Paranoia and police power are never a good combination, but Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to have readily embraced both. With thousands protesting his destruction of the secular traditions of Turkey and authoritarian power, Erdogan has called on his Islamic supporters, crushed protesters with tear gas and clubs, and now blamed an international conspiracy led by the media, particularly the BBC and CNN. Turkish police have been attacking makeshift hospitals with tear gas, including an attack that led to a pregnant woman losing her baby in a miscarriage. It was a tragic symbol of the cost of Erdogan to the future of this nation.
Erdogan is no longer speaking of reconciliation with opponents and pledged to his Islamic party to crush those who oppose them in Taksim square. He then launched into the type of paranoia that is a dangerous mix with faith-based politics, telling his supporters “You will make your voice heard so anyone conspiring against Turkey will shiver. Turkey is not a country that international media can play games on.” He even attacked the middle aged women who have been banging pots from their windows in protest to his autocratic rule.
Ergogan appears to have moved beyond reason in the face of this confrontation and seems entirely unmoved by the scenes of massive injuries among the largely peaceful protesters. He has demonstrated the fallacy of “moderate religious parties.” As soon as he took power, he began placing limits on “immoral” activities from drinking to signs of public affection. Even in a country with a long history of secular politics, he has shown that religion trumps all opposing considerations when you are elected due to your professed sectarian faith.