Is Erdoğan a legitimate president?

by Tarık Günersel    /  August 26, 2014  / No comments

Two thirds of Turkey see the newly elected president for what he is: an arrogant despot.

President Erdoğan sees himself as a Sultan. Image provided by Tarik Günersel.

Some Western cartoonists have made a point of portraying Erdoğan as a sultan, but he and his Neo-Ottomanization fans take the mockery as a compliment. In 600 years, probably none of the 36 Ottoman sultans were so arrogant and excessive. Erdoğan is merely a mediocre despot unsure of himself. Otherwise, he would have accepted the invitation of the other presidential candidates, Ekmel Ihsanoğlu and Selahattin Demirtaş, to debate on TV. He may sound fine when he reads a text written by his advisors, but almost always rude, aggressive, humiliating, provocative and anti-democratic when he speaks his own mind.

  1. Wor(l)ds in Danger, a<br />
column by Tarik Günersel
  2. Life is words in action, literature is action in words.
  3. Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they succeed? Will more humans be alarmed and do something?
  4. Literature is vital and translators are messengers of world peace.
  5. Though I shall focus on the literary scene in Turkey and its problems regarding freedom of expression, I shall not omit the other parts of our planet. Today local is global and vice versa.
  6. Tarik Günersel
  7. Tarık Günersel is a poet, playwright, aphorist, librettist and short story writer. He is the president of PEN Turkey and an ex-member of the PEN International Board. He studied English Literature at Istanbul University. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Barış, teaching English. A dramaturg at Istanbul City Theater since 1991, he has acted on stage and screen and directed some of his plays. He proposed World Poetry Day in 1997 which was accepted by PEN International and declared by UNESCO as the 21st of March. His translations into Turkish include works by Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Arthur Miller. His works include The Nightmare of a Labyrinth (mosaic of poems and stories), and How’s your slavery goin’? His Oluşmak (To Become), a “life guide for myself,” includes ideas from world wisdom of the past four millennia. He has recently initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the support of several intellectuals from various parts of the planet.

Despite being the president-elect, he has retained his position as the Prime Minister, a position which he legally should have quit.

Parliament elected the first eleven presidents. The first presidential election by public vote in Turkey’s history witnessed 75% attendance, 15% lower than the local elections of March 30th.

Erdoğan and his circle managed to get 51.7% of the votes thanks to his party’s misuse of state resources. This percentage is lower than he had expected but enough to elect him as the 12th president of the Republic of Turkey. Erdoğan refrains from uttering the name of Atatürk, our progressive secularist leader and founder.

Ekmel Ihsanoğlu, supported by CHP and MHP, got 38% of the vote. Selahattin Demirtaş, the Kurdish candidate of HDP, succeeded in getting 9.5%, thanks to the support of some Turkish socialists.

Having expected a dynamic secularist candidate, and disillusioned by the selection of Mr Ihsanoğlu as an alternative, most of the five million voters that did not show up seem to have boycotted the election.

Erdoğan should be taken to court for the serious accusations of financial corruption, misuse of power and illegal support to armed Islamicist movements such as the ones in Iraq and Syria.

Members of the opposition parties should be absent from Parliament when Erdoğan reads his official presidential oath. In fact, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition party CHP, who is widely criticized by more pro-Atatürk secularists, has announced that he will protest Erdoğan by not attending the Parliament when the new president takes his oath.

And guess who the third airport in Istanbul –which shouldn’t even be built due to environmental hazards – will be named after? It won’t be named after “Fatih,” Mehmed the Conqueror. It won’t be named “Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi” the 13th century Sufi poet so popular in the USA as in so many parts of our planet. Can you believe it will be named RTE, after Recep Tayyip Erdoğan?! But why am I still shocked by this man?

I “feelthink” that millions of people will refrain from using that airport, and it will be a pleasure to change the name as soon as Erdoğan loses power.

Under Erdoğan’s hegemony, the AK Party should be charged with committing a civilian coup d’etat. Two thirds of the people in Turkey would answer “No!” to the title of this article. Only one third still believe he is a hero. The illegal and illegitimate election should be renewed. Will the Supreme Court have the courage to make such a decision?

About the Author

Tarık Günersel is a poet, playwright, aphorist, librettist and short story writer. He is the president of PEN Turkey and an ex-member of the PEN International Board. He studied English Literature at Istanbul University. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Barış, teaching English. A dramaturg at Istanbul City Theater since 1991, he has acted on stage and screen and directed some of his plays. He proposed World Poetry Day in 1997 which was accepted by PEN International and declared by UNESCO as the 21st of March. His translations into Turkish include works by Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Arthur Miller. His works include The Nightmare of a Labyrinth (mosaic of poems and stories), and How’s your slavery goin’? His Oluşmak (To Become), a “life guide for myself,” includes ideas from world wisdom of the past four millennia. He has recently initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the support of several intellectuals from various parts of the planet.

View all articles by Tarık Günersel

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