Erdogan slams The Economist Magazine


On a question about the cover story of The Economist magazine, Erdogan said it is not up to a British magazine to determine the faith of Turkey.

“The fate of the country is determined only by my people, and not by The Economist,” Erdoğan said.

But, as the paper points out, “the longer Mr Erdogan has been in power, the more autocratic he has grown.” Moving on from Prime Minister to President, he turned that mostly ceremonial post into a really powerful one in the service of an autocracy. “Approaching his third decade in power, he sits in a vast palace snapping orders at courtiers too frightened to tell him when he is wrong. His increasingly eccentric beliefs swiftly become public policy,” the article says.

Erdogan once likened democracy to a tram journey: when you reach your destination, you get off. His treatment of the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, whom the Economist calls the “most plausible rival” for the presidency is indicative. A 2-year prison term and a ban from politics for calling election officials who had annulled his first election “idiots” have taken Imamoglu out of the presidential race if the conviction is not annulled or overturned and have cast doubt that the election will be fair or free, the Economist says.

Internationally, Erdogan could cause trouble for Greece and Cyprus by “foment[ing] fiercer territorial quarrels; he could “create further confusion and strife in Syria”; he could “allow the 5m migrants and refugees in Turkey to set sail for southern Europe.” And he could continue to block the accession of Finaland and Sweden into NATO.

Yet, the Economist contends, Erdogan cannot afford to make a total break with the West, because he needs investments and he needs armaments. But, the article argues, it is time for a firmer stance by western powers, beginning with the US. “Mr Erdogan is a bully who sees timidity as a reason to press his advantage and toughness as an incentive to mend fences,” the Economist says.