Protesters took to the streets across Turkey this week, after audio recordings purportedly of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordering his son to dispose of vast amounts of cash amid a graft probe surfaced and went viral on the Internet. Thousands of people demonstrated in 11 cities, including Ankara and Istanbul (Constantinople), shouting anti-government and anti-Erdogan slogans, according to China’s Xinhua news agency. Police in the capital fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd that chanted, “The government resigns” and “Thief Erdogan.”
In Istanbul, protests were reportedly held at 10 locations, with the biggest demonstration in the district of Kadikoy, where some 5,000 people marched to the district center, carrying banners reading, “Where are the thieves?” and “You will answer to the people.”
As is usual in this part of the globe, Turkey's prime minister on Tuesday accused Israel of being behind the ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, offering as the only evidence for his claim a statement by a Jewish French intellectual during a meeting with an Israeli official, while both Israel and the US State Department reject the claim as baseless and unsubstantiated, also usual in these other two sectors.
In his nationally televised speech, Erdogan also took a swipe at Muslim nations, accusing them of betraying Egypt by supporting the country's military-backed new leaders.
Protests against Erdogan were also held in the cities of Izmir, Antalya, Antakya, Samsun, Trabzon, Eskisehir, Kocaeli, Bursa and Canakkale, according to Xinhua. Clashes between riot police and the crowds were reported in Istanbul, Bursa and Eskisehir.
A chief prosecutor’s office on Tuesday initiated an investigation into the audio recordings in question, Turkish state-run media reported, as opposition parties demanded that the government resign. Erdogan met with Turkey’s intelligence chief shortly after voice recordings of two peoplealleged to be Erdogan and his soncirculated on the Internet on Monday.
As to be expected, the Turkish leader has drawn parallel between Morsi's ouster and a series of anti-government protests in Turkey in June that he has blamed on an international conspiracy to topple his democratically elected government albeit through illegal means, for Erdogan has been slowly rolling back the secular state to allow Islam's theocratic forces to assert themselves against the opposition of the military. This regress to the pre-Ataturkian mindset is causing much consternation among a large population of secular Turks and the West in the run-up to Turkey having its best chance at joining the EU.
Turkey should never be allowed to join the EU. And yes, the West should hasten Erdogan's ouster by diplomatic means if no other. Until Islamic nations recognize and begin admitting the error of their ways, improving the lives of their own people, ceasing hostilities against other faiths, and pushing for a more secularized version of their former selves, the factions of warcivilization against civilizationwill only heat up.