Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Turkey is at a 'make or break time' in its history.

Many of us watching the events unfolding on the streets of Turkey's cities are wondering just where this proud nation is heading. The choices are pretty stark. Does Turkey join the ranks of other Middle Eastern countries and head towards being a Islamist state, where individual freedom and lifestyle choice become a pipe dream? Apparently thousands are ready to make a stand to prevent this, but they are in danger from their government as they make their point on the streets. They need not look far to see the questionable results of the 'Arab Spring' to know that once in power, the 'clerics'  begin a process of locking out any opposition to their rule and the lives of the citizens take a very prescribed path. The mainly young demonstrators are far more than scurrilous anti-government groups, out to bring disorder to Turkey. They are making a stand 'for' Turkey to join the ranks of those countries where freedom of the press and the right to live lives that do not hold solely to the tenants of a particular faith. For many years Turkey managed to walk the tightrope between the 'clerics' and a more Western orientated outlook, but the incumbent popular Prime Minister seeks to step away from that stance. There is little doubt that he was elected with a great deal of goodwill from the people of Turkey, if for no reason other than the fact that his opposition  is weak and divided. His latest actions may galvanize opposition to his increasingly authoritarian rule, a movement he is clearly most uncomfortable with.
Turkey has aspired to have strong relationship within the EU and in NATO. That position would come under threat if he starts to align himself and his country with the less democratic Middle-Eastern countries. Perhaps he sees himself as a clone-like copy of the leaders in Iran. The next few months will throw some light on his aspirations to stand for yet another term as PM, something that is denied to him under present law. One only has to look to Russia to see how the rules can change.
In the meantime, huge numbers of brave Turkish people will make their feelings known. Hopefully, the police will not overreact and Turkey can come through this difficult time, as a nation state that values diversity and true democracy. Take care my Turkish friends.