Τρίτη, 8 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Erdoğan's split personality: the reformer v the tyrant


The Turkish prime minister revealed the iron fist in his velvet glove this summer, but of which is his true character built
Recep Tayyip Erdogan'
The world saw Recep Tayyip Erdogan's dark side this summer, with his brutal tactics in quelling protests in Turkey. Photograph: Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images
All summer long, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been in a very bad mood. The public squares and parks of Istanbul and several other Turkish cities were taken over by protesters he angrily dismissed as "riff-raff", turning the full coercive power of the state on the largely peaceful demonstrators.
The riot police and indiscriminate use of teargas – including on children, women and the infirm – tarnished the Turkish prime minister's image. He wrecked his own international standing. And he damaged his own domestic political ambitions.
On Monday in Ankara, a rather different Erdoğan was on view, although no one is quite sure which one is the real prime minister. He gave a glimpse of his former self long disappeared from view, the most reformist and liberalising head of government seen since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the republic's founder. Seldom predictable, Erdoğan went some way to confound his critics, suggesting that his summer bark was a lot worse than his autumn bite.

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