Here was a man who seemed to have the power to tackle Turkey’s century of conflict with the Kurds, Armenians and Greeks, and to lead it to a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic future – a model not just for Muslim countries but for other rising economic powers shaking off less than perfect pasts.
But Erdoğan’s greatest achievement – greater still than a decade-long boom that bucked global depression – was his breaking of the power of the military that had shackled Turkish democracy for so long. In pre-Erdoğan Turkey, we would have had a coup by now.
Yet the power he concentrated to defeat the generals – by foul means as well as fair – and the paranoia of that battle, has undone him. In a matter of days Erdoğan has become the personification of all the corrupt despotism and violence of the old Kemalist Turkey he was elected to sweep away.
The ironic thing is that he has done this to himself. Such was his grip on power that only Erdoğan could have destroyed Erdoğan. And that is what he has done by turning an insignificant protest in a scrubby little park into a national emergency.
Fiachra Gibbons, The Guardian, 19 June 2013
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