Will Tyrannical Erdogan Use War to Deflect from Corruption Scandal and Twitter Ban?
By Harold Hutchison
Buffeted by a growing corruption scandal and losing popularity, Turkish strongman Recip Erdogan apparently is trying to distract people. Over the weekend, Turkish forces shot down a Syrian fighter. Erdogan is also declaring a ban on social network sites like Twitter.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, a Turkish Air Force F-16 shot down a Syrian MiG-23 “Flogger” over the weekend. The Turkish military has taken more aggressive posture since the downing of a Turkish RF-4 Phantom in 2012. The action is increasing tensions with not only Syria, but some Islamist rebel groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked groups Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
Erdogan has also been moving against domestic dissent, banning Twitter, after claiming it defied court orders to remove content. The ban quickly proved ineffective as more “tweets” began appearing than before. Erdogan’s edict drew criticism as well.
“Twitter didn't shut down as you see, the number of users doubled since it was declared banned," said Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who was among those who Tweeted after Erdogan issued his decree. "Actually, it is not legally possible to shutter the Internet or platforms such as this.”
Erdogan has been known to try to silence opposition voices. When asked if Erdogan was a tyrant, Michael Rubin, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, told National Review, “Yes, absolutely.”
Rubin explained, “Long before he became Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan famously quipped that ‘Democracy was like a streetcar; you ride is as far as you need, and then you get off.’ His trajectory has shown that he took such words to heart.”
According to a report by Breitbart News, Barack Obama built a personal friendship with Erdogan. That did not stop the White House from criticizing the Twitter ban in Turkey.