Erdogan facing the ultimate test
In Turkey, the date of the presidential elections has been announced. This is likely to be Erdogan's toughest test yet and internally - the strengthening of the neo-liberal pro-Western opposition (especially the Republican People's Party), a split within the Justice and Development Party (AKP) itself, a severe economic slowdown, inflation, the aftermath of a monstrous earthquake. On the external front, the intensifying conflict with the United States and the European Union and the increasingly strong rejection of Erdogan's policies by the globalist leadership in the White House.
Struggle for sovereignty
The main aspect of Erdogan is his firm focus on sovereignty. It is the main point of his policies. All his activities as head of state are built around this axis. Initially, Erdogan relied on Islamist ideology, an alliance with the extreme Sunni Salafist regimes of the Arab world. During this period, he collaborated very closely with the United States, with the structures of Fethullah Gulen serving as a module of this cooperation. The secular Kemalists, the Turkish nationalists, both left and right, were then in opposition. This culminated in the Ergenekon case, in which Erdoğan arrested the entire top military leadership, which traditionally adhered specifically to the Kemalist orientation.
At some point, this policy stopped promoting sovereignty and started to weaken it. After the Russian military operation in Syria and the downing of the Turkish plane in 2015, Erdoğan was threatened: firstly, relations with Russia deteriorated, bringing Turkey to the brink of war; secondly, the West, dissatisfied with the policy of sovereignty, was ready to overthrow Erdoğan and replace him with more obedient collaborators - Davutoğlu, Gül, Babacan, etc. The Gülenists, former allies of Erdoğan and main opponents of Kemalism, became the backbone of the plot.
In 2016, when relations with Russia were somewhat clarified, the West, using the Fethullahists (Gülenists), tried to organise a coup d'état, which was, however, foiled. The fact that a significant number of patriotic Kemalists, military officers released by Erdogan shortly before the coup, and their political structure, the Vatan Party, supported Erdogan rather than the pro-Western military at the critical moment was a crucial factor. The fact is that by this point the Kemalist nationalists (left and right) had realised that Erdogan was building his policy on strengthening sovereignty and that ideology was secondary for him.
Since the Gülenist conspirators and other Westerners who rebelled against Erdoğan were slavishly following the globalist West, which inevitably led Turkey to total collapse and the elimination of the nation-state, the Kemalists decided to support Erdoğan to save the state. Russia also partly supported Erdogan, realising that its enemies were puppets of the West. The Turkish nationalists of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also eventually sided with him.
Since 2016, Erdoğan has embraced positions close to patriotic Kemalism and partly to Eurasianism, openly proclaiming the priority of sovereignty, criticising Western hegemony and advocating a multipolar world project. Relations with Russia have also gradually improved, although Erdoğan has made occasional pro-Western moves. Henceforth, sovereignty became his ideology and highest political goal.
However, the liberal opposition in the form of the Republican People's Party (Kılıçdaroğlu), which initially opposed the Islamist line of the first Erdoğan and then rejected sovereignty, exploited a series of domestic and economic miscalculations. It managed to win a number of key positions in the elections, notably by presenting its own candidates for mayor of the two main cities, Ankara and Istanbul. Erdoğan was also opposed by his former colleagues in the ruling AKP party, who are also opposed to Eurasianism and sovereignty and oriented towards the West - the same Ahmet Davutoğlu, Abdullah Gül, Ali Babacan, etc.
It is in this situation that Erdogan goes to the polls. The West is obviously displeased with him by virtue of his disobedience - in particular his demarcation against Sweden and Finland, whose NATO membership Turkey has prevented; Ankara's relatively lenient policy towards Russia, against whom the collective West is waging war in Ukraine, has further irritated the globalists in Washington and, most importantly, the modern leadership of the White House and the globalist elites of the European Union categorically do not accept even a hint of sovereignty from their vassals or adversaries.
Anyone who is willing to submit to the West must completely renounce their sovereignty in favour of a supranational decision-making centre. This is the law. Erdogan's policies directly contradict it, so Erdogan must be removed, at any cost. If he failed in a coup in 2016, he will have to do so in the 2023 elections, no matter what the outcome. After all, there is always the practice of coloured revolutions in reserve.
This is exactly what we saw again in Georgia, whose leadership, after the departure of the ultra-Westernist and liberal Saakashvili, tried to make Georgia a little more sovereign. But even this was enough for Soros to activate his networks and launch a revolt against the 'too moderate' attitude towards Russia and the 'unacceptably sovereign' course of the regime controlled by the pragmatic oligarch Bedzina Ivanishvili.
Erdogan is now putting together a political coalition that he can count on in the elections. The backbone will obviously be the AKP, a party largely loyal to Erdogan, but lacking any substance and composed of officials with little popular enthusiasm. Technically, it is a useful tool, but partly an embarrassment. Many in Turkey attribute the failures of the economy, the growth of corruption and the inefficiency of the system of government to AKP officials and the administrative cadres appointed within them. While Erdoğan is a charismatic figure, the AKP is not. The party thrives on Erdogan's authority, not vice versa.
Erdogan's allies and opponents
The traditional allies will obviously be the Turkish nationalists of Devlet Bahçeli's Turkish Nationalist Movement Party. During the Cold War and by inertia in the 1990s, Turkish nationalists were strictly NATO-oriented and pursued an anti-Soviet (later anti-Russian) line. In the 2000s, however, their policies gradually began to change. They moved further and further away from the liberal West and closer to Erdogan's sovereign vector. Ideologically, they are more flamboyant than the AKP, but their radicalism alienates part of the Turkish population. In any case, Erdogan's proven ideological and political alliance with Bahçeli is crucial for his future.
Erdogan can also count on the support of small but influential Sufi political movements without mass support. Their role is to fill the void left by the defeat of the Gulenist structures that claimed to be a 'Sufi movement'. Sufism is quite widespread in Turkish society and some tariqats regard Erdoğan as the figure on whom Turkey's spiritual renaissance depends. Although the diversity of Turkish Sufism, as well as of other spiritual currents - in particular the Alevis and Bektashi - leaves plenty of room for other opinions.
All Westerners will unite against Erdogan and it cannot be excluded that this time the globalists will activate a network of agents both within the AKP itself and in other state structures. Given Erdogan's difficult situation, for reasons of age and health, this may be his last chance - not just for an individual, but for a historical figure who has tied his fate and his politics to the sovereignty of the Turkish state. If he succeeds now, and ensures the continuity of the path by giving it a strict ideological formulation, he will go down in Turkish history as the second Atatürk, the saviour of statehood at a time of critical upheaval. If he falls, it is very likely that a series of disasters await Turkey, because whoever comes in his place will be oriented towards the West, and this means that the collapse of Turkey in the future is imminent, because the globalists have by no means forgotten the plans of Greater Kurdistan.
Of course, they failed to implement this provocation during the wave of coloured revolutions and after the invasion of Iraq and Syria, but the fall of Erdogan will breathe new life into these projects. Finally, Erdogan's opponents will be forced into a serious confrontation with Russia, because their NATO masters will demand it, and this will be another factor in Turkey's collapse. Erdogan himself will be vilified by his successors and the chain of catastrophes of the Turkish state will lead to his name simply being forgotten. Erdogan is therefore facing these elections as if they were his last battle. Not only as a politician, but as a historical figure, as a true leader and symbol of his people. He can finally consolidate this status, but if he loses, he risks losing it irretrievably and will not get another chance.
In this situation, geopolitical analysis suggests that Erdoğan has another resource: not so much a mass resource as an ideological and image resource. These are the same patriotic Kemalists who, unlike the liberal Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu of the Republican People's Party, despite the harsh repression during the Ergenekon case, sided with Erdoğan at the critical moment and, forgetting old grudges, fully supported his sovereign course. Some circles refer to Erdoğan as the 'green Ataturk', i.e. the Turkish ruler, the national leader with Islamic tendencies. The political face of this extremely influential group in Turkey, consisting mainly of military officers of all ranks, is the left-wing Vatan party, led by the charismatic leader Doğu Perinçek.
From an electoral point of view, the party was by no means representative, but its importance lies elsewhere: it is the centre of Turkey's most current geopolitical analysis, a Eurasian ideological party with a multipolar stance and a true intellectual centre of Turkish sovereignty. The newspapers Vatan, Aydınlık and Teori, the television channel Ulusal, the numerous blogs and websites make this entity the most important trump card. Vatan's historically strong ties with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea must also be considered. For Erdogan, who is now playing against the West, this anti-globalisation, multi-polar club vector could prove decisive. If Vatan is included in the coalition, Erdogan will also be able to untie his hands in the Western direction: the connection with the main poles of the multipolar world, and especially with Russia, on which so much of modern Turkish politics and economics, and thus the fate of Erdogan himself, depends, will be securely ensured.
Erdoğan has demonstrated through his life that he has a very good sense of geopolitics.
He always chooses alliances that strengthen Turkish sovereignty. Kemal Ataturk himself did the same. However, if the situation changes and former allies prove to be an obstacle to Turkey's independence and freedom, Erdogan is always ready to sacrifice them.
Turkey today finds itself balanced between a unipolar West and a multipolar East, Eurasia. This has been the case since the beginning of the Turkish nation-state. But the proportions of this balance have been determined differently at each turning point in history. Sometimes it was important to take a step towards the East (as Kemal Ataturk did in alliance with Lenin); at other times, it was a matter of taking a step towards the West.
Today, Russia, which used to be Turkey's geopolitical rival, and even more so the other poles of the multipolar world, do not pose a threat to Turkish sovereignty and this is an objective fact; on the contrary, special relations with Russia and China and the compromise with Shia Iran offer Turkey vital advantages in its foreign and domestic policy. The West, at least the liberal, globalist West, is playing against Erdogan, and thus against Turkish sovereignty. A politician as subtle as Erdogan cannot fail to see this. It is time to give sovereignty the status of an ideology and enshrine multipolarity as the main vector of Turkish politics.
These elections are crucial for Turkey. Russia, under these circumstances - despite what may appear to our eyes as inconsistency, hesitation, a policy of 'two steps left, two steps right' - has an interest in Turkey remaining united, whole, independent and sovereign. This is objectively only possible together with Russia, and not against it in any way. Therefore, for Russia, Erdogan is the best choice in the current circumstances.
Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini