Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed The Economist weekly newspaper for a recent report warning about Turkey sliding into a dictatorship under Erdoğan, saying a British publication can’t decide the fate of the country, Turkish Minute reported.
The cover of The Economist’s latest issue includes a red Turkish flag, featuring a white star and crescent, with the crescent including Erdoğan’s facial silhouette and a headline that says “Turkey’s Looming Dictatorship: A Special Report on Erdogan’s Empire.”
A flawed democracy could tip into full-blown autocracy. Turkey is on the brink of disaster under its increasingly erratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan https://t.co/gfekLyEQH5 pic.twitter.com/vJpDB1pgUQ
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) January 19, 2023
The report argues that Turkey is on the brink of disaster under its “increasingly erratic president” and that Erdoğan’s behavior as the election approaches “could push what is today a deeply flawed democracy over the edge into a full-blown dictatorship.”
The issue was released after Erdoğan earlier this week proposed holding presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June on May 14.
Erdoğan, who spoke to reporters following Friday prayers in İstanbul, said: “Does a British magazine determine Turkey’s fate? It is my nation that decides. Whatever my nation says happens in Turkey.”
Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also criticized The Economist’s report.
“Outrageous headlines and provocative imagery might help them sell their so-called journal. … But we must remind audiences that this is sensationalist journalism based on cheap propaganda and disinformation,” Altun on Thursday said in a series of tweets.
Outrageous headlines and provocative imagery might help them sell their so-called journal, so we congratulate them on their ingenious marketing techniques! But we must remind audiences that this is sensationalist journalism based on cheap propaganda and disinformation.
— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) January 19, 2023
The Erdoğan aide claimed that there’s “real democratic politics” taking place in the country and that Turkish democracy’s vibrancy and the people’s ownership of their political system are “very strong.”
“I am convinced the Economist will never bother to report on what is actually going on in Türkiye. I just want to warn unsuspecting readers about their sad state!” Altun added.
Through a referendum in April 2017, Turkey switched from a parliamentary system of governance to an executive presidential system that granted President Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sweeping powers and was criticized for removing constitutional checks and balances, thus leading to a further weakening of Turkish democracy. Critics call the system “one-man rule.”
Turkey’s largest opposition bloc, the “Table of Six,” which refers to the leaders of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the İYİ (Good) Party, the Felicity Party (SP), the Future Party (GP), the Democrat Party (DP) and the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), vowed to introduce a “strengthened parliamentary system” should they unseat President Erdoğan in the 2023 elections.