Sunday, November 1, 2015

The wily Erdogan's civil war gambit pays off

After failing to win a majority in the general election of 7 June, the wily Erdogan was faced with a stark choice; form a coalition government with one of the opposition parties, or plunge the country into another election campaign. Erdogan chose the latter course.

Then he stole a crucial chapter out of Netanyahu's playbook.

Bibi has long known that there's nothing the voting public likes more than a tough guy at the top in turbulent times. And, if perchance the times are insufficiently turbulent... well, the guy at the top is perfectly placed to ratchet up the turbulence, is he not? A well-timed provocation or two, and whoopsie!... the obliging "terrorists" are only too happy to unleash Armageddon...

Enter the strongman!

Unlike Netanyahu, Erdogan was triply blessed with terror threats. At the time of the 7 June election, a two-year peace with one of those threats was holding, the war on the Gulenists was, at least at the moment, muted, and Erdogan was actively nurturing the third terrorist threat, the Islamic State.

Post 7 June, Erdogan cranked the turbulence knob to eleven. He declared the truce with the Kurds over, declared war on Islamic State (who conveniently obliged him with two deadly terror attacks on Kurdish groups in Turkey) and declared all out war on the "parallel state" of the "terroristic"  Gulenist network.

To impress upon the electorate the importance of a strongman at the top, Erdogan pushed his country to the very brink of civil war.

And it's worked!

Alas, it may not have worked well enough. While today's election delivered enough votes for single party rule, it did not deliver enough to allow the AKP to make unilateral changes to the constitution.

You know what that means... between now and the next election, the turbulence will need to be cranked even higher.

Dire times for Turkey.

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