Why Algeria Should Get a Leader Like President Erdoğan

In the wake of Mr. Kamel Daoud’s Open Letter, a journalist and an author based in Paris to President Erdoğan, he wrote in a long essay: “No Erdoğan you are not welcome in Algeria.” Many Algerians are asking their political leaders to give one reason why they can’t perform and act like President Erdoğan in their country.

Please, don’t tell them, Turkey is not Algeria, and leaders should be inspiring and audacious, and may be wrote an essay when they were in primary school. They told their classmates in l’E.N.A. and Sciences Po classes, one day they will be President of Algeria. Actually wait, they need to be a high-ranking military officer or public servant high commissioner. Mr. Daoud forgot to mention in his essay that Erdoğan was a son of a sailer who made it into politics from the bottom up and was elected from Mayorship to Republic President.

Leaders in Algeria, as Mr. Daoud knows, all agree to show their patriotism and declare: “we feel that our country needs us because it is in danger and the entire world envy it.” But never mention that it is bankrupt morally, politically and economically. Too bad, Mr. Daoud did not have that chance and thousands like him to one day dream to be president. So I decided to write why Algeria should get a leader like Erdoğan.

Algeria Kamel Daoud

One remembers him well in his country during the clash with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos Economic Forum, 2006, as an elegant leader who stood up courageously to Israel’s military actions in Gaza and challenged the Washington Post columnist who was moderating the event: “Thank you very much, thank you very much, thank you very much, I don’t think I will come back to Davos after this.” Then Premier Erdoğan told the moderator.

He returned home like a heroic leader, and people welcomed him: “Turkey is proud of you.” He is a moderate, a fine tactician politician and, as he put it, “I am serving my country and making life better for the people of Turkey. Members and sympathizers of his party, AKParti, are saying that he is changing the country and restoring Turkey’s regional and international prestige, while his foes locally and globally (including in Algeria) are saying, he is putting the country’s secular values at risk and the country is heading East.

Before he became a President and leader, he worked hard for it. As the mayor of the  largest city in the country and as visionary leader, he has that kind of energy and that convincing tone to persuade the voters and even his political and ideological opponents. Certainly true, judging by his communication skills and charisma. How many Algerian political leaders have his skills and courage to challenge the Algerian status quo and notably touch on the country’s sacred cow (the Army)?

President Erdoğan read attentively Ibn Khadun and Machiavelli, and synthesized their theory in the exercise of power’s ruse and cruelty.

People in Algeria might be skeptical about President’s Erdoğan’s actions and policies in his country, but ask the three million of Syrians (they call him Sir Tayeb (in Arabic Si a-Tayeb) and millions of Somalis who gratefully recognize what his government has done for them. Though his foes would say, its him and his foreign policy mastermind, Dr. Davutoğlu responsible for the strategic mistakes that Syrians find themselves facing today.

Algiers al-Amir Square. Photo courtesy of Abdennour Toumi

Algiers al-Amir Square. Photo courtesy of Abdennour Toumi

They are paying for his “neo-Ottoman” expansionism in the region. That’s what Mr. Kamel Daoud and his friends are reproaching Erdoğan calling him “new Sultan-Calif without a turban,” a political tyrant, and he came to Algeria as a Ghazi. Why didn’t they see the same picture on Macron’s visit in December, 17.

To them, Macron incarnates light, while Erdoğan incarnates dark!

Didn’t Mr. Daoud’s friends called the January, 1992 coup a post-modern coup and a republican salvation. The Turks (mon cher) called the 1997 coup against Erdoğan’s mentor, Premier Dr. Necmettin Erbakan a post-modern coup. Since then, Algeria changed so that Turkey, and its leaders’ political rhetoric, including President Erdoğan’s friends (the Islamists) — unlike Erdoğan in lieu of looking for a new strategy and program, are facing a deep identity crisis.

Algerians are smart and hard working like the Turks, and are patriots like the Turks, out going people like the Turks, and proud and stubborn like the Turks, but are lacking in character. Meanwhile, they do not seem very interested in trusting to their current political leaders — they might even give a fifth term to President Bouteflika if the ongoing events stay the course.

Consequently, the status quo obliged! Algerians trusted President Bouteflika and whether one likes his politics or not, he has a solid base among the middle class and the religious traditionalist elite (Zaouia) in the deep country. That includes an influential group in the Army/Intelligence and the so-called business community.

Algeria up to now, has not been able to find a charming and well-spoken leader like President Bouteflika before his stroke. Hence his deception to the majority of the youth of the population that would prefer to die on the Spaniard, Italian and French beaches, and not put up with socioeconomic injustice. The country should have a leader like Erdoğan, whose political background a mix of Turkish patriotism and religious traditionalism. This is why his political allies came from the MHParty and small religious parties like Sa’adat…

Algeria needs who can manage to seduce a fraction in the Army and the Intelligence and federate the FLN nationalists/tradionalists and the moderate Islamists like President Erdoğan did in Turkey.

Algeria is like Turkey an international bridge builder, President Erdoğan used his country’s strategic and geographic position as mediator of the past and future, as he has the force of means and the power of his faith and destiny. He is an idealist who has revolutionized Turkey’s political system and establishment post-Atatürk. He has a story to tell, so let history be the judge.

If he were in the West, his story would have captivated many readers and he would have entered history like Obama’s or Macron’s appealing stories. Algerian voters and journalists seem tired trying to rouse a leader. Nonetheless, in terms of the country’s history and geography and world view, they need a leader closer to President Erdoğan. This comparison chokes the Left, the anti-Islamists, the francophone and pro-France elite and Erdoğan bashers. President Erdoğan who devoted himself personally to the nation and the state — Yeni Türkiye(New Turkey) dear to the Patriots in Turkey like in Algeria.

Algerians need a leader, whose his life work and intellect bear the answers, like Turks want from their candidates at any election, and they have chosen Erdoğan and his party candidates to lead and govern since 2002. Here is a soccer player, Arabic language and history lover and a ruse politician, who can answer to my question and to the people across the region who envy positively New Turkey’s cultural grandeur, socioeconomic and political achievements.

Positive temperament and strong character in the political leader are needed when the occasion rises. Once President Erdoğan was asked by Algerian journalist in French if the Turks/Ottomans were invaders, and President Erdoğan responded: “if the Turks were colonizers, your question could have been in Turkish and not in French.” To you Mr. Kamel Daoud to judge, Algeria is still a sublime country, and all the Turks are welcome like others.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Abdennour Toumi

Abdennour Toumi

Mr. Abdennour Toumi is the France correspondent for The Arab Daily News. He is a political consultant at the IMPR Think Tank based in Ankara, Turkey. He is a member at the European Observatory for Arabic Language Teaching based in Paris, France. And, he is a blogger, focused on the Islamist Question.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment