Is Tayyip Erdoğan a fascist dictator?
Is President Tayyip Erdoğan a fascist dictator? What are the typical criteria for a fascist dictator?
When stepping down as Mayor, the Mayor of Balıkesir, Ahmet Edip Uğur’s announcement, that he is also resigning from the AKP and that the pressure on him had escalated to the point that his family had been threatened, is the kind of statement that will naturally create debate in national politics.
The new hot topic on the national political agenda is the claim that the AKP chairman, Tayyip Erdoğan intends to force a further 7 mayors, including those of Trabzon, Uşak, Ordu and Antalya to resign.
The CHP MP for İstanbul, Barış Yarkadaş had previously named those who have now resigned. That the allegations were first made by him strengthen the possibility of this information regarding the further 7 mayors being true.
Meanwhile, the CHP Mayor of the Süleymanpaşa district of Tekirdağ, Ekrem Eşkinat, faced trial for insulting the President Tayyip Erdoğan. Eşkinat was tried for calling Erdoğan a “fascist dictator”. At the trial, he was released subject to “judicial control and prohibition from travelling abroad”.
The CHP deputy chairman and party spokesperson, Bülent Tezcan travelled to Tekirdağ this week to support Eşkinat.
Tezcan reminded people of the investigation against Eşkinat, saying “And what did our Mayor of Süleymanpaşa say? He said, “fascist dictator”. And to whom? The AKP chairman Erdoğan. This is the allegation against him. Now, I don’t know if Mayor Ekrem said those words or not. But I am saying this in Tekirdağ square, Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan is a fascist dictator”. We could say that Tezcan, through these words, aggravated the debate.
The Government spokesperson, Bekir Bozdağ responded to the CHP Chairman, Bülent Tezcan’s speech; “This is shameless, immoral and impertinent… If there were a fascist in Turkey, Bülent Tezcan would not have been able to utter such a sentence. This in itself is evidence that there is no fascist dictatorship in Turkey…” And two days ago at an AKP group meeting, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said “If the CHP is looking for a dictator, it should look at its own history. In referring to the CHP’s period in power as a “one-party state”, Yıldırım ignored the reality that the AKP is openly “building a one-party one-man administration”.
FREEDOM IS NOT BEING PENALISED FOR EXPRESSING YOUR OPINION
Following Tezcan’s bold accusation, the issue of whether or not “Erdoğan is a fascist dictator or not” is going to be widely discussed on the political agenda. The President made a criminal complaint against Tezcan and the Ankara Public Prosecution Office announced that it would be investigating Tezcan.
Thus, the government spokesperson Bozdağ’s claim that “If there were a fascist in Turkey, Bülent Tezcan would not have been able to utter such a sentence” falls to pieces! It is evident through this criminal investigation against Tezcan, that one is not “free” to call somebody a “fascist dictator” in Turkey. This is because of evidence of a lack of freedom in a country, is not the absence of any criticism of the government – it is the presence of retribution for expressing criticism. Everybody who is willing to face this retribution can express truths that upset the government. But in response to this, that person faces trial and punishment. Hence the imprisonment of journalists and intellectuals who are publishing the truth shows that in Turkey the truth is still being spoken but that only those willing to accept the consequences are able to speak freely.
Even when Hitler and Mussolini were in power people continue to speak the truth but knew the consequences!
THE CRITERIA FOR DEMOCRACY AND DICTATORSHIP!
No doubt the allegation of “fascist dictator” is a political criticism. If fascism has been declared in a country, calling somebody a “fascist dictator” becomes a political critique, a political accusation. This does not require investigation, trial or punishment. For this reason, it is absurd that the Mayor of Süleymanpaşa has been tried and released with “judicial control”. And thus, in a country where politics is more or less free, calling somebody a “fascist” or “fascist dictator” does not (and should not) have any punitive consequence.
However Bekir Bozdağ’s saying of Tezcan, that he has been “shameless, immoral and impertinent” is an insult because it is like “swearing” - there is no political response to this accusation! To be called a “fascist dictator” a person does not have to come to power through a military coup or formally declare a “fascist dictatorship”. On the contrary, it is far more common for fascist dictators to “come to power through elections and go with elections”! Or for these “comings and goings” to be turned into a game between fascist cliques. Both Hitler and Mussolini came to power through an election, in fact, they took over the government with very high public support! For this reason, there is no rule saying that “a person elected by the people cannot be a fascist dictator”.
“There are some typical criteria for a fascist dictator, such as:
Whatever the person says is treated like the law. If he bids it, it happens and if he does not want something to happen it is prevented.
- In practice, this approach means that he does not recognise legislation which limits his power.
- Application of violence to the opposition.
- Using restrictions and prohibitions to oppress the demands of those classes and societal groups calling for their rights.
- Ignoring existing hard-won rights and at his own initiative criminalising behaviour which is not illegal.
- The abandonment of the separation of powers and the collection of all power in the hands of one person.
- Denying press freedom.
Of note is that at the İstanbul Court there have recently been two important journalism cases: proceedings were brought against the workers of Cumhuriyet Newspaper and the directors and workers of Özgür Gündem.
In the eyes of the world, Turkey is a country where journalists are tried and punished both behind bars and outside, they face perpetual unemployment for telling the truth or those that are employed only keep their jobs by applying self-censorship. Turkey is now a “journalists’ prison”!
A system like this cannot be a democracy. And the claim (by those using every means possible to maintain this oppression) that they are in favour of democracy and freedom is simply unbelievable, not just in Turkey but across the world.