Sunday, March 11, 2012

The New Yorker's "Letter from Turkey" and "Daily Comment" on Turkey's Jailed Journalists

A concise commentary by Dexter Filkins in the New Yorker discusses the jailed journalists in Turkey and tries to situate it within a socio-political context:

"Mind you, Turkey is a democracy, or at least, it’s supposed to be. Erdogan’s triumph, and that of his party, in 2002, represented an epochal shift in Turkey’s political history. The election threw out an entrenched secular minority that had governed the country since its founding, often suppressing the majority of moderately religious Turks. In his nine years in power, Erdogan has transformed Turkish society in many positive ways. But, more and more, Erdogan’s Turkey is coming to resembled Putin’s Russia—a kind of one-party democracy."

In a related piece, likewise in the New Yorker, Filkins further analyzes the "deep state" tradition in Turkey in an effort to better understand Erdogan's increasingly autocratic rule:
"Friends and colleagues say Erdoğan worried that the deep state would never allow him to govern [...] But Erdoğan’s rule has another, darker side, which the West seems intent on ignoring: an increasingly harsh campaign to crush domestic opposition. In the past five years, more than seven hundred people have been arrested, including generals, admirals, members of parliament, newspaper editors and other journalists, owners of television networks, directors of charitable organizations, and university officials. The American response to this intensifying repression has been tepid. President Barack Obama has developed a close relationship with Erdoğan, whom he regards as a dynamic and democratically minded leader"