Turkey’s snap elections and Western hypocrisy

I remember how American election observers were dancing in Egyptian streets when Sisi  regime held elections in March. They did not look disturbed by undemocratic elections which re-elected Sisi as President.  Sisi is a dictator toppling down elected President, Muhammed Mursi, who is jailed in a cell now and there is no hope about his release.

Elections are a sine qua non requirement for democracy. People can participate decision-making only through free elections. The price the West paid for democratic system was the death of millions, turmoil, economical destruction, invasions, wars, and so on. Yet, finally people’s will won against monarch and tyrians. This brand new system, democracy, is acknowledged as the best ruling human beings have ever invented. In addition, both the US and EU claim to spread this cherished value all over the World. The US even uses force to make other nations accept democracy despite that such efforts turned counter-productive.

It is obvious that Western World can easily abandon their values when a country’s rulers clash with them. For sure, Muhammed Mursi was not a good ally to USA and Israel. Thus, both countries did not hesitate to help Sisi to overthrow Mursi and create a dictatorial order. Moreover, the West is happy with other undemocratic regimes as long as they are politically in line with Western countries.

We can see such hypocrisy in Turkey’s case. Whenever Turkey hold elections, some loud voices question either timing or fairness of elections.  Recently, we saw European and American opposition to Presidential referendum and now once again they criticize snap elections that to be held in June 24. While Heather Nauert, the spokesperson of US State Department, said the U.S. was concerned about sudden elections,  Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) even dared to call postponement of elections.

Both US and EU argue that elections under state of emergency won’t be fair. First of all, after witnessing their happiness during Egyptian elections (and their silence during Sisi’s coup), nobody gives credit to what they say. When they talk about fairness, we all remember belly dance of American observers. Second, Turkey is not the only country that carry out elections under state of emergency. Previously, France and some other countries did it and we saw no objection from European and American governments. Third, Turkey applies state of emergency just to hunt FETO members who attempted a failed coup in July 15 of 2016. If they are not cleared from state institutions, they will probably attempt another coup.  Fourth, political parties and ordinary Turkish citizens are not affected by emergency rules. There will still be representatives of parties observing ballot boxes. It is interesting that while even Turkish opposition parties welcome snap elections, foreigners look worried more than anybody else.

Hence, state of emergency is a necessity for Turkey. Otherwise, it is likely that a terrorist group may control whole country and declare their leader, Fetullah Gulen, as life-long leader of Turkey. In such circumstances, needless to say, there will be no parties, no elections, no reflection of people’s will and no freedom of expression. Therefore, asking to lift state of emergency is to let FETO to resurrect, which is the main threat to Turkish democracy.

The West may not mind replacement of President Erdogan by Fetullah Gulen but Turkish people is firm about protecting democratic system and not to allow gang leaders to come to power without being elected. If Western authorities are serious about democracy, they must understand Turkey’s circumstances. Their current statements are truly deemed as siding with undemocratic groups.

It is time not for Turkish government but for foreign governments to convince us that  they stick to democratic values.

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About the author

İbrahim Karataş

İbrahim Karataş

İbrahim Karataş is a columnist at Yeni Akit, a daily newspaper based in Istanbul.

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