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Are the final credits rolling on Erdogan’s film?

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

We will begin our talk today with three introductory facts:

Turkey is a major state in the Middle East. Its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a key player in the region over the last 20 years. The regional project he wagered on and managed with other parties in the region is, apparently, going through a setback.

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Today, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Erdoganism as a whole, stands before a difficult test as it tries to get out of the expansionist quagmire into which it threw itself, especially during the days of destructive chaos known as the Arab Spring. The question is: Do the steps taken by the ruling system in Turkey express a genuine intention and determination, and are they really a core leap from a certain state of mind to another?

Erdogan’s friend-turned-foe Ahmet Davutoglu, once Erdogan’s political and intellectual adviser, is preaching a new Turkey that has no problems with neighbors near and far. However, after two decades under Erdogan, Turkey finds itself entangled in problems with nearly everyone, in the Arab world and in the West. Did Erdoganism live inside the bubble of slogans, seeking to revive the legacy of the invading Ottoman Empire with an illusionist, destructive approach, only to wake up today and find that the pins of economy and needles of reality have burst the bubble of slogans?

Pervin Buldan, the co-leader of the Peoples' Democratic Party, attacked the fatigued President, in the context of the current political competition in Turkey, saying: “The President of the Justice and Development Party (Erdogan) says he wrote a book on economy. If you wrote a book on economy, why don’t you also shoot a movie about the drowning economy along with your ministers who destroyed their ministries and your media outlets?”

Has the time come for the final credits on Erdogan’s long film?

Ali Babacan, leader of the Democracy and Progress Party and a former comrade of Erdogan, attacked his old friend, saying in his most recent statement: “Our funds are disappearing before the sweat on our face has time to dry. The minimum wage stood at $283, nearly the same as in China.” Addressing Erdogan, he added: “When we put you in charge of the economy, the Turkish Lira was pegged at a rate of 2.92 liras per USD. An hour ago, it was over 10 liras per USD.”

The Turkish economy is indeed suffering under Erdogan. Relations with Arab neighbors are bad. This is why many observers and media reports claim that a decision has been made in Ankara to develop relations with the UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. The rest is just details relating to timing, form, and tools.

The above is all true, but doesn’t proclaiming the end of Erdoganism and all that it entails seem like a rushed conclusion? What it entails is a new Ottoman renaissance project with international Muslim Brotherhood support, and a deep-rooted attachment to the Caliphate project, which extends presently to India’s Islamists and other Ajams.

Perhaps Erdoganism in its entirety is but one small chapter in a large book, or one episode of a long film series. For this reason, perhaps one must call it a setback, not the end of the project. A project is counteracted with another project with multiple facets and various pillars, not with illusionist media campaigns.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Lebanese news outlet Annahar al-Arabi.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.