It takes one to know one. Turkey just held a referendum that greatly expands the power of their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It passed by a very narrow margin, taking Turkey on its latest step toward brutal dictatorship, and here’s Donald Trump, who sources say called Erdogan to congratulate him on “winning” the referendum vote.
While we’re busy justifying blowing up absolutely nothing in Syria because a brutal dictator used sarin gas on his people, Trump is busy calling someone who’s working hard on becoming the region’s next brutal dictator to congratulate him on furthering that goal.
This referendum, according to The Daily Beast, moves Turkey away from a parliamentary democracy and towards one-person rule. But what he has already done there makes the referendum more of a formality. Erdogan had already managed to form a one-party government – a move that greatly diminishes the voices of opposition.
Last year, Erdogan asked Turkey’s parliament to redefine the country’s anti-extremism law to include politicians, journalists and members of academia. He claimed that “pro-Kurdish” politicians were inciting terrorism, and journalists and academics were spreading the info that allowed the politicians to do so. Therefore, they are all terrorists.
Branding press as “the enemy” is something Trump has been trying to do here. As the Washington Post’s front page motto says, “Democracy dies in darkness.” This is the darkness.
And now, Erdogan is, more or less, the sole ruler of Turkey.
But what does Trump care? It wouldn’t be surprising to find that he wishes something like that would happen here, too, if for no other reason than it would help cement his overinflated opinion of himself as a great man who is beloved by all, with nobody left to shine a light on the truth, like, oh, say, a free press.
The way the Turkey referendum was held has appalled international election monitors. According to them, “voters were not provided with adequate information, opposition voices were muzzled and the rules were changed at the last minute.” In short, this was not a truly democratic process.
Good job continuing to support authoritarian rulers over true democracies, Trump. You’re about as un-American as it gets.
Featured image by Mark Wilson via Getty Images