Tuesday 17 January 2017

Washing our hands of Turkey's crisis would mean chaos in the Near East

Published 21/07/2016 | 02:30

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photo: AP Photo
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photo: AP Photo

Three years ago, I wrote in these very pages about Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and how his authoritarian tendencies were threatening not only Turkey but also the Near East and the country's application for EU membership. 'Imperious Leader has gone too far with his strange edicts' was the prescient headline. Well, now we will find out just how far Erdogan will go.

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The Turkish president has reacted furiously to the failed coup against him by dismissing and jailing tens of thousands of military personnel and officials. He is now moving on to the courts and the schools. It does not look good.

Of course, the strange edicts of Erdogan have led to this. But his proposals of three years ago (a partial ban on alcohol, and on the wearing of bright lipsticks by Turkish Air stewardesses) are trifling compared with his attempts since then to consolidate powers in a revised presidency.

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