It has never been so difficult and risky for a journalist in Turkey to hold their politicians accountable for their actions. Closer scrutiny by our foreign colleagues would go a long way to make up for the growing democracy deficit in our country.
This week’s ‘interview’ with the Turkish PM is deeply problematic, sometimes enraging. It lets large tracts of propaganda go unchallenged. Here’s why we published it anyway.
The news from Turkey this week is grim. At least 31 arrests of journalists, producers, scriptwriters and a police chief accused of ‘forming an illegal organisation and trying to seize control of the state’. It reads like a textbook authoritarian crackdown on dissidents, in a country which Reporters Without Borders already ranks 154th of 180 on press freedoms.
Whatever shortcomings today’s Turkey has, they cannot all be pinned on AKP rule. But democracy and governance are deeply troubled and becoming more so.
Through his references to things that are mundane, Erdogan speaks to people’s pockets. And through his references to God and the ancestors, he speaks to people’s hearts.
Turkey’s reality is hardly the picture of unabated democratic progress that Prime Minister Davutoğlu paints. But should the AKP be judged so harshly for continuing what are, by comparison, some of the milder faults of its predecessors?
On the rise of Turkey, its messy foreign policy, and the AKP’s internal ‘enemies’–Richard Falk’s discussion with the Turkish PM provokes more questions than answers.
In a climate of great uncertainty, one thing seems clear: Prime Minister Davutoğlu intends to stubbornly pursue his flawed, ideological foreign policy, regardless of the consequences for Turkey or for the region.
Turkey’s human rights credentials should be a foreign policy priority for everyone, not just for so-called consolidated democracies interested only in hosting Erdoğan at expensive dinner tables.
This article is a response to a conversation between Richard Falk and Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, which took place on 28th September–see part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. There was much internal debate at openDemocracy about whether or not to publish the series. Read the Editor in Chief’s reasons for doing so here, along with the many other responses to Davutoğlu published in this series, listed to the right under ‘Related Articles’.