As noted in my previous post, pointing to the “Turkish model” is a favorite among pundits who think there is no reason to question the compatibility of Islamism and democracy.
I’ve now just come across a recently published article that describes “Turkey’s Democratic Dusk.”
If a lack of freedom and knowledge are indeed among the primary factors that are holding back the Arab world, it should be obvious that the “Turkish model” can hardly be recommended to improve things:
“Self-censorship has become routine. Media bosses anxious to retain Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s favor have fired many of those journalists who continue to criticize his regime. And government control now extends beyond the media, judiciary, and academia to the worlds of business and sports. Previously autonomous regulatory bodies (such as the competition authority) have been quietly subordinated to the government, with no debate or discussion. Even the Turkish Academy of Sciences has been targeted. A recent decree [...] allows the government to appoint two-thirds of the Academy’s members, thereby ending even the semblance of scientific independence.”
Dani Rodrik, the author of the article, notes that so far, “the European Union and the United States have reacted to Turkey’s descent into authoritarianism with little more than vague statements of concern.”
Well, that’s understandable in a way: certainly the EU has already too much to worry about Israeli democracy, and as far as the US is concerned, it seems that no matter what Erdogan does, the Turkish prime minister is simply Obama’s favorite Middle Eastern leader.