The Western media doubling down on its anti-Erdoğan campaign in the home stretch is hardly surprising. In addition to The Economist, which went well beyond endorsing the opposition candidate in Türkiye’s presidential race, publications like Foreign Policy, Le Point, L’Express, Der Spiegel and The Washington Post have been notably involved in the Turkish elections.
Having identified the May 14 elections as the most important contest of 2023, the Western media was not actually expected to promote President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. After all, those folks absolutely dislike the Turkish leader and his unwavering commitment to defending Turkish interests because they yearn for a “docile” Türkiye. Moreover, they are frustrated by Ankara’s challenges and effective steps amid the shifting international balance of power.
It goes without saying that the potential victory of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) chairperson and presidential candidate, would play into the hands of Western governments. Kılıçdaroğlu has already pledged to lock the S-400 air defense system in a hangar, assume a pro-Western stance in relations with Russia, comply with NATO’s demands and develop a different policy toward the militants of the PKK’s Syrian branch, YPG, in northern Syria – all of which would suit the West quite well. They do not care whether such steps hurt Turkish interests or undermine regional stability. Hence the lack of surprise in Türkiye over the Western media’s biased comments.
For the record, there is absolutely no room for any pro-Erdoğan remarks in those publications – which deliberately use terms like danger, challenge and expansionism in their coverage of Türkiye’s growing strategic and diplomatic significance. Let us recall that the Western media consistently backed the opposition in Turkish elections and constitutional referenda over the last decade. Indeed, analyzing the Western discourse on Türkiye’s supposed authoritarian turn under Erdoğan’s leadership could generate substantial academic literature. They developed so many arguments and made so many accusations that Edward Said might have rewritten his masterpiece, “Orientalism,” many more times. The Western media charged the Turkish government with “Islamic fascism” and “aggressive neo-Ottomanism,” as well as described the country’s president as an “expansionist sultan” and “the other (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.” Nowadays, they fantasize about Erdoğan’s potential defeat, triggering a global anti-authoritarian wave. Their approach is entirely out of touch with reality.
AK Party’s actions versus ‘promises’
Throughout the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) two decades in power, Türkiye accumulated a kind of experience that promoted stability in its neighborhood and showed due respect to popular preferences. The country successfully dealt with the fallout of civil wars, terror attacks and refugee waves. Türkiye’s growing strength and occasional tensions with its Western allies are linked to its ability to manage regional crises. The United States and the European Union repeatedly demonstrated how hypocritical and interest-driven their “democracy promotion” agenda was in the Middle East and Africa. The world knows that those countries that merely watched the Arab Spring give way to “winter” equate “democracy” with their narrowly defined interests. The catastrophic outcome of U.S. invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq was one of the reasons behind the collapse of the liberal order – what they once called the end of history.
That is why the Western media’s claim that Kılıçdaroğlu’s victory would bring democracy to Türkiye is not taken seriously by Turkish voters. Furthermore, they are fully aware that the Western discourse is about getting rid of the difficult Turkish leaders that demand an alliance of equals.
It is important to note that Turkish voters are not just concerned that Kılıçdaroğlu’s potential victory might place their country at risk by undermining the fight against the terrorist organizations PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). They also worry that Türkiye’s vested interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean, Syria, Libya and elsewhere may be threatened.
My previous column included a call on Türkiye’s political establishment to protest The Economist’s attempt to meddle in democratic elections. The People’s Alliance promptly warned against election meddling, yet the opposition continues to keep silent. Obviously, hardly anyone is surprised that the opposition leaders, who couldn’t tell the PKK ringleaders to shut their mouths, are reluctant to speak up against the Western media.
In this article
- 14 May 2023 Turkish General Election
- 2023 Turkish General Elections Presidential Candidates
- 2023 Turkish Presidential Election
- Anti-Turkish Sentiment | Anti-Turkism | Turkophobia | Turkish Fear
- Daily Sabah
- Der Spiegel
- Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)
- Foreign Policy Magazine
- Kurdistan Workers' Party Terrorist Organization (PKK)
- Le Point
- Middle East
- People's Protection Units (YPG)
- The economic transformation in the region will enable effective use of regional resources and ensure sustainable peace and environment of trust
- The Washington Post
- Türkiye's 2023 Elections
- Türkiye's Justice and Development Party | AK Party (AK Parti)
- Western Media