Erdogan’s forgiveness does not extend to all

by omouggos

I am sure many people were surprised by Erdoğan’s recent display of magnanimity, when he announced that he would withdraw charges against those accused of insulting him, which is a crime in Turkey.1 However, it is becoming increasingly evident that Erdoğan is not so clement after all

Two days after Erdoğan’s July 29 announcement, the necessary paper work was filed by his lawyer Hüseyin Aydın notifying an Ankara court that he will withdraw criminal and insult cases against him.2 Aydın said that the over 3,000 such cases will be withdrawn and for “political leaders, we will withdraw all crime and some insult cases. Now there are around five arrested suspects… Those arrested will be freed with the withdrawal of their cases, I believe.

Pertaining to political opposition leaders it is noteworthy that Aydın said only “some” of the insult case will be withdrawn. Apparently forbearance will not be extended to Selahattin Demirtaş the leader of the Kurdish HDP, who stated during a February speech that Erdoğan “wants to be the caliphate of Islam. But thieves cannot be caliphs.”3 For such a snide remark Demirtaş is being prosecuted for insulting the president and evidently will not receive clemency.

It should come as no surprise that Erdoğan is selective in his forgiveness. Firstly, this selectiveness provides further evidence that he is not motivated by a true spirit of mercy but by pragmatic political considerations. Secondly, Demirtaş being a leader of a pro-Kurdish political party has always drawn the ire of Erdoğan, particularly after the HDP’s successful showing in the June 2015 general elections in which the party garnered 13% of the vote and almost 15% of the parliamentary seats. The HDP’s electorial success almost derailed the AKP’s desire for a majority government, which they were able to obtain in the most recent November general election. This coupled to the fact that Demirtaş and the HDP are effectively marshalling Kurdish and left-wing support against the AKP, explains why Erdoğan is still targeting him with litigation. Furthermore, Erdoğan does not need HDP political support as long as he can propitiate the CHP and MHP, which he is attempting to do with his clemency ploy.

Ultimately don’t be fooled by Erdoğan’s withdrawal of insult cases. It is becoming increasing clear this has nothing to do with true forgiveness, but is merely self-serving another ploy intended to garner the support of his political opposition as he purges the state and society of ‘Gulenists’ and as he attempts to transform Turkey’s civic structures into a Presidential system. We are merely witnessing another step in Erdoğan’s march to establish a neo-Ottoman Caliphate.

O Mouggos


[1] See my post Erdogan says he will legally forgive those who have insulted him.

[2] ,