Recep Tayyip Erdoğan need not be regarded as the outstanding statesman that many Turks still see in him today. But it is undeniable that the Turkish president is an extremely unerring populist. This is shown by the rude treatment of his French colleague Emmanuel Macron. Because of his alleged “Islamophobia”, the Turk suggested that the French visit the psychiatrist. Of course, such insults are more than inappropriate in dealings with heads of state. But Erdoğan still has in Turkey and the Islamic world – or is it because of that? – once again scored.
The disparagement or even the mockery of the Prophet Mohammed by caricaturists and the hackneyed narrative of the tampering of Muslims by the earlier European colonial powers, which continues to this day, always triggers one very foreseeable reaction in the Islamic world: anger and solidarity. It is not without reason that the Islamic Republic of Iran immediately summoned the French ambassador to give him a sermon on the alleged “culture of hate” that Europeans cultivated towards Muslims. The Iranian leadership apparently does not want Erdoğan to take the butter off their bread.
So the man in Ankara has a knack for issues that can be charged. And he doesn’t have the slightest scruples about starting the worst arguments in the process. His policy of jostling, wedging and, if necessary, slamming with his fist is never an end in itself. Erdoğan now needs the daily riot: he is weakened domestically. The Turkish currency, and with it the country’s economy, are on a downward slide and there is no improvement in sight. A re-election of the strong man who has ruled for almost 20 years is by no means guaranteed at the moment, and it is also running into constitutional problems.
That is why Erdoğan feeds the Turks with his exciting topics: the gas dispute with the Greeks and the rest of the EU in the Mediterranean, the naval maneuvers and excursions by the research vessels. The paternal hand that the head of state holds over the Palestinian Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood scattered throughout the Islamic world. Solidarity with Azerbaijan – and massive armament – in the recent war in the Caucasus. The protection zone for the Syrian Islamist rebels in northern Syria. The war in Libya, in Northern Iraq. The Cyprus policy, in which the protection of the Turkish minority is increasingly used as a pretext to thwart the peaceful reunification of the island.
The president seems more and more like a real great Turk and a tough Islamist too
The list is long and Erdoğan will know how to update it. Because only the multitude of such willfully fueled conflicts allows him to inconspicuously withdraw from resistance in one field, without this being perceived as a damper or defeat: the president has long since occupied a new field, has set the next stimulus.
However, this policy is not only due to domestic policy. The president seems more and more like a real great Turk and a tough Islamist too. Attitude and attitude can probably no longer be separated: Erdoğan can hardly play the patron of all Muslim Brotherhoods without identifying with their ideology. It would be all the more important to finally show the Turkish head of state the limits of his provocations.
Dhe Turkey announced legal and diplomatic steps following the publication of a cartoon of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by the French satirical newspaper “Charlie Hebdo”. The Turkish Presidential Office announced this Wednesday that the “necessary” measures would be taken against the “vile caricature”. The drawing reflects a “hostility towards Turks and Islam”. The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the management of “Charlie Hebdo”.
“Charlie Hebdo” published a cartoon on the front page of its Wednesday edition showing Erdogan in a shirt and underpants with a can of beer. Erdogan then lifts the skirt of a veiled woman with the words “Ooh, the Prophet” and reveals her bare bottom. The cartoon is titled with the words: “Erdogan: In private he is very funny”. The issue was published online on Tuesday evening.
Erdogan’s spokesman accused the newspaper of “cultural racism” and spreading hateful messages on Tuesday. “We condemn this hideous effort of the publication to spread their cultural racism and hatred,” wrote Fahrettin Altun on the online service Twitter.
The Erdogan cartoon in the satirical newspaper fueled the last escalated dispute between French President Emmanuel Macron and the Turkish head of state. The latest tensions were triggered by Macron’s statements in defense of freedom of expression after the Islamist attack on a teacher near Paris who showed Mohammed cartoons by “Charlie Hebdo” in his class.
The French President then underlined the freedom of expression and said that such caricatures would continue to be shown in France. In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of French goods and called on Macron to have his “state of mind examined”.
Macron’s statements about the Mohammed cartoons also met with sharp criticism in other Muslim countries. There was a wave of anti-French protests, including more than 40,000 people took to the streets in Bangladesh on Tuesday.
After their defeat to Manchester United in the opening match, PSG must avoid another misstep against Basaksehir Istanbul. But beyond sport, politics is also on the ground after questions from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – known to be close to the Istanbul club – on the “mental health” of his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.
The Parisians will play in hostile terrain, Wednesday, October 28, on the lawn of Basaksehir Istanbul. Blunted by their home loss to Manchester United last week in the first group game, Thomas Tuchel’s men also find themselves caught in a diplomatic storm.
This Champions League meeting will indeed take place just days after the call for a boycott of French products launched by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish president accused his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, of being hostile to Islam, after the latter defended the freedom to caricature the Prophet Muhammad during a national tribute to assassinated professor Samuel Paty.
As tensions grew, Basaksehir Istanbul president Göksel Gümüsdag, a step-parent of the Turkish head of state, however, tried to calm things down. “Paris Saint-Germain are a friendly club. management team, starting with Mr. Nasser (Al-Khelaïfi, the president of the Parisian club), are our friends, ”he insisted in an interview with the Turkish state press agency Anadolu, adding: “We will be very happy to host this world class club.”
The reference to the Qatari owner of PSG is not trivial. Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintains excellent relations with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani, to whom Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is very close, which should lead the Turkish authorities to do everything to avoid possible disturbances on Wednesday evening. Due to sanitary measures, the meeting, scheduled for 5:55 p.m. GMT at Istanbul’s Fatih-Terim stadium, will be played behind closed doors anyway.
Asked about this at a press conference on the eve of the meeting, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel also tried not to fuel the controversy. “I am personally sad that it is not possible for everyone to live in harmony. I think every person would like it. But I am not worried. I really hope that there will be no implication. between sport and politics, “he said, before refocusing the subject on the sporting level. “The focus is on the match. The challenge for us is to play in the Champions League and give the signal that we can fight at the sporting level. (…) We will focus on that”.
Multiple links with Turkish power
But the story of Basaksehir Istanbul, crowned Turkish champion for the first time in its history last July, is closely linked to politics.In 2014, Istanbul’s Büyüksehir Belediyespor acceded to Süper Lig, the Turkish first division. In the process, this club, which until then belonged to the municipality of Istanbul, is sold to relatives of the AKP, the party of the Turkish president. In passing, he changed his name by settling in the district of Basaksehir, stronghold of the AKP.
The links with Turkish power are multiple: the club is sponsored by Medipol, a private hospital group led by President Erdogan’s personal doctor, Farhettin Koca, while the new stadium is being built by Kayon Grup, specializing in the construction of infrastructure states. Finally, the new president is Güksel Gümüsdag, who is none other than the husband of a niece of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The Basaksehir neighborhood fully reflects Erdogan’s strategy on the Basaksehir club. He created this neighborhood in the 90s, when he felt that the Islamist lifestyle was dominated by the modern, secular lifestyle of Istanbul. He presented it as the epicenter of his cultural project, which replaces the old cultural centers of the city, Beyoglu, Besiktas and Kadikoy. Today, he does the same with the club: he tries to replace the tradition of the big clubs with Basaksehir “, explained Daghan Iraq, lecturer at the University of Huddersfield (United Kingdom) and author of the book” Football Fandom, Protest and Democracy: Supporter Activism in Turkey “, (football fans, protests and democracy: supporter activism in Turkey), interviewed by France TV sport.
Erdogan on the pitch for the inauguration of the new stadium
Basaksehir also plays in orange – by chance or not, the same colors as the AKP – and takes up residence in the brand new Fatih Terim stadium. July 26, 2014, during the inaugural match, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is present in person on the ground.
The then Prime Minister of Turkey’s passion for football is not new : in his youth, the current head of state evolved to a semi-professional level within Kasimpasa and was even nicknamed “Imam Beckenbauer”. And for his appearance in the jersey of Basaksehir, Recep Tayyip Erdogan even scored a hat-trick. His jersey – number 12 because he was the favorite to become the 12e President of Turkey – is then removed from the squad, a tradition usually reserved for club legends.
Basaksehir then experienced a meteoric rise in power under the leadership, in particular, of the former coach of the Turkish selection, Abdullah Avci. The Istanbul club also benefits from the financial infusion of investors who have enabled the club to attract big European names on the decline. Emmanuel Adebayor, Gaël Clichy, Robinho… In the champion squad last season, 18 of the 26 players are of foreign nationality. But the figurehead of the team remains Arda Turan, a true idol in Turkey and loyal support of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who came from FC Barcelona to join the president’s club.
However, if the sporting success is there, the club struggles to gain popularity. The Fatih Terim stadium still rings hollow. The average attendance does not exceed 3,000 people – the twelfth in Turkey – while it is designed for 17,000 people. “You can not invent a club and push this club to popularity using its political power either. That was Erdogan’s goal with Basaksehir, but in Turkey, it does not work like that,” Daghan said. Iraq on France TV sport. “A citizen can fanatically support Erdogan politically and continue to support Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe or Besiktas. This is not incompatible.”
No room for error for PSG
For his first participation in the group stage of C1, the Turkish kid was relatively unlucky, since he inherited Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United as opponents. Sportingly, the gap is yawning between Basaksehir, absolute neophyte in the Champions League, and Paris SG, finalist of the last edition. What to put pressure on the Parisian coach and his players, for whom failure in Istanbul is prohibited.
🎙 Thomas Tuchel: “We are always very demanding of ourselves. We have to do a good result in Turkey after this loss against Manchester. We are capable of doing much better. ” #PSGlivepic.twitter.com/ImRCREfSeI
The Parisians remain in effect on a missed entry, last Tuesday, at home, against Manchester United (2-1 defeat), far from the face they had shown in August to reach the final of the C1, defeated only by the untouchable Bayern Munich (1-0).
Any other result than a success would leave the opportunity to extend their lead to Group H competitors, Manchester United and Leipzig, who face off in England on Wednesday. Thomas Tuchel can in any case count in attack on three of his “Fantastic Four”, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappé. Only Mauro Icardi, injured, will be missed, as will Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes.
STORY – Paris recalled its ambassador to Ankara after Erdogan questioned Emmanuel Macron’s “sanity”. Last episode of a worsening conflict.
It is a new stage in the deterioration of relations between France and Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a rare and strong diplomatic gesture, Emmanuel Macron recalled his ambassador to Turkey on Saturday to protest against “unacceptable words“, But also against”excess and rudeness“Of the Turkish president, who questioned his”Mental Health». «All you can say about a head of state who treats millions of people from different communities in this way is: go get mental health exams first.“Erdogan said in a television speech on Saturday. He was reacting to the words of Emmanuel Macron who had promised that France would continue to defend the cartoons of Mohammed. This is the first time in the history of relations between the two countries that the representative of French diplomacy has been recalled to Paris. The French president also regretted “the absence of messages of condolence and support from the Turkish president
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Calls for boycotts seem to be booming right now. And they do not always run along seemingly defined lines of conflict, for example between the Western and Islamic world. At the beginning of the week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on his compatriots to give up French products.
In the previous days, Erdoğan had sharply attacked French President Emmanuel Macron after he had announced at the funeral service of the killed teacher Samuel Paty that he would continue to show cartoons of Mohammed.
One might think that Erdoğan is already involved in enough trouble spots. At the same time as the boycott of French goods, an unofficial campaign against Turkish products is currently running, which seems extremely unfavorable in view of the Turkish lira crisis.
Ajlan bin Abdulaziz Al-Ajlan, the chairman of the Council of the Saudi Chambers of Commerce, had already called at the beginning of October to boycott “everything Turkish”, be it at the level of imports, investments or tourism. It is the responsibility of every Saudi trader and consumer in response to the continued hostility of the Turkish government towards our leadership, Al-Ajlan said. Last Monday he repeated the call for a boycott because “our leadership and our country are a red line”.
Aggressive foreign policy to distract from the economic misery
Ideologically, the two nations are far apart: while Ankara supported the movements of political Islam, above all the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, after the Arab Spring in 2011, Riyadh financed the counter-revolution of the Arab autocrats.
Since then, the two rivals have faced each other again and again, whether in the Libyan civil war or in the cataract crisis. Both claim a leadership role in the Islamic world. So when Erdoğan joins the Arab boycott campaign against France, it is primarily to claim that leadership role for himself.
Erdoğan pursues his aggressive and partly militarized foreign policy primarily to distract the Turks from the economic misery and his own domestic political position, which is deteriorating as a result. But he also wants to give Turkey a new role as a strong regional power in the Mediterranean, the Caucasus and the Black Sea, while also guaranteeing the country’s energy security.
Turkey is currently involved in no fewer than four wars and, at the same time, is making an ongoing series of military threat gestures with Greece, Cyprus and the EU in the search for natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean. Especially his Mediterranean policy brings Erdoğan into an ever more intense conflict with the EU; Some EU states are already calling for an end to the customs union with Turkey.
The commitment in Libya is about oil and gas in the Mediterranean
As a NATO state, Turkey has also clashed with the western alliance: Ankara has the modern Russian air defense system against the will of the alliance S-400 Bought.
Turkey has therefore already been given the purchase and co-production of the ultra-modern fighter jet from the USA F-35 forbidden; because of the recent activation of the S-400 threaten further US sanctions.
During the wars in Syria and Iraq, Ankara can still refer to its traditional policy of not allowing any state-like entities, such as the Kurds resident in Syria, because of its own Kurdish minority on the eastern borders, the commitment in Libya can only be achieved by expanding the explain Turkish regional role: It’s about oil and gas in the Mediterranean, about military bases in North Africa and about a kind of leadership role in parts of the Islamic world that had previously belonged to the Ottoman Empire.
Its ambitions are closely monitored by other regional powers such as Saudi Arabia.
A confrontation with Russia threatens
Turkey is also involved in the South Caucasus war between Azerbaijan and Armenia: Azerbaijan’s military successes can be explained in part by the delivery of Turkish weapons, and Ankara allegedly used Syrian mercenaries in the war over Nagorno Karabakh, similar to Libya, and advised Baku.
The wars in Syria, Libya and now in the Caucasus put Erdoğan in danger of a confrontation with Russia. In Libya, Russian mercenaries from the private army “Wagner” are fighting, in Syria Russian jets are flying attacks for the Assad regime – the rebels huddled in the border province of Idlib can only hold out thanks to the Turks.
Even the internationally recognized government of Libya was only able to prevent its defeat in the civil war with Turkish help and to stop the advance of forces supported by Russia.
Erdoğan must demonstrate strength domestically while at the same time balancing out a large number of willingly entered into conflicts. He has a working working relationship with the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin in both Syria and Libya; The basis is the mutual balance of interests of the two powers. But if the fighting continues, a confrontation between Ankara and Moscow can quickly arise. The same applies to Libya.
This is even clearer in the Caucasus, which is Russia’s traditional backyard. Moscow recently emphasized that “Turkey is not a strategic partner” and made it clear that it would oppose Erdoğan’s ambitions for power in one or more areas if necessary.
This morning: the rag burns between France and Turkey, a poll on the rise of the protest vote and the public transport puzzle because of the curfew.
Hello dear subscribers,
Have you had a difficult weekend, delayed because of the time change? If so, rest assured, you could be in the shoes of the French Ambassador to Turkey. He received a phone call on Saturday asking him to return to France the next day … I hope you are doing better. This episode follows a televised intervention by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during which he brought rhetoric to the level of children by advising Emmanuel Macron to “do mental health exams ”. Nothing like this to provoke a new diplomatic incident between Paris and Ankara.
Go read Laure Mandeville’s excellent report in Erie and Bristol (in the United States, therefore). Our reporter went to a meeting of Joe Biden and another of Donald Trump. She looked for the commonalities between the two events and went to bed without the answer.
Ronan Planchon, journalist at Figaro
Erdogan mobilizes Islamists against France
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Dhe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for a boycott of French goods. The reason is the dispute between France and Islamic countries over the debate about showing and publishing Mohammed cartoons. “Just as some in France say ‘don’t buy Turkish brands’, I address myself to my nation: Don’t pay attention to goods labeled in French, don’t buy them,” Erdogan said in a televised address on Monday.
Erdogan accused European politicians of being hostile to Islam. “You are, in the truest sense of the word, fascists,” he said. “Today Muslims are experiencing a similar lynching campaign as was waged against Jews in Europe before the Second World War.”
Other countries had already started a boycott on Sunday. In Kuwait, according to the newspaper “Al-Kabas”, 50 consumer cooperatives declared that they had removed all French goods from their branches. In Qatar, too, supermarket chains have announced that they will be taking French goods off their shelves until further notice.
Videos could be seen on social networks of employees at a supermarket in Amman, the capital of Jordan, removing French dairy products from the refrigerated shelves. Users spread the names of French brands on the Internet and called for a boycott, and hashtags were also making the rounds.
Merkel is behind Macron
The largest French trade association, Medef, has backed the government in Paris in the face of calls for boycotts against products from France in several Arab countries. It is out of the question to give in to blackmail, Medef boss Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux told BFMTV on Monday. “There are times when we have to put principles before the opportunity to expand our business.”
Medef is “in full solidarity with the French government,” said the head of the association. “I urge the companies to resist the blackmail and unfortunately to endure this boycott for the time being.”
The German federal government also stood behind Macron. “These are defamatory statements that are completely unacceptable,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert in Berlin. “We stand by France’s side in solidarity,” said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD). The Personal attacks by President Erdogan against President Macron “are a new low point, and they are total unacceptable”. Anyone who “simply equates the fight against Islamist extremists with racism and Islamophobia is acting no differently than irresponsible, and is playing into the hands of those who want to divide our society”.
The dispute between France and the other countries was inflamed over the debate about showing and publishing cartoons of Mohammed. The background is statements by French President Emmanuel Macron after the brutal murder of a teacher in France.
Macron had defended freedom of expression and sided with those who want to show or publish cartoons. France will not “do without caricatures and drawings, even if others withdraw,” said Macron at a memorial service in honor of the killed Samuel Paty. He had shown Mohammed cartoons in class and was killed in the street and then beheaded. Islamic tradition forbids depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
The French President has been criticized in Turkey.
Paris The conflict between Turkey and France is reaching a new dimension. In Turkey and several Arab countries, calls are being made to boycott French products after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly accused his French colleague Emmanuel Macron of having “a problem with Muslims” and that he should have his health checked. France has called its ambassador back for the first time.
The federal government condemned Erdogan’s attacks on Monday as “completely unacceptable defamations”. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the fight against radical Islamism had nothing to do with Islamophobia.
The dispute began with a dispute over the deployment of Turkish soldiers in Libya, the violation of Greek territorial waters by Turkish natural gas exploration ships and Turkey’s role in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war.
Now the Turkish President is taking the dispute to another level: He has been accusing French President Emmanuel Macron for days of persecuting and humiliating Muslims. Media close to the government speak of a “witch hunt against Muslims in France”. The country insulted Islam by publishing the Muhammad cartoons.
Macron had repeatedly stressed that he did not have to judge religions, but that in France blasphemy was also allowed as part of freedom of expression. Erdogan and the media devoted to him are now making a state-decreed mockery of Islam.
Jostling against Macron could turn into violence
Exactly such accusations preceded the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty on October 16 by a Russian of Chechen descent. In a systematic campaign, the teacher was accused of being Islamophobic and of distributing pornography.
By approaching these allegations, Erdogan is crossing a line: the public jostling against Macron could turn into violence.
Macron reacted to the murder of the teacher by banning various Islamist associations and closing some mosques. In addition, an upcoming law is to restrict the posting of imams from abroad to France.
This would particularly affect Turkey, which is particularly active in sending Muslim clergymen to Western Europe. It would lose some of its influence over the Muslims. This also probably explains the violence of the attacks Erdogan is now waging against Macron.
Supermarkets list French products
There are now countless calls for a boycott of French goods on Twitter. The authors describe themselves as Turks, Jordanians, Qataris or Kuwait. The tweets are often similar, however, often with the hashtag #MacronTheDevil and have an identical list with the logos of over 40 French brands, from cheese and ballpoint pens to luxury products. Some French politicians suspect Turkey is behind the boycott campaign.
French media report on supermarket chains in several Gulf states that have started to delist French products. The photos show how cheese, jam and shampoo are taken from the shelves.
The boycott calls do not shock anyone in Paris, but the government is very concerned about Erdogan’s policy. In view of the weakening of Iran, Erdogan wants to become the leader of the – in his case Sunni – Muslims, is the interpretation. On Sunday, the Turkish President also attacked the Federal Republic of Germany because a mosque was searched on suspicion of embezzlement.
Paris sees Erdogan as economically and politically weakened. His attacks on France and Germany and his aggressive actions in the eastern Mediterranean should distract from the fact that the country is economically in decline thanks to Erdogan’s policies.
France, Germany and the EU would have to vigorously oppose Erdogan’s systematic attempt to intimidate the EU and gain influence over Muslims within the member states.
More: Erdogan’s aggressive foreign policy is putting the country’s future at risk.
After a verbal attack by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on French President Emmanuel Macron, France called its ambassador in Ankara back for consultations. “The words of President Erdoğan are unacceptable,” the French news agency AFP quoted the reasoning from the Elysée Palace. “We do not get involved in useless arguments and do not accept any insults,” it said. The Turkish president is being asked to change the course of his dangerous policy.
Erdoğan raged on Saturday at a congress of his AKP party in Kayseri in Central Anatolia against “worrying signs of growing Islamophobia in Europe”. As an example he cited Macron, among others, who declared war on radical Islamism in France after the decapitation of the teacher Samuel Paty a week ago. Paty was killed by an 18-year-old with Russian-Chechen roots after showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in class.
“What kind of problem does this person named Macron have with Islam and Muslims?” Erdoğan asked at the event on Saturday. Macron should be in psychological treatment, added the Turkish president. His French colleague does not understand freedom of belief.
At the same event, Erdoğan also criticized a police raid in a Berlin mosque. On Wednesday about 150 police officers searched several companies and a mosque in the German capital on suspicion of corona subsidy fraud. Erdoğan had previously described the process on Twitter as racist and Islamophobic.
Verbal attacks by Erdoğan against Macron are not necessarily new. The Turkish president had already questioned the mental health of the French last November. At that time, Macron had attested “brain death” to the NATO defense alliance. Erdoğan then said that Macron should have his own brain death examined. There were insults and provocations from Erdoğan almost every week during the summer, AFP quoted the Elysée Palace as saying. This time it is also about “the context”.
“Europe is an increasingly dangerous place for Muslims”
The list of current points of contention between Paris and Ankara is long: Among other things, Macron had sent additional warships to the eastern Mediterranean in the sea-area dispute between the EU countries Greece and Cyprus on the one hand and Turkey on the other to symbolically support Greece and was open to it additional Turkey sanctions shown. France had also sharply criticized Turkey’s interference in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan can refer to its “brother state” Turkey in the conflict with Armenia over the South Caucasus region, which has been disputed between the two countries for decades.
Erdoğan’s spokesman followed up on Sunday and raised allegations against the entire EU. “Europe is an increasingly dangerous place for Muslims,” wrote Fahrettin Altun in a series of tweets. The hurtful cartoons or searches of mosques are not about freedom of expression. Rather, it is about intimidating Muslims and reminding them that they are welcome to keep the European economy running, but that they will never be welcome. Margaritis Schinas, EU Commissioner for the Protection of the European Lifestyle, tweeted back: “I’m sorry if I disappoint you, but this is our lifestyle as defined in the Treaties.”
Dhe economic situation in Turkey continues to deteriorate. The palace regime always takes the same measure. In practiced helplessness, it quickly reaches into the pockets of the people. The already exorbitant taxes will be raised.
On the Turkish version of the column Click to read the Turkish original of the article
The government increased taxes on cars and alcoholic beverages several times. If we buy a car, we pay so much taxes that we can use it to finance two cars for the state. We are even more generous when it comes to buying alcohol. For every glass we drink, there are three for Erdogan’s household.
The fact that alcoholic beverages are particularly drastic is no coincidence, because that doesn’t affect Erdogan’s base very much and fits the Islamist character of the government. So in Turkey, alcoholic beverage consumers pay the highest taxes. In the past decade, taxes on alcohol have increased by nearly 500 percent. In Germany you could buy 3,158 bottles of beer with a monthly minimum wage, in contrast to only 186 in Turkey.
Taxes are driving up the prices of spirits. Instead of spending a fortune on a bottle of raki, citizens are now making their own alcoholic beverages at home if there is a lack of hygiene. Some have turned their apartment into a small schnapps distillery and produce whiskey and vodka while they are already there. Erdogan has stated that our national drink is Ayran, but thanks to taxes, raki is his favorite drink. Citizens see it the same way, but for different reasons. Blogs with recipes for making raki are springing up like mushrooms. Online shops have even been set up offering raw materials for raki production such as ethanol and aniseed oil.
The rulers were not at all happy that the citizens now consume homemade raki, which costs them only a fifth of the retail price. As soon as the state noticed a decrease in the income from alcohol sales in the total tax revenue, it banned the sale of the most important raw material for raki production: Ethanol from agricultural production is no longer allowed to be traded in supermarkets and on the Internet. But people found ways to overturn the ban. If you didn’t get any ethanol, you added methanol to the raki. Some resorted to even more dangerous substances. They mixed cleaning products such as alcohol-based disinfectants with alcohol aromas and sold them as raki.
The accident happened. In the past two weeks, at least 70 people have died after consuming illegal alcohol. Far more are struggling with death in intensive care units in hospitals. Even if they survive, they will suffer permanent damage, such as loss of vision. The rulers care little. On the contrary, one or the other even laughed up their sleeves. A member of the youth organization of Erdogan’s AKP said: “Laicists, if you want to get rid of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, only drink plenty of adulterated alcohol!”
They preach to others to share the want
The economic crisis, however, affects all citizens. According to the latest figures, forty percent of citizens are no longer able to pay their electricity, water and gas bills. One in four people in the country is unemployed and there is no prospect of investment in job creation. But we are breaking one record: that of foreign debt. We are eighteenth in the world’s largest economies, but sixth in terms of external debt.