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December 24, 2013

On Heels of Enormous Government Corruption Scandal, Turkey is Rebelling Against Ergodan Again

Big story.

From the WSJ:

The premier has refused to remove four ministers implicated in the corruption scandal and has accused an unspecified international group of diplomats, journalists and financiers that he called “the interest-rate lobby” of fabricating allegations.

Mr. Erdogan took back-to-back swipes at the U.S. too, suggesting that the American ambassador may be meddling in Turkey’s affairs and accusing lawmakers in Washington of trying to cripple a state-run bank, whose chief was also jailed pending trial in the bribery case.

“A totally illegal, very dirty, and extremely dark trap is being set under the guise of this corruption case,” Mr. Erdogan said Sunday in Giresun, on Turkey’s eastern Black Sea coast. “The meaning of the conspiracy that was hatched last week is very clear: disrupting peace and stability….We will destroy these nasty games being played on Turkey.”

Erdogan is a dark populist, so whenever public dissatisfaction grows against him, he starts blaming foreign interests, foreign agents, and so forth. Jews, he means. Sometimes he means Israelis, but sometimes he just means French Jewish pop-philosophers. Whoever.

But he also means secularist political opponents. Popular opposition to him is always caused by "outside forces" conspiring with domestic un-Islamic assassins.

“Mr Erdogan says the Turkish protests are linked to terrorism, an international plot against his country and ‘an interest rate lobby’ disturbed by its recent high rates of growth,” Daniel Dombey reports for the Financial Times.

This “interest rate lobby” is a good issue for Erdogan to jump on. It conjures up shadowy international capitalists with ties to traditional Turkish big businesses (which were mostly affiliated with the Kemalists). Charging interest is prohibited under most circumstances in Islamic banking, so he accuses this “lobby” and its network of being anti-religious and sinful as well as betraying Turkey to foreigners.

What is surprising is that Turkey is growing economically -- it's growing a lot. But about half of Turkey just rejects Ergodan's ultra-Islamic rule.

And his corruption, of course. And killing protesters.

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posted by Ace at 03:24 PM

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