desperate need for foreign capital to reduce the growing current account deficit, which is why Turkey has been badly hit by the drop in the number of foreign, particularly European visitors. Erdoğan’s vitriolic attack on various European countries, for example, accusing Germany of “Nazi methods” and calling the Dutch “Nazi remnants” and “fascists,” hasn’t helped either.

Turkey’s economy minister, Nihat Zeybekci, has launched a campaign involving 17 global companies to restore investor confidence in Turkey. Potential investors are invited to “Come to Turkey and discover your own story,” but given the political situation, a number of multinationals, for example, Switzerland’s Nestlé and the Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis, are having second thoughts.

Three years ago, the president of TÜSIAD, Muharrem Yılmaz, warned: “A country where the rule of law is ignored, where the independence of regulatory institutions is tainted, where companies are pressured through tax penalties and other punishments, where rules on tenders are changed regularly, is not a fit country for foreign capital.” Erdoğan denounced Yılmaz as a traitor and he was forced to resign.

President Erdoğan will brook no opposition nor tolerate any criticism and now his control of the legislature and the judiciary has been reinforced by the constitutional amendments narrowly approved in April’s referendum. Since the failed coup 879 companies, including large conglomerates, have been seized  by the Turkish government and the assets of dozens of businessmen have been confiscated.

The security of any registered foreign investment should be guaranteed by the rule of law and according to the U.S.-Turkey Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), “Investments shall at all times be accorded fair and equitable treatment and shall enjoy full protection and security in a manner consistent with international law.”

However, as Işıl Karakaş, a Turkish judge who is also the vice-president of the European Court of Human Rights, has pointed out, Turkish judges are ignorant of international law. Instead, they wear “ideological glasses” and believe that protecting the state is their fundamental job.

In which case, a foreign investor who is a victim of fraud or other malfeasance stands little chance in a Turkish court. The only recourse is arbitration by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID] and legal fees which can amount to several million dollars.

Anti-American sentiment is prevalent in Turkey, as Erdoğan has claimed the abortive coup was not planned in Turkey but orchestrated abroad. He even accused CENTCOM’s commander General Joseph Votel and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of siding with the plotters and told them: “Know your place.”

President Trump’s approval of the Pentagon’s plan to supply weapons to the Kurdish militia in northern Syria has not improved U.S.-Turkey relations, and Trump’s invitation to President Erdoğan was intended to paper over the cracks. It hardly had that effect, and now Trump is beleaguered by the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor. Back home, Erdoğan is confronted by an increasingly divided and unstable Turkey.

There is a Turkish proverb: iki cambaz bir ipte oynamaz (two acrobats can’t dance on the same tightrope). What remains to be seen is whether one or both will fall off.

Europe: Denying the Threat of Islamic Imperialism

May 11, 2017

Europe: Denying the Threat of Islamic Imperialism, Gatestone InstituteMaria Polizoidou, May 11, 2017

The UN report and Erdogan’s rhetoric both evidently expresses the Muslim world’s thoughts about what it apparently thinks should be the fate of Israel and Europe. So far, not a single Muslim state has condemned or opposed Erdogan’s aggression against Judeo-Christian civilization.

The enemy is already inside the gates; many European regimes seem unaware that there is even a threat.

The logic of much of Europe’s religious and political community seems to be that if the elephant in the room is spoken to nicely and made to look cute and adorable, people will not think of it as a threat to their safety.

The Western world can no longer ignore the latest elephant in the room: Islamic imperialism. Europe has gone so far as to hamper free speech on the subject, apparently preferring to put the safety of its citizens at risk over admitting that the elephant exists.

Meanwhile, Muslim countries make not the slightest effort to hide their intentions, as recent actions of 18 such states at the United Nations illustrate. They cooperated in the preparation of the report released in March by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), which accused Israel of “the crime of apartheid,” despite knowing full well that such a baseless claim would be rejected by the world body now that Donald Trump is at the helm of the free world. The reason they went ahead with it anyway was to convey to the West that delegitimizing the Jewish state was merely the first step in a master plan to unravel all of Judeo-Christian civilization and values.

For a body such as UNESCWA to declare the State of Israel in an official Institute’s report, as being guilty of “the crime of apartheid” according to international law, shows that Islamic expansionism is a real and an active political problem.

UNESCWA must have had some idea, before publishing the report, that such a loopy conclusion could not be adopted, even by the UN, which has been doing its utmost to rewrite historical facts. In the last few years, UNESCO has repeatedly declared pre-Islamic historical sites Islamic.

Nevertheless, UNESCWA proceeded to pass this surreal political concoction, probably to declare to the Western world again its attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel and all the freedoms it represents in the Judeo-Christian world that might threaten the expansion of Islam.

It was an attempt to project power.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, which even before his new, absolute powers, wanted to represent all of Sunni Islam, shows to the Western world the true face of Islamic imperialism and the conventional, irregular and cyber war it appears to have declared on the Christian world.

The UN report and Erdogan’s rhetoric both evidently expresses the Muslim world’s thoughts about what it apparently thinks should be the fate of Israel and Europe. So far, not a single Muslim state has condemned or opposed Erdogan’s aggression against Judeo-Christian civilization.

ANKARA, TURKEY – APRIL 17: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a referendum victory speech to his supporters at the Presidential Palace on April 17, 2017 in Ankara Turkey. Erdogan declared victory in Sunday’s historic referendum that will grant sweeping powers to the presidency, hailing the result as a “historic decision. 51.4 per cent per cent of voters had sided with the “Yes” campaign, ushering in the most radical change to the country’s political system in modern times.Turkey’s main opposition calls on top election board to annul the referendum. OSCE observers said that a Turkish electoral board decision to allow as valid ballots that did not bear official stamps undermined important safeguards against fraud. (Photo by Elif Sogut/Getty Images)

According to Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu, “[T]here will soon be religious wars inside Europe”. The enemy is already inside the gates; many European regimes seem unaware that there is even a threat.

Corrupted elites, with the help of many in the international community, try to suffocate Israel economically; and the biased and dishonest media seem to be trying to hide from the public that they work as proxies of Islamic imperialism, promoting Islamic ideology and condemning the values of the West.

Pope Francis and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew use Jesus’s phrase “Love each other as I have loved you” as a religious justification to love people who are ordered — under threat of eternal hellfire — not only never to love you, but to have nothing whatever to do with you, apart from trying to win you over to their firmly-held belief:

“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them.” — Qur’an 5:51

The logic of much of Europe’s religious and political community seems to be that if the elephant in the room is spoken to nicely and made to look cute and adorable, people will not think of it as a threat to their safety.

Left-wing ideologues and unwitting fellow travelers hide the nature of the elephant. This was the approach of President Obama, who, along with European leaders, provided space in which the elephant could operate, grow and undermine the fabric of Western societies.

Key to this enabling has been a Western focus on fake politics — such as the obsession with issues such as transgender bathrooms and rights for women who are already blessed with rights — while Islamists are actually oppressing gays and women in the most rigid fashion.

The Obama administration metamorphosed real politics into fake politics, where people talk — instead of about freedom and democracy — about feminism, gender studies, transgender bathrooms, feeling offended and endless vaginology.

Christian leaders have also been trying to deflect from the threat. Both Pope Francis and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I use Jesus’s phrase, “Love each other as I have loved you” to disguise and minimize it.

Meanwhile, the elephant in the room gets bigger and bigger and is ready, according to the Turkish president’s statements, to destroy the house.

The West seems addicted to prettying up terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood or the PLO. Wishing away danger is nothing new to the West. It was not until President Ronald Reagan exposed the Soviet Union as an “evil empire,” for example, that the threat of Communism began to be taken seriously. Within six years, the USSR collapsed.

The behavior of many Western political leaders, jumping from one definition to another about the “true nature of Islam,” has so far been disastrous. The tenets of Islam are there or all to see; people in the West seem not to want to look.

What are we Westerners doing trying to tell Muslims what their religion is, in the first place? Do they try to tell us what “real Christianity” is?

Sadly, too much of what we have seen of Islam in the West has been violent. Countless attacks, with shouts of “Allahu Akbar” have been claimed in the name of Islam. In terms of what their religion stands for, you at least have to give them credit for being forthright. We in the West are the ones who have lied.

Ultimately, if we do not confront this problem, this problem will confront us.

The end of Turkish democracy

April 19, 2017

The end of Turkish democracy, Israel Hayom, Clifford D. May, April 19, 2017

(Please see also, Kurdistan Independence Referendum and Why It Matters so Much in the Fight Against Radical Islam. — DM)

I made my first visit to Turkey 13 years ago. With the 2001 attacks on the United States still a vivid memory, Turkey struck me as a hopeful place. The people were friendly. The food was good. Istanbul was vibrant and cosmopolitan. This was not a Muslim country but rather a Muslim-majority country, a distinction made repeatedly and with pride. Turks, I was told, understood the importance of separating mosque and state.

Those who campaigned for a “no” vote had limited access to media and in some instances were prevented from holding rallies. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party complained of unstamped ballots affecting 3 million voters — more than the margin of Erdogan’s victory.

************************************

On the grounds of the Turkish Embassy facing Massachusetts Avenue in Washington is a statue of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, father of the Republic of Turkey, the nation-state he built from the rubble of the defeated Ottoman Empire and Islamic caliphate.

He is wearing a three-piece suit that would look stylish today, although he is steely-eyed in a way peculiar to early 20th century revolutionaries. He appears to be gazing into the future — a future in which Turkey would be modern, prosperous, secular and democratic.

If truth in advertising applied to governments, that statue would now be removed.

In a referendum on Sunday, Turkish voters were asked to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers. To no one’s great surprise, it was announced that they did, albeit by a narrow margin of 51.2% approving to 48.8% opposing, according to the state-run news agency. People in rural areas mostly voted yes, people in the cities — including Istanbul where Erdogan was once mayor — mostly voted no. But a win is a win and Erdogan has won.

I made my first visit to Turkey 13 years ago. With the 2001 attacks on the United States still a vivid memory, Turkey struck me as a hopeful place. The people were friendly. The food was good. Istanbul was vibrant and cosmopolitan. This was not a Muslim country but rather a Muslim-majority country, a distinction made repeatedly and with pride. Turks, I was told, understood the importance of separating mosque and state.

A NATO member, Turkey appeared to be the one sturdy bridge between the Middle East and Europe. It maintained cordial relations with Israel, too. While no Jeffersonian democracy, Turks had been going to the polls on a fairly regular basis for decades. Surely democratic habits were being acquired and democratic institutions were being built. A persuasive argument could be made that this was the direction history was taking throughout the Middle East and perhaps the world.

Sunday’s referendum contradicts that thesis. For a decade, Erdogan has been slowly concentrating power in his own hands. After a failed coup last summer — it’s unclear who launched it or why — he went full throttle, firing or arresting more than 140,000 military officers, academics, judges and civil servants, shutting more than 150 media outlets, and jailing journalists who dared criticize him.

The new referendum will significantly diminish whatever checks and balances the legislature and judiciary have left. And the rules on term limits will be adjusted so that the 63-year-old Erdogan can remain in the new 1,150-room presidential palace until 2029 or longer. In democratic societies, presidents do not serve for so many years. In the Ottoman Empire, sultans occasionally did.

Can we be confident that the announced results of the referendum are accurate? Those who campaigned for a “no” vote had limited access to media and in some instances were prevented from holding rallies. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party complained of unstamped ballots affecting 3 million voters — more than the margin of Erdogan’s victory.

In Cermik, a town in northeastern Turkey, two members of the opposition CHP party were reportedly killed and two ballot observers were wounded as they were trying to prevent “ballot stuffing.” On Monday, European election monitors said the vote “fell short” of international standards.

Erdogan quickly fired back.

“The crusader mentality in the West and its servants at home have attacked us,” he told a crowd at Ankara’s airport. That is not the kind of language you expect to hear from the leader of a secular country. It is the kind of language you expect to hear from an Islamist demagogue.

Erdogan claims he will use the additional powers he is being granted to solve Turkey’s not insignificant problems, including political and economic instability, the strain caused by the refugees pouring in from Syria, and unrest among Turkey’s Kurdish minority, estimated at up to 20% of the country’s 80 million people.

What I think we can more realistically expect is for Turkey to become less free, less democratic, and less secular. Already we’ve seen Erdogan closing churches and detaining Christian clergymen. He has implied that only Muslims, not Christians, should be helped to rebuild their ancient communities in and around Mosul in Iraq, where he has sent Turkish troops, uninvited by the Iraqi government.

He appears to expect Turks living in Europe not to assimilate or even integrate but to remain loyal to Turkey and, of course, to him. In the weeks leading up to the referendum, he dispatched envoys to campaign in the large Turkish communities of the Netherlands and Germany. When local officials turned them away he leveled accusations of Islamophobia and even Nazism.

“Those who treat me, my ministers, my deputies with disrespect will pay the price for their actions,” he threatened. That is not the way leaders of NATO nations generally address one another.

Many Turks regard the referendum as illegitimate. It’s possible that Erdogan will feel the need to make peace with them. On the other hand, he may feel the need to make them submit.

More than a quarter of a century ago, when he was Istanbul’s mayor, Erdogan quipped that democracy was “like a streetcar. When you reach your destination you get off.”

In other words, he sees liberal democracy not as the best way to organize a government but only as a means to an end. If that’s correct, April 2017 marks the failure of Turkey’s democratic experiment. An Islamist, neo-Ottoman and neo-imperialist experiment began instead. It should surprise no one if a statue of Erdogan replaces that of Kemal Ataturk on Massachusetts Avenue.

Dr. Jasser discusses Turkey’s Pres. Erdogan & his Islamist policies 04.17.2017

April 19, 2017

Dr Jasser discusses Turkey’s Pres. Erdogan & his Islamist policies 04.17.2017, AIFD via NewsMax and YouTube, April 18, 2017

 

Westminster carnage, Turkish delight

March 24, 2017

Westminster carnage, Turkish delight, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, March 24, 2017

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t know he was going to get so lucky on Wednesday when a threat he issued instantly materialized.

Indeed, the Islamist leader of the formerly modernizing democracy was probably happily amazed at the news of the terrorist attack in London, as it came on the heels of a speech he delivered in Ankara, in which he warned that in “no part of the world, no European, no Westerner, will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully.” This fate would befall them, he said, if they “continue to behave like this.”

Of course, Erdogan was not personally responsible for the rampage of U.K.-born Khalid Masood, who managed to murder four people before being killed by police. Nor had he specified what he meant by claiming the West would not be safe.

He did, however, caution that Turkey is “not a country to push, to prod, to play with its honor, to shove its ministers out of the door, drag its citizens on the floor.”

He had a point: Only Erdogan and his goons are at liberty to drag Turkish citizens on the floor.

This was not the point he was trying to make, however. Erdogan denies that he imprisons anyone he considers critical of his regime. But he has to do that when he spends so much time accusing Europe of human-rights abuses.

Meanwhile, the only “human rights” Erdogan really cares about are his own. More precisely, what he most hungers for is power, which he has been ruthless at procuring and making sure not to lose, by any authoritarian means. The failed attempt to oust him last July made this all the more clear, when he took the opportunity of the thwarted coup to crack down on every sector of society, locking up journalists, judges, police and members of the military on bogus grounds.

This is also why he is so intent on winning the April 16 constitutional referendum, which if passed will see Turkey shift from a parliamentary to a presidential political system. Erdogan and others who support the move claim it will make governance more efficient. But the wannabe dictator’s real reason is singular: to enhance and secure his growing reign of terror.

With polls indicating that the Turkish public is split down the middle on this issue, Erdogan took his campaign to the EU, where Germany and the Netherlands in particular are home to many expatriate Turks. Facing reservations from both — though Germany said it would give permission if he made the process more transparent and put a stop to his aggressive and inappropriate rhetoric — Erdogan doubled down, calling them Nazis and fascists.

“They have nothing to do with the civilized world,” he said in a televised address earlier this month. “The EU is fast going toward drowning in its own fears.”

If this assertion has any merit, it is precisely because of rulers and proxies with Erdogan’s ideology. Though he touts his role in the war against Islamic State to show his enlightenment, he is attempting to bring his country into the same dark ages that the Sunni murderers occupy. In other words, Erdogan, who has close ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, has shown time and again that it is only certain terrorists he wants eradicated; the others, his allies, spill the blood of infidels.

Wednesday’s attack at Westminster — whose perpetrator Islamic State claimed as a “soldier” in its call to ill Britons — may not have been inspired by Erdogan’s friends. But Masood’s knife-wielding, car-ramming actions expressed the same antipathy towards Judeo-Christian societal values that all Islamists harbor.

Erdogan ought to know, which is precisely why Europe must take his admonitions seriously and pray he loses next month’s referendum.

Erdogan: Soon Europeans ‘Will Not Walk Safely on Their Streets’

March 22, 2017

Erdogan: Soon Europeans ‘Will Not Walk Safely on Their Streets’, Breitbart, Chris Tomlinson, March 22, 2017

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned the European Union (EU) that if the diplomatic spat between Turkey and several European countries continues, Europeans won’t be able to walk their own streets safely.

President Erdoğan made the comments Wednesday in what is another increase of tensions between Turkey and the EU that began when Germany and the Netherlands banned several Turkish ministers from holding campaign rallies for the upcoming Turkish referendum. Erdoğan has threatened Europe before, but this time he threatened the safety of Europeans if the row continues, Die Welt reports.

“If you continue to behave like this, not a single European, not a single Westerner will be able to take a step on the road safely anytime in the world,” Erdoğan said at a press conference adding: “We as Turkey are calling on Europe to respect human rights and democracy.”

Erdoğan did not go into specifics of the threat, though many Turks living in countries like Germany and the Netherlands have expressed massive support for him following the failed coup attempt last year.

Shortly after the coup, tens of thousands of Turkish expats attended a rally in Cologne, Germany, to express support for Erdoğan. On the night two Turkish ministers were refused entry in the Netherlands earlier in March, hundreds of Turks flooded the streets of Rotterdam and rioted.

Following the actions of the Netherlands, Erdoğan and his government have suspended high-level diplomatic relations with the Dutch and even accused the country of being complicit in the Srebrenica massacre calling them “Nazi remnants“.

(Video at the link. — DM)

Germany has also seen heated rhetoric from Ankara and pro-Erdoğan Turkish press who depicted German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a Nazi on the cover of newspaper Gunes.

Many in Europe are concerned what effect the row will have on the migrant deal made between the EU and Turkey last year. The deal rapidly slowed the number of migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece from hundreds a day to dozens.

The Turks have made it clear that the deal is on the table and have threatened to scrap it and send 15,000 migrants a month to Europe.

Erdoğan said the political bloc can “forget about” the migrant deal and that it is, for all intents and purposes, dead.  The Turkish government has threatened the deal before when Ankara became frustrated with the lack of visa-free access to the bloc for Turkish citizens.

More troubling has been a recent report that showed an abnormal increase in the number of migrant arrivals over the past week. Some have attributed the rise in sea landings to improved weather conditions, while others question whether this may be the first signs of the end of the migrant deal.

Turkey’s Holy War

March 20, 2017

Turkey’s Holy War, Front Page MagazineRobert Ellis, March 20, 1017

(What common interests do Trump’s America and Erdogan’s Turkey have? Are they sufficient to warrant cooperation with Turkey in any area? — DM)

In Islamic eschatology the Mahdi (‘messiah’) plays a prominent role. For the Iranian Shia he is already born and has hidden down a well for over a millennium, waiting for the right time to emerge. Turkish Sunnis already have a candidate, breathing fire and brimstone and ready to purge the world.

At least, so it would seem, to judge from the campaign Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has waged against unbelievers who have dared to block his plans to become the country’s all-powerful leader. 

On April 16 a referendum will be held in Turkey, where voters can decide on constitutional amendments which will remove all cumbersome checks and balances to Erdoğan’s power. In his campaign to secure a ‘yes’, Erdoğan has admitted he has been planning for such a system since he was mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s. Furthermore, that his plans for an executive presidency will concentrate all power in the hands of one person.

This “Turkish-style” presidential system means Erdoğan will have the power to appoint and dismiss ministers and high-level state officials without the need for parliamentary approval. He will also be able to declare a state of emergency, issue decrees, dissolve parliament and call elections without being held to account. The president will not only be head of state but also head of government – the post of prime minister will be abolished, and in effect the judiciary will be subject to his control.

What is particularly alarming, as the Venice Commission (the Council of Europe’s advisory body) has pointed out, the way the new constitution is configured means the president could stay in office for a potentially unlimited period of time.

The current conflict with Europe derives from Erdoğan’s insistence to extend his referendum campaign to the Turkish diaspora (there are about two and a half million Turks eligible to vote in Turkey in various European countries). However, as not all Turks are Erdoğan supporters, there is the danger of clashes, which could destabilize forthcoming elections in France and Germany, and latest in Holland.

Erdoğan has reacted violently to Germany and Holland’s refusal to allow him and his ministers to hold rallies, accusing Germany of “Nazi methods” and Holland of being “Nazi remnants” and “fascists” as well as “a banana republic.” This may go down well with Erdoğan’s supporters but not in Europe, where relations with Turkey are already strained.

But Erdoğan has stepped up the rhetoric. In a spectacular example of projection Erdoğan has claimed that “the spirit of fascism is running wild on the streets of Europe” and has compared the banning of rallies to the treatment of Jews during the Second World War. Here Erdoğan conveniently ignores that there has been a state of emergency in Turkey since the abortive coup last July, where public assemblies are banned and free speech is stifled. Also the fact that more than 135,000 have lost their jobs and over 140,000 have been detained or arrested in the ongoing purge of the Gülen movement, which has been held responsible for the coup.

Naysayers have been stigmatized as siding with the coup plotters, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gülen movement have been accused of backing the ‘no’ campaign. A prominent cleric has also branded opponents of the constitutional amendments as “opponents of Islam.”

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu has warned of “holy wars” in Europe and Erdoğan has spoken of a struggle between the cross and the crescent, after the European Court of Justice allowed employers to ban the Islamic headscarf along with other religious symbols. As Turkey is term president of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), President Erdoğan also intends to mobilize the OIC against Euro-fascism.

President Trump has not yet formulated a policy against radical Islamic terrorism but until now has left it to his generals to decide policy in the war against ISIL.

Here Turkey plays a key role, especially as Turkish forces in support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) occupy an area in northern Syria, driving a wedge between two Kurdish autonomous areas. The question is whether the US in its drive to take Raqqa will continue to support the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) or agree to cooperate with Turkey. The issue is still open to debate but will not be decided until after Turkey’s referendum in April.

In the meantime, the Trump administration has decided to send Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to meet with Turkey’s leaders at the end of the month. Whether this will be enough to assuage Turkish fears remains to be seen.