If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan really had the security and wellbeing of his country at heart, he would resign immediately, commentator Simon Tisdall wrote in the Guardian on Tuesday.
The incursion Turkey launched into Syria on Oct. 9 is only the latest in a long line of foreign blunders, Tisdall said.
“He harms his country. He is still in office not because he is popular but because of the fear he instils and the power he crudely wields. It’s time for him to go,” Tisdall said.
The United States on Monday sanctioned three Turkish ministers and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel over the military operation in Syria against Kurdish-controlled territories. There is also bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress to punish Turkey with harsher sanctions, while several members of the European Union, including Germany, France, and Great Britain, suspended arms sales to Turkey and the bloc later this week will discuss further sanctions. The Arab League, which includes 22 countries, denounced Ankara’s military offensive and said it had been considering measures against Turkey.
“All western leaders share some blame here,” Tisdall said, referring to Turkey Syria adventure. “They have long known Erdoğan for what he is – yet for reasons of realpolitik, they looked the other way.”
But now many of those leaders must be wishing Erdoğan gone, the columnist said, adding that the Turkish president had made his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump “look like a gullible idiot,” deeply alarmed regional states and raised fears that of an Islamic State resurgence. “His early departure would be a boon for Europe,” Tisdall said.
“But getting rid of Erdoğan is a matter for the Turks. And it wouldn’t be quite as difficult as it might sound,” Tisdall said. The president suffered major defeats in local elections this year, losing control of five of Turkey’s six most populous cities, and loyalty to him has been weakening with two initiatives seeking to establish breakaway parties.
“Turkey, when all is said and done, is a democracy, not a one-man dictatorship – a fact Erdoğan has never fully grasped,” Tisdall said. “Now, the charismatic aura that once surrounded him is dissolving. The spell that enthralled the country for so long is definitively broken. Erdoğan’s political obituaries are already being penned. He should jump before he is pushed.”