Σάββατο, 29 Ιουνίου 2013

Erdogan Tightens Grip on Turkey, Putting Nation at Crossroads

[image]European Pressphoto Agency
Protesters upset with the Turkish government stand on a barricade in Istanbul's Taksim Square.
ISTANBUL—As mayor of Istanbul in the late 1990s, Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly read a poem that included the lines: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers." The Islamist message earned him a few months in jail from Turkey's military-backed secular government.
A few years later, Mr. Erdogan re-emerged in politics as a champion of liberal democracy calling for sweeping institutional reforms and closer ties with Europe, became prime minister and led Turkey through a decade of prosperity and influence.
Now, Mr. Erdogan has tacked back in the other direction, igniting weeks of protests from Turks concerned by what they see as Mr. Erdogan's efforts to consolidate his power and Islamize public life. The shift has raised new questions among many Turkish voters about whether the prime minister is democrat or autocrat. How far Mr. Erdogan pushes his new agenda may determine the durability of Turkey's revival.

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