Thursday, July 2, 2020

"In Turkey, the post-Erdogan may have begun"

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Erdogan's difficulties and the divisions of his party suggest that his ultra-authoritarian turn is disavowed by more and more Turks, reports in his column, Alain Frachon, editorialist to the "World".

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Speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace, Ankara, 18 September.
Speech by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace, Ankara, 18 September. AP

Chronic. The problem with Istanbul is the virus effect. The city is maltreating, not to say destroyed, your immune defenses – those that prevent you from imagining Turkey in the European Union (EU). Istanbul seduction acts in a dangerous way, but leads to asking the right questions.

You sit on the balcony of your hotel room. It is late, we must recover from the nightmare of today's air transport. You order a large glass of raki on crushed ice. On the street, in mid-September, the women of Istanbul are in summer dress, in jeans or in islamo-conservative mode. "Turkey is an amalgam"wrote, in the early 1950s, the late Bernard Frank (1929-2006) who knew geopolitics. Over the raki, you contemplate the Bosphorus, occupied by his task, which is, it seems, to separate Europe from Asia. On either side, bloating, hills, bridges, minarets, bell towers, palaces, skyscrapers compose and recompose this miracle of urban beauty that is Istanbul. We should stay here for a long time.

Sixteen million people: Istanbul has become one of the megalopolises of the XXIe century. It gives the "la" of the country's politics. She assured the career of the mayor (1994-1998), before becoming Prime Minister (2003-2014), then President of the country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the Islamic-conservative AKP party (Party of the justice and development). Today, she announces the gradual end of the Erdogan era.

This year, in the municipal elections, the AKP lost Istanbul, massively – as well as many large cities, including Ankara, the capital. The AKP is divided and its notables leave the party. The government faces a very difficult economic situation. The ultra-authoritarian, nepotic, clannish turn Erdogan has taken to the regime in recent years, as well as his flirtation with Russia's Vladimir Putin seem disavowed by a majority of Turks. The post-Erdogan may have begun.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Istanbul, the lost stronghold of Erdogan

The recriminations accumulate

Bringing together patrons, academics and politicians from France and Turkey, the Bosphorus Institute – our host – which organized its tenth annual seminar in September, set itself a mission: to maintain a Franco-Turkish dialogue forum, without language of whatever the state of official relations. Which is good, because between Ankara and Paris, between Turkey, Muslim, and the EU, recriminations accumulate. Turkey, which hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees, accuses. After the agreement concluded in March 2016 with Brussels, on the control of Middle Eastern immigration to the EU, the Europeans would not have held their part of the contract: resumption of high-level political conversations, especially on Turkey's accession file to the EU.

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