By Halil Karaveli
December 7th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The interplay of Western interests and internal Turkish dynamics has more often boosted authoritarianism than democracy in Turkey. Turkey’s strategic value as a “sentinel” during the Cold War gave Turkish governments a tacit license to suppress freedoms and democratic rights. The historical pattern is now being repeated. It is reassuring for the authoritarian Turkish regime that Turkey has once again become indispensable as a guard-post for its Western partners.
Yavuz Baydar in Bugün asks, what kind of game is it that is being played openly now with the suffocation of media? The preservation of power depends on the emergence of a three-party parliament at the polls on November 1. An equation of four parties will spell disaster. Thus, it is absolutely necessary on the hand that the HDP is left out of the parliament, and on the other hand, that MHP is undermined and its votes transferred to AKP. In order to achieve these goals, a never before seen manipulation of public opinion is called for. The “silent majority” in Turkey – the lower and middle classes – (at a rate of around 80 percent) follow only the TV channels as sources of information. And note that the efforts of the government to cut the media down to size have always been concentrated on the media groups that have TV channels. Of course, the turn will come to independent newspapers like Cumhuriyet, Taraf, Sözcü and Birgün as well after this. If their attempts to suffocate the media results in a backlash, if the distribution of votes among the parties do not change, the option to postpone these elections is kept as a card in the cupboard.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.