In recent years, Turkey and Qatar have found much common ground on a host of foreign policy issues. Both Ankara and Doha have sponsored a variety of Sunni Islamist groups, seen as conduits for their geopolitical influence in the fluid Middle East. However, both countries have experienced setbacks from their engagement in some of the region's conflicts, most notably in Syria.
ANKARA -- The Turkish electorate knows that the AKP is corrupt, has strong authoritarian tendencies and continues to plunder (but distributes some of) Turkey's resources. But they also know that it can deliver services as it did until 2011. Above all, the voters favor stability and economic predictability. Fundamental values such as freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and free and fair elections constitute much lesser concerns.
What makes Turkey's authoritarianism, especially the AKP's, so hard to battle, is that it is covered with a thin layer of democracy. Elections are being held, the turnout is high, no wide range fraud was reported, four parties made it into parliament. But the campaign was all but democratic, given the government's violence, further control over the press and detention of opposition politicians.
ISTANBUL -- In his seminal 1996 volume, The Clash of Civilizations, Samuel Huntington described Turkey as a "torn country." According to Huntington, despite its adoption of Western institutions such as democracy and the rule of law, Turkey remains firmly rooted in the culture of the Islamic world and is therefore experiencing a "civilizational crisis." Today, Turkey is still the only secular, democratic republic in the Islamic world; sadly, under Erdoğan's increasingly Islamist rule, it is proving Huntington right with every passing day.
Turks denied their increasingly autocratic regime the ability to rule by decree earlier this Summer. But a do-over election, following a brutal anti-Kurd and anti-opposition media campaign, shows that President Erdogan and his allies will stop at nothing to win, even if it means killing democracy along with Turks and Kurds who cross the majority party.
ANKARA -- Erdogan has divided the country on ethnic, sectarian and lifestyle levels in an unprecedented manner. Traumatized by the terror attack, Turkey will first need to facilitate free and fair elections, then form a coalition government and then go about rehabilitating the country's deep divisions. Rooting out domestic ISIS cells must be a priority. The alternative is the Pakistanization of Turkey. We cannot afford to let this happen.
ISTANBUL -- To grasp Erdoğan's seemingly contradictory stance towards Putin requires some knowledge of the system of crony capitalism which has sprung up and flourished -- particularly in the energy and construction sectors -- in both Turkey and Russia. Aware that Turkey will emerge the loser in any confrontation with Russia, Erdoğan and the AKP have pragmatically accepted Russia's geopolitical superiority, while seeking to reap the maximum financial gain in the process.