Democracy in Turkey

February 11, 2011 Topic: DemographyReligion Region: Turkey

Democracy in Turkey

Dani Rodrik has just returned from Turkey, shunned while defending his father-in-law, the main defendant in the military coup plot case. The Harvard professor explains his take.

To be sure, the trial still goes on and the proceedings ignore the fact that the incriminating CDs would be inadmissible as evidence in any proper tribunal. Many “liberal” commentators continue to treat the charges as fact. It would be too much to expect a quick about-face in a nation scarred by a history of military coups and by a judiciary that has long been manipulated by those holding political power.

Yet the facts of the case are simple and demand answers. Why is the Gülen movement, judging by the behavior of its mouthpiece, so intent on covering the forgers’ tracks? Why is Erdoğan’s government idly standing by despite the obvious miscarriage of justice?

These are uncomfortable questions that go the heart of the new political order taking shape in Turkey. They force us to reconsider how benign the AKP’s alliance with the Gülen movement really is, and what the alliance portends for the future of democracy and the rule of law in Turkey.

Dani Rodrik is a professor at Harvard University, and the son-in-law of retired general Çetin Doğan, the lead defendant in the Sledgehammer case.