”Don’t tell me how to do it, I know what the country and the people need.” In early October, in the face of the US threat to use economic sanctions to restrain themselves in Syria against the Kurdish armed forces, Turkish President Erdogan, who is known for his tough guy, directly “smashed the past “. Looking back at the politician who was on the throne of the president, saying “no” seems to be his most common spoken language, from ridiculing the domestic political opponent “Yushu” to the liquidation of the military group that dares to threaten the development of the party’s ruling status. The US ally opposed it and sent troops to neighboring countries to create “safe areas.”
What exactly is this politician who climbed up from the bottom society? The Turkish president took power in 2003 and promised to implement economic and political liberalization, aligning with the Western world, but the paradox is that Turkey under his rule has taken another path, especially Turkey passed the nationals in 2017. The referendum implements constitutional amendments including the presidential system and gives the president real power from the constitution. Everything seems to indicate that Erdogan is more like a traditional Middle Eastern strongman: consolidate power, behave arbitrarily, and go its own way. So, can we really understand Erdogan like this?
New “social contract”
“Many liberals look at Erdogan with melancholy eyes, and they praise that the character from the bottom is a ‘symbol of Turkish progress’ because he has said that he does not want Turkey to become a purely religious country, but to maintain the current Western institutions and social order have repaired the contradiction between the state and ethnic minorities, especially the Kurds, but the experience of the past ten years proves that this kind of prejudgment is wrong.” American “Diplomatic” magazine master Khalil Karavelli Qi said that Erdogan’s administration once again proves that “the modern Turkish state has been dominant since the establishment of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. Its power has been dominated by nationalism, nationalism, religious conservatism and strong Zhengshang Group”.
Erdogan emerged 30 years ago. He is the representative of the religious party’s prosperous party and runs for the chief executive of the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. He holds the religious banner and opposes the secular elite. He is most relishing how he refused to shave the employer. Beard requirements, favored by the lower level of religious people. But another detail is that Erdogan teaches the campaign team to talk less about the religion with the voters. “We must build relationships with people outside the religious community and even pay tribute to the wine merchants.” But when he became the mayor of Istanbul in 1994, Erdogan publicly endorsed the implementation of religious teachings and supervised the sale of alcohol in all municipal facilities. This is unprecedented in Turkey, which is a secularized country.
However, this “maverick” failed to go far. In 1997, the army launched a coup, not only ousted the ruling prosperous party, but also because Erdo Anzhen “the temple is our military camp, the dome is our The helmet, the minaret is our bayonet, the verse of our soldiers is accused of “inciting religious hatred” and was sentenced by the court to four months in prison.
After his release, Erdogan departed from the traditional anti-secular anti-Western posture and advocated that Turkey should take a more determined path to the United States and Europe, saying that he “does not belong to those who talk about the establishment of the country.” He did not explain why the thoughts were abrupt, and it felt like a common politician’s “seeing the wind and turning the rudder.” In 2001, Erdogan established the Justice Development Party and won the national election the following year. Until 2003, Erdogan became the president, because the CCP’s comrades had made unremitting efforts to promote the National Assembly’s revision. The project was formed separately because of the law that Erdogan was in prison and could not take office.
His victory, thanks to the support of the middle class consisting of religious conservatives and small Anatolian business owners, enjoyed an unprecedented dividend as Turkey integrated into the global market. As everyone knows, Anatolia has always been the economic depression of Turkey. In 1980, among the top 500 companies in Turkey, there were no companies in the main cities of Anatolia, Gaziantep and Konya, but in 2012, There are 32 companies in the two cities among the top 500. But as they rise, Anatolia’s devout religious business leaders circumvent established, secular trade organizations, and instead form their own associations, which become the foundation of the Orthodox Party.
As Prime Minister, Erdogan pledged to establish a new “social contract” between the state and society, promote economic liberalization, strengthen separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, and turn the country into “more cooperation with the world, peace with the world, and A place where the world is easier to enter.” He also promised to break the tradition in another key area – to achieve reconciliation between the Central and Kurdish minorities. Since 1979, the Turkish military police have fought with the independent PKK. In 2013, Erdogan announced that it was aimed at resolving Kurdish demands for autonomy, such as allowing towns to mention themselves in the Kurdish name and allowing private schools to provide Kurdish course. He also considered constitutional amendments, lowered the threshold for political parties to win parliamentary representation, and allowed Kurds to enter parliament. He also cooperated with the arrested Kuche Party leader Ocalan in an unprecedented way to open the “reconciliation process.”
Over time, regardless of political and economic reforms or improvements in relations with the Kurds, Erdogan failed to achieve the desired change of pro-Western liberals. On the contrary, he regressed on both fronts: the government and the Kurds. The talks fell apart, and the war again raged in the Kurdish settlements of southeastern Turkey and neighboring countries. At the same time, Erdogan gradually strengthened its power. In 2012, it began to strengthen the administrative power advantage and prevent the judicial organs from being constrained.
Over time, regardless of political and economic reforms or improved relations with the Kurds, Erdogan failed to achieve the change of hopes of pro-Western free agents. On the contrary, he regressed on both fronts.
Karavelic pointed out that after the death of Kemal in 1938, Turkey basically gave up the idea of compulsory secularization of the founding father, partially restored the influence of religion in public life, especially in the field of education, the local government only attacked the underground it could not control. Religion, but religion itself is not its enemy. On the contrary, the ruling elite believes that religion is the wealth of the country. During the Cold War, Turkey, a member of NATO, followed the will of the United States and tried to suppress the domestic left-wingers. They described them as “competitions of the Soviet expansionists” and “enemies of religion.”
Erdogan’s years of growth coincided with the domestic anti-leftist movement, so his initial political identity was “religious Cold War”. In high school, he joined the right-wing youth organization, the National Student Union. The slogan of the organization was “the only one that can compete against the left is religion” and the other slogan is “opposing the left is as beneficial as prayer.”
In fact, the Student Union is the ideology breeding ground for the Orthodox Party, and all the leaders of the party joined the federation in the student era, including Gul, who served as president from 2007 to 2014, and vice premier, from 2009 to 2015. Arinc. These people’s worldviews are forged in the Turkish religious middle class, in which political values stem from the “mixture” of tough anti-Communist and religious nationalism.
When Erdogan and the Orthodox Party were in power, Western scholars who made optimistic predictions did not understand this history at all, and the Turkish liberals who kissed Erdogan also forgot this. They celebrated the rise of the Orthodox Party and believed that it was the victory of capitalism against authoritarianism and bureaucracy. In their eyes, Turkey had a “real bourgeois revolution,” and the conservative, religious middle class behind the party was “Authentic” bourgeoisie, because their prosperity is thanks to the free market and Turkey’s participation in the global economy – unlike the older secular middle class, they are “closed economic products” protected by political power, against the economy or politics. Reform is not interested. The Turkish liberals believe that Erdogan and the Orthodox Party have no choice but to pursue liberal reforms and achieve economic growth. But life has ruthlessly proved that the longer Erdogan is in power, the more the situation in Turkey is that “nationalism defeats capitalism.”
Historically, the fear of anarchy has plagued the Turkish political elite. Erdogan once wrote: “The cultural norms of our people require that the authority of the state must be subordinated.” This deep-rooted nationalism is “the foundation of the Orthodox Party.”
Erdogan’s desire for order is largely due to the tragedy of political icon Adnan Menderes. In 1950, Mandeles served as Turkey’s first elected prime minister. He was very popular, but he could not be dissatisfied. As the ruling time continued, he took more and more repressive measures to “tolerate the state order from morning to night.” Is it destroyed because it is a democratic obligation?” Mandeles responded to questions from opposition members during the I960 parliamentary meeting, but his high-pressure tactics led to too many enemies, even the military. Later in 1960, he was overthrown by the military and was hanged the following year. Erdogan often described the death of Mandelas as “his own tragedy” and said that the photos of Mandelas standing under the gallows made it deeply shocking.
In Erdogan’s view, Manderles has been fighting anarchy, but he did not see the true lesson of Mandelas’s tragic fate: when seeking order, Mandeles walked on the path of authoritarianism. Too far away, so that the anarchy is aggravated. Paradoxically, in the summer of 2016, history almost led Erdogan to the same ending as Mandrel, and the rebel officers who tried to overthrow Erdogan on July 15 seemed to be inspired by the 1960 coup, arguing that they The resistance was a response to Erdogan’s threat to the Turkish regime.
Erdogan wants to be the second national reformer after Kemal, but from his failure to achieve peace with the Kurds, Erdogan’s esteemed Turkish localized capitalism is not enough to form a lasting operation. State order. In the end, he had no choice but to return to the traditional authoritarian nationalist path, because Turkish conservatism—whether in religious or nationalist form—has gone through their own journeys, and they have not brought any order to Turkey.
New map re-created “Ottoman Empire”?
The so-called “diplomacy is the continuation of internal affairs”, Erdogan’s “new road” will inevitably affect Turkey’s diplomatic field, so that it has a profound impact on the geopolitics of the Middle East. From August 2016, the “Youth Raider Shield” operation of Syria was launched, and in October this year, the Syrian Kurdish control zone was again attacked. The dispute over territorial issues between Turkey and Syria and even Iraq became more and more open, which deepened the external impulse to expand Turkey. Worry.
As early as October 2016, Erdogan criticized the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) on two different occasions, delineating the modern Turkish border, and believed that the treaty left too little territory for Turkey. He spoke of Turkey’s concern about the fate of ethnic Turkmen (an Ankara known as “relatives”) living in other countries and Turkey’s historical ownership of the Iraqi city of Mosul. In fact, in addition to the Turkish 35,000 army stationed in Northern Cyprus and in the Aegean Sea confrontation with the Greek Navy and Air Force, the Turkish pro-Erdogan media is increasingly interested in old maps that are inaccurate and even rough. The Turkish border above the map is far beyond the official borders of today.
Of course, Turkey will not annex other countries’ territories in the short term, but combines nationalist rhetoric with old maps to make the outside world aware that Turkey’s foreign policy and Erdogan’s self-awareness are “aggressive”, indicating Turkey’s Nationalist sentiments are always lingering.
Nick Danfoss, a Ph.D. student in the history of Georgetown University in the United States, noted that since September 2016, Turkish TV has repeatedly shown the original map of the Turkish delegation that was negotiated with the Allies in Lausanne in 1923, representing the Turkish nationalists. The territorial appeal, this map is not a map of the Ottoman Turkish Empire’s heyday (the latter is much larger), it is a “limited enlargement” of the modern Turkish territory, but it was later compressed in the compromised Treaty of Lausanne. Become the official territory of the Republic of Turkey today.
However, the historical grievances caused by the map have given people a preliminary understanding of Erdogan’s “nationalist cards”. According to Turkish TV, the old map is a “reasonable boundary” planned by the National Convention adopted by Turkey during the National Liberation War from 1920 to 1922. The National Convention was signed in 1920 after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. It confirmed that the new generation of Turkish nationalists led by Kemal will fight for “only our land”. The Convention specifically mentions 1918. The sovereignty of the territory still occupied by the Turkish army when surrendering to the Allies in October, the southern border of Turkey as the old map is extended further to the two river basins, the western section of which coincides with the Syrian “safety zone” that Turkey is seeking to establish at this stage. .
At that time, the Allied countries camp did not accept the requirements of the Turkish National Convention at the beginning, and also dispatched Greek intervening forces to attempt to smash the remaining Turkish armed forces. As a result, the Turkish National Army led by Kemal defeated the aggressors and established Turkey today. For most of the 20th century, the official Turkish history praised Kemal for basically turning the boundaries of the National Convention concept into reality (only the Syrian Manbi and Iraqi Mosuls were missing). A pragmatic statement is Kemal. It is hoped that the newly established and unstable Republic of Turkey will lose its acquired territory for unrealistic territorial ambitions. Indeed, Germany, Bulgaria and Hungary, which lost in the First World War, launched World War II in order to rewrite the border with force. The result was no longer ruined, but Turkey under the leadership of Kemal and its successors wisely suppressed the impulse.
In contrast, the affluent Erdogan throws another argument, claiming that Kemal is willing to give up part of the territorial claim in the Treaty of Lausanne, if it was his own “more outstanding (or The more patriotic politician “has been able to win more territory in Turkey.” More broadly, Turkey’s current intervention in Syria is in line with an established model: it is more eager to get involved in the affairs of its neighbors at a time when the future of the Middle East is uncertain, and to get a share of it. In 1939, Ankara took advantage of Europe’s eve on the eve of World War I to annex the Syrian Alexandra area, which was then appointed by France, to become its own Hatay province. In view of this, Turkey’s remarks are less surprising given the fact that the entire political order in the Middle East is now faltering.
Today, self-defense is still the main reason for Turkey’s defense of its actions in Iraq and Syria. Erdogan has repeatedly stressed that the troops stationed in Syria are “to prevent terrorist attacks against China”, as long as the Kuche Party continues to operate in neighboring countries. That is the reason for Turkey’s military operations outside the country.