by Eldad Beck
Given Turkey's political, economic and social decline, one would have expected the opposition parties to have rallied around a charismatic candidate who could have put up a fight against Erdogan.
Dictators who impose their rule on their people through supposedly democratic means mainly derive their strength from their political rivals' inability to unite against the tyrannical regime that is systematically destroying them and their country.
Given Turkey's political, economic and social decline, one would have expected the opposition parties not to have divided their voters among the five different candidates running against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but to rally around the candidacy of a charismatic leader that could have put up a fight against the incumbent. But since that did not happen, Erdogan was able to leap easily over the hurdles in his path to becoming Turkey's omnipotent ruler for a term that will take him past 2022, the same year when Turkey will mark the centennial of its establishment as a republic. By then, Erdogan hopes to complete the process of rapid disengagement from the secular principles set out by the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Erdogan is acting to complete this process consistently, vigorously and successfully. Ataturk's Turkey is no more.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was one of the first to congratulate Erdogan on his election victory, and for good reason: Erdogan is one of Abbas's last remaining hopes in a Middle East that has turned its back on the Palestinians. Beyond the Palestinians' best interest, Erodgan longs for Israel's detriment. The Israeli government decided not to respond with full force to the renewed deterioration in its relations with Ankara following Palestinian attempts to invade Israel from the Gaza Strip. The assessment in Jerusalem was that protest measures by Israel would lead to an escalation in tensions between the two countries that would benefit Erdogan's campaign and ensure his victory at the polls. Now that he has been granted another term in office, the Knesset must act to officially recognize the Armenian genocide. The Israeli government should also recognize the Kurds' right to self-determination and their own country, and all of Israel's official bodies should join forces to convince the West it must not collaborate with Turkey.
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