Experts

Turkey simmers

Twice during the course of the year, violence directed largely against Erdogan and the party he leads, the AKP, has broken out on the streets of Turkey’s major cities.

Turkey
Photo by: REUTERS/Umit Bektas
To say that 2013 has not been a good year for Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would be an understatement.  In fact, in the telling phrase used by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth in describing 1992, it has been an “annus horribilis” for him.

Twice during the course of the year, violence directed largely against Erdogan and the party he leads, the AKP, has broken out on the streets of Turkey’s major cities. “The illusion of invincibility that once surrounded Erdogan is crumbling,” asserts former Pentagon official Michael Rubin. The incidents precipitating the protests may have been different, but the underlying cause has been essentially the same – a widespread perception that Erdogan has become too dictatorial, too involved in the Islamist politics of the Arab Spring, and too arrogant in attempting to end Turkey’s role as a model of secularism in the Muslim world.



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