The Turkish government announced on Wednesday that it is increasing tariffs on a range of U.S. products, escalating the ongoing feud between nations. This dispute has already cost Turkey enormously, as the Turkish lira has fallen in value by 37% this year. The spat reinvigorates questions regarding Erdogan’s tight grip on power.
UConn Daily Campus: Brian McCarty believes “we should be concerned about Turkey.”
• “If there ever were a time for Americans to start paying attention to current events and rouse themselves from complacency and a false sense of security, it is now.”
• “We should not treat [recent] developments as merely a subject for dinner table politics.”
Cornell Daily Sun: Andres Vaamonde covered a panel discussing Turkey and “the political machinations of President Reccip Tayyip Erdogan.”
• Erdogan now holds “near-totalitarian control of the slowly Islamizing country.”
• He holds “full reign in composing the national budget, disallow calls for censorship on members of parliament, expand and complicate the legal prerequisites for impeachment and permit the president to declare future ‘state of emergencies’ at his own discretion.”
However, “Turkey might be a divided nation roiling in political and social turmoil, yes. But damn if Turks don’t have a high stress tolerance. They will get through.”
Johns Hopkins News-Letter: Howard Senior thinks “Emperor Erdogan of Turkey must be stopped.”
• Recent changes represent “the most obvious slide towards autocracy since Erdoğan first joined the highest echelons of the Turkish state in 2003 as premier.”
• “His palpable disdain for dissent, especially that which is directed at the media, has reached climactic levels. His favorite piece of legislation, the oft-invoked statute that renders “insulting the president” verboten, has led to the imprisonment of several thousand journalists across Anatolia.”
• “Turkey risks slipping into the insurmountable ravine of statist authoritarianism. The right to freedom of speech is under siege from the Bosporus to the Caucasus, and unless the power of the state is curtailed, the Turkish people risk far worse.”
The Bottom Line:
Many worry that President Erdogan’s repressive authoritarian regime commits excessive human rights violations. Additionally, Turkey’s treatment of its Kurdish minority- an ethnic group that has strongly aligned with the U.S. in the fight against ISIL- is a major cause for concern.