Erdoğan in Trouble

“His Biggest Challenge Is President Abdullah Gul, Not Liberals

Erdogan’s own party members sense the changing tide. Indeed, even before the protests, there was widespread uneasiness within the AKP ranks. Most AKP parliamentarians had little enthusiasm for Erdogan’s plan to change the constitution and introduce an executive presidency. His scheme would have concentrated all power into the hands of a supreme leader, a position that Erdogan covets, basically neutering all other government officials. The prime minister’s handling of the protests has now made party members even more nervous. As Erdogan lashed out — calling those who took to the streets “marauders,” extremists, and foreign agents, and threatening retaliation — Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc issued an apology to the demonstrators and said that the authorities should have tried to meet their demands. Another AKP representative, Kadir Topbas, the mayor of Istanbul, admitted that the municipality had committed a grave mistake. And Gul made a principled defense of the right to protest from the outset, a reminder that voting is not the only democratic right.”

by Halil Karaveli
Date: 6 June 2013