More than 80 dignitaries from across the political spectrum on Thursday wrote President Obama asking him to get involved in what they describe as the anti-democratic actions of Turkish Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan.
The letter opens:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is increasingly undermining a central pillar of the decades-long, strategic U.S.-Turkish partnership: Turkey’s growing democracy. We are writing because of our deep dismay at this development and to urge you to make clear to the Turkish public America’s concern about Turkey’s current path. Silence will only encourage Prime Minister Erdoğan to diminish the rule of law in the country even further.
Next, the letter writers warn:
The response of Prime Minister Erdoğan to potential challenges to his rule—first large public protests beginning in May 2013, more recently allegations of massive corruption that reach the highest levels of his government—threaten to take Turkey from an imperfect democracy to an autocracy.
We fear that Prime Minister Erdoğan an d the Turkish public have taken American silence to mean that the Prime Minister retains U.S. support and can proceed as he wishes. In the meanwhile, the damage to Turkey’s democracy keeps worsening. We believe it is important now to make it clear, privately and publicly, that Prime Minister Erdoğan’s autocratic actions and demagoguery are subverting Turkey’s political institutions and values and endangering the U.S.-Turkey relationship.
Among the signatories you’ll find Morton Abramowitz, former US ambassador to Turkey, Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, David J. Kramer, executive director of the U.S.-based Freedom House, and L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in post-war Iraq. John Podhoretz, Ambassador Dennis Ross, GEN Charles F. Wald, USAF (Ret.), and Mortimer Zuckerman are also on the list.