Thursday, March 9

A look at Turkey's economic and political situations

As to the political situation:

"Will Erdogan postpone upcoming referendum?" (March 2)

Turkey is moving to the polls on April 16] under unprecedented waves of crackdown that saw more than 110,000 people purged, sacked or detained, with around 44,000 put behind bars, including co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), and many prominent journalists and opinion makers in the country. 

Any semblance of dissent against Erdogan is under threat of being severely punished. He characterizes anybody who announces or may think of casting a “no” vote as a villain, traitor and terrorist. A state of emergency is in force and will remain in place on election day.
Despite all the prerequisites for “yes” that are in place, the air in Turkey indicates that “no” has a real chance to prevail. The reason is presumably because the “yes” camp seems to have formidable cracks.
There are widely circulated rumors that if Erdogan feels that a “yes” vote won't be secured April 16, he might invent a reason to call off the vote. And what could be that reason? Nobody is certain. But with a reputation of making quick decisions and an ability to move swiftly, Erdogan could take steps that could postpone the date of the vote. Situations in Syria or Iraq may present some pretexts for dramatic military adventures Erdogan and his loyalists in the high echelons of the Turkish state might initiate.
For that, Erdogan needs a docile and loyal army chief: Akar. However, Akar has become a magnet for attracting mounting criticism from within and outside of the military. The lifting of the headscarf ban for female personnel of the armed forces two weeks ago seemed to serve as the last straw for many in the military ranks already heavily burdened since the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. 

The headscarf move drew harsh criticism from staunchly secularist military circles who have been allied with Erdogan against the Gulenists for some time.

Wouldn't it be strange if head scarfs turned out to be the last straw for the military? 


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