The rise of a Sultan


Look at this man. His name is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, current president of Turkey. From my point of view, we can start calling him Recep the first, Sultan of Turkey.

Of course, Mr. Erdogan did not claim such a title, nor we currently have any political party in Turkey that are proposing such a change in the institutions of their country. Not yet.

The rise to the power of Mr. Erdogan followed the rules, more or less. He is in charge since 2003 (as Prime Minister, President since 2014) and his party won regular elections held in 2002, 2007 and 2011. Under his leadership, Turkey had experienced a good economic cycle and a positive growth.

The problem with Mr. Erdogan is about the power. As many men before him, he became addicted to power and his behavior changed year after year. In his mind there is no distinction between the future of the nation and his own, he sees himself not as a politician but as a leader, appointed by fate to rule Turkey.

After the failed golpe, the president took charge in every way. His enemies are the enemies of the nation, his faithful comrades the natural elite of the country, his own family became untouchable. This is quite interesting when it comes to Necmettin Bilal Erdogan, one of two sons. Bilal was suspected of fraud in 2013 and is under investigation in Italy for money laundering. This is causing a strain in the relationship between Turkey and Italy, showing that the concept of Erdogan as an alias for his own country.

The family is important for this man. In 1998 his first son, Ahmet Burak Erdogan, got a free pass after being involved in a fatal car crash (he was without driving licence and fled the scene).

Such a powerful figure needs an adequate place to live. The Presidential Complex (Ak Saray) is a demonstration of how Mr. Erdogan sees himself. A brand new palace, 600 million USD worth estate, is exactly what Turkey needed.

By now, we are in a well know path. Concentration of power in the hands of the president, proposed modifications of the national constitution in the direction of giving more power to the president (by the way, why not remove any limit on the number of mandates?), media strictly under the government control, repression of the opposers, boost of nationalism-related themes and a strong push toward Islam-oriented laws. Not bad at all for a NATO partner, isn’t it?

There’s more under way. Even a great country like Turkey is not enough for Mr. Erdogan. What about Lebanon, Syria and Iraq? Our sultan cannot be constrained by little things like national boundaries or the delicate balance of power in the Middle East. You see, this man got himself a vision. The memories of the Ottoman Empire are still there, right in the cerebral cortex of the newfound sultan. Call it neo-ottomanism if you wish, call it erdoganism, it’s the same. The sultan is here to stay.

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