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Erdogan's struggle
by Thanos Kalamidas
2016-01-02 11:34:28
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First of January 2016 came with a couple very sad surprises. The republication of Hitler’s book "Mein Kampf" ("My Struggle") is possible in Germany since the copyright ran out on December 31, 70 years after Hitler's death and the German Institute for Contemporary History decided to reprint the book which is start selling in bookstores for 59 euros a copy, starting next week.

Germany's justice system has vowed that any republication or distribution of the original book without proper annotation is to remain illegal so the book is not appearing in its original form but is heavily annotated to expose the "lies, half-truths and vicious tirades," the institute said, behind a Nazi vision of racist hostility that ended in the deaths of tens of millions of people in World War II. But more or less the book of a murderous dictator that excuses his global crimes is out once more and since we all know that people “read” whatever they like in text, the poison is out again.

erdo01_400Do I agree or not with the reprint, it is the second surprise that will explain better. On his way back from a visit to Saudi Arabia, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, asked from journalists for the changes planned in the Turkish institution that will strengthen the president’s executive power, Mr Erdoğan pointed that there historic examples of presidents ruling countries like... “You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany.”

That came from the mouth of a man who desperately needs to prove that his country and the administration he runs, are democratic despite all the accusations from all sides for a corrupted regime with authoritarian behaviour. Erdoğan is …well Erdoğan. Even though we all hoped for something better in his beginnings he has been proven worse to any expectation. Using the Turkish strategic position for the geopolitical plans of everybody, except the Turkish people, he has established a ruthless dictatorship under the veil of a Middle Eastern style democracy. The differences between Erdoğan, Mugabe and Stalin are very few and mainly having to do with their starting point and not the ending.

The point is that Erdoğan used Hitler as an example to describe a democratic behaviour thinking and probably believing that he was doing something acceptable. And unfortunately Erdoğan is not an exception that he tends to be a rule lately. Hitler is not anymore the monster, the murderer, the inhuman cannibal, the reincarnation of evil on earth; he is a troubled leader who lost a war and during wars …things happen. A holocaust with millions dead is not things happen but in Erdoğan’s mind and since he is into genocide business with the Kurds, is not such a big deal and he probably would like to share excuses.

What Erdoğan did was very serious and beyond a bad surprise. The very dark side of the whole thing is the fact that not all the media picked what he said. And they wouldn’t in if Reuters hadn’t made headlines of it forcing everybody to write something even in their late editions or in the back pages. The point again is that even the media thought of it …news as usual.

Furthermore it was Erdoğan himself and his office who made it worse. When they realized that the media had started acting in a way that didn’t help much the image of the sultan, his press office blamed the media for twisting his words (old and well-practiced method internationally from politicians after they commit another guff) they came with an announcement that made everything more …terrifying. According to them “Mr Erdoğan had used the example to demonstrate that an executive presidency does not depend on a federal system of government.” Really? So why do we need the government, the parliament and the courts?

Erdoğan wants to become a Hitler in an era where Mein Kampf is reprinted and reaching bookshelves, an era where European parliaments have members openly supporting to whatever it is that a serial and mass killer might represent and hate crimes make daily headlines. This was a very bad surprise for the beginning of the year.

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