Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has chosen to take the road of deposed or embattled Muslim leaders in the Middle East as the protest movement in Turkey seems to grow to the same degree he ridicules it.
Tens of thousands filled Istanbul Square Sunday to demand his resignation, and they clashed with riot police, backed by hovering helicopters. Instead of addressing them directly, he appeared at the Ankara airport, where he was applauded in one of several planned rallies.
Erdogan charged that the protesters are nothing but vandals who drink beer in mosques and insult women wearing headscarves.
He already has referred to demonstrators as “anarchists and terrorists.”
“Tweeter is an enemy,” he says.
Who else ridiculed social networks? Qaddafi, who was killed in the revolution, Mubarak, who was arrested and jailed in the revolution, and Assad, who still remains in power but has been isolated by the entire world except Iran, Hezbollah and, for the time being, Russia.
And how did Erdogan refer to a police officer who was killed in clashes with protesters? He was ”martyred.” That is right out of the book of Hamas, which, by the way, Erdogan for some strange reason continues to praise.
Erdogan has deepened the rift in Turkish society by turning the protest movement into a “me or them” issue, fueling what could have been a small and weak protest movement with the dynamite it needs to engulf others who don’t like the government, particularly those who are nervous about the government’s potting Islam in the forefront of its agenda.
Anyone who protests apparently is an enemy to Erdogan, who demonstrates the same insecurity of dictators, past and present.