We live a world with an ever-increasing global peer review. Material or moral superiority of the West is no longer a foregone conclusion. The quicker the West sheds the illusion of the default superiority, the faster all of us can start the essential work of making liberal values relevant and compelling in a post-western world. In other words, Turkey has an Erdoğan problem, but all of us have a larger liberalism problem. This conundrum is relevant beyond Turkey. Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Hungary's Viktor Orbán and India's Narendra Modi may be manifestations of a similar phenomenon. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, the liberal West told the rest of the world: "Be like us to become rich" while the 21st century is producing many illiberal ways to enrich societies.
As much as they were a victory for Erdogan, the latest local elections added to polarization. Against Erdogan's 45 percent stands a dedicated 55 percent who opposed him and which might block his election chances for the presidency. This suggests that the elections resuls are a "Pyrrhic victory for everyone." In a sense, Turkey as a whole has lost because it is so divided and because Erdogan's actions in the campaign tarnished Turkey's image abroad.
The verdicts coming out of the Ergenekon trial are clear indicators that Turkey's old power establishment has not only been silenced and marginalized, but also are targets of punishment. Whichever way one looks at the political landscape, it is clear that 2014 will be typified by many dark clouds on the horizon for the country's leaders.