Although the result was closer than expected, Turkish voters gave President Erdogan the expanded powers that he sought. The office of Prime Minister that he once held has been abolished putting all executive power in the hands of the President. Does Erdogan care that it was a squeaker? Hell no. He’s been consolidating power in his hands for years. If 51% was good enough for Brexit, it’s good enough for autocracy. Turkey has been slip sliding away towards autocracy for years and the botched coup was an accelerant. Erdogan is both smart and lucky.
I suspect you’ve heard that Trumpy was one of the first leaders to praise this Turkey of a referendum. I wonder if he got any off-the-record tips on Autocracy 101 from Erdogan. I’m certain that the Insult Comedian tipped his fez to neo-Sultan Erdogan. Since he’s unlikely to have heard of the Ottoman Empire, at least Trump won’t make any bad footstool jokes. Like that one.
It’s no shocker that Trump is happy for his Turkish counterpart. He’d like to be an elected dictator too. The good news is that he’s neither smart nor patient enough to become an American Caesar: the Turkish process has taken 13 years. But Trumpy has deeply authoritarian instincts as you can see from this tweet:
That’s classic autocrat speak: “the people love me. They have to pay protesters.” I halfway expect him to start tweeting: SOROS. SOROS. SOROS. It’s bound to happen at some point. He will, of course, use exclamation points. I am an EP refusenik.
The Turkish situation is more worrisome than the rise of autocracy in Hungary, Poland, and Serbia. They’ve had a functioning democracy for years whereas the aforementioned countries were under-as they said during the Cold War-the “Soviet yolk.” I’m not sure how they like their eggs but Erdogan just had his way with the voters so “over easy”may be it. I’m not eggsactly sure…
Back to this post’s portentous title. I’m not one of those people who believes in destiny. In the immortal words of Omar Sharif as Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia:
Autocracy has made strides in the last few years but its success is NOT inevitable. Many thought the fall of the Soviet Union made the world eternally safe for democracy. Repeat after me: Nothing is written.
I remain cautiously optimistic that Marine LePen will not be elected French President. Hell, that race is so wackadoodle, that there’s an outside chance she’ll miss the run-off. If you haven’t been following that race, get thee to the Guardian. It’s such a clusterfuck that the Right wishes they could dig up Charles DeGaulle and the Left would gladly run Zombie Mitterrand instead of being as woefully divided as they are right now.
We have a president* who admires dictators and wishes he could be one. But he lacks the smarts and patience to pull it of. He will clearly leave behind an unholy mess for his successor to clean up. Hopefully, his exit will come sooner and not later but we need to be patient. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Resist Smart.
I’ll give Paul & Artie the last word: