If there is a silver lining in Erdoğan's transformation of Turkey, in barely three years, from a model for liberalizing Arab countries to a dictatorship resembling those overthrown in Egypt and Tunisia, it is that many Turks have a clearer understanding that liberal democracy requires sustainable checks and balances. Those who participated in ending the military's role as a political guardian now recognize that Turkey needs new institutions to protect basic freedoms and ensure limited government.
For 30 years, I have advocated accepting Turkey into the European Union, once the country has fulfilled the Copenhagen Criteria: institutional stability as a guarantee of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and minority rights, a functioning market economy, and finally the pledge to embrace the goals of the political, economic and monetary union. If Erdogan continues as he has over the past two years, he will not fulfill these criteria. There is no place in the European Union for this Turkey.