Democracy isn’t freedom—and in today’s Turkey some people realize that, as amazing as that may seem. Not ordinary folks, but the mid-level officers of the Turkish army, who have been watching with a jaundiced eye the steady Islamization of their country by an elected leader.
The recent history of the Turks is rife with intrigues, conspiracies, the usual brutality, and the dark shadow of one man: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the would-be caliph of a revived Ottoman empire. For nearly a decade his Justice and Development Party has ruled the roost, while the old-style Kemalists and other opposition parties have fought among themselves and impotently protested his growing power.
For years, Erdogan has been busy jailing political opponents, shutting down newspapers, and slowly but surely pushing a “soft” version of sharia into the legal and educational system. But suddenly, July’s failed coup gave him a pretext for accelerating the process—and extending his own power. He has long been preparing a campaign to change Turkey’s secularist constitution, and his purging of the army, the courts, and the media—an effort made easier by the coup and the effort to “cleanse” (as he put it) the political landscape—paves the way for dictatorship.
Goodbye, Kemalism; hello, Erdoganism!
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk revived the...