Turkey: The Problem with Authoritarian Powers

by Johnathan Lykins
Shield Staff

Authoritarianism: A Definition

Authoritarianism is a principle of blind submission to authority, as opposed to individual freedom of thought and action. In government, authoritarianism denotes any political system that concentrates power in the hands of a leader or a small elite who are not constitutionally responsible to the body of the people. Authoritarian systems do not allow freedoms of speech, press or religion.

Every nation that is a part of NATO  is considered a democratic nation. As one may have thought, a democratic system is the exact opposite of an authoritarian system, meaning you have freedom of speech, press and religion.

This is not currently the case in the country of Turkey.

The Leadership of Turkey

The “president” of  Turkey is Recep Erdogan (air-da-wahn). At one point in time, he was seen as a hopeful leader for the nation of Turkey, but has made drastic decisions in current events to show otherwise.

Burak Bekdil, a writer for Gatestone Institute, an online media outlet for current events, was fired from Turkey’s leading newspaper after 29 years for writing about what was taking place in Turkey. He wrote an article on Jan. 29, 2017, titled, “Turkey: Erdogan’s Grab for Absolute Power.” He writes, “If a simple majority of Turks vote ‘yes’ in a national referendum on proposed constitutional amendments in April, Erdogan will effectively consolidate the power of three legislative bodies into one powerful executive office: himself. He would then be installed as a leader with virtually unlimited authority.”

Burak also states that a vote “yes” or “no” will not change “dynamics” much because Erdogan still is the “absolute ruler.” “If he wins,” states Burak, “he becomes the absolute ruler. If he loses he remains effectively the absolute ruler until he tries again to become the absolute ruler.”

In a July 21, 2016, article for The Atlantic, Steven Cook writes about how the Turkish government has developed into the system that the country is now run under, which is called an undemocratic regime or an authoritarian government. He also writes about how the political party called the AKP (Justice and Development Party), which is the party that Erdogan is a part of, has been controlling the judicial system and the press.

Remember what the definition of an authoritarian government is, and then apply it to current events that are currently happening in Turkey. If you do this, then you will understand that Turkey does not belong in NATO because it does not uphold a democratic governmental system.

Therefore, Turkey has chosen its side; the country is siding more with eastern government, rather than western government.

The Danger for America

So, how does this affect the United States of America? Well, let us take a look at the powerful hand that Turkey has again. Right now, Turkey is being paid by the European Union to keep the refugees that are coming in from Syria. In doing this, Turkey runs the risk of ISIS members from Syria gaining entry into the country and performing dangerous acts.

However, let us presume that Erdogan gets his referendum passed in Turkey, and therefore gains absolute power over all three branches of government. With that bill passed, Erdogan will not have to keep the refugees if he does not want to, and he could also just keep requiring more money from the European Union.

If the EU does not comply to his terms, then he could let the refugees into Europe, therefore allowing the possibility of ISIS getting into Europe more than it already has, which could result in more bombings, more beheadings and more genocide.

This will give the rightists much more power because then they can use fear to gain even more control over people. This would heighten the authoritarian powers that already exist and would initially make them seem like a good route to go. Sound familiar?