Opinion: Erdogan’s disreputable coup against women

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Wednesday is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. Turkey has proven itself to be regressive with regard not solely to women’s rights, but additionally these of the LGBT+ group.

In phrases of misogyny, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has overtaken the Catholic rulers in Hungary and Poland, who’ve definitely not been stingy when it got here to attacking women within the current previous. In January, Law and Justice, Poland’s ruling right-wing populist, anti-Europe celebration, enforced a ban on abortion, even in circumstances of extreme fetal abnormalities. Hungary signed an anti-abortion declaration final yr.

This new type of misogyny comes hand in hand with the exclusion from particular safety of gay, bisexual and transsexual folks. Quite a couple of Polish counties and cities have declared themselves “LGBT-free zones” — people who find themselves not heterosexual aren’t welcome. It is a tragic repetition of historical past that folks in Poland, which was as soon as invaded by “Jew-free” Nazi Germany, are actually stigmatized and declared outlaws in such a disgusting method.

Erdogan doesn’t wish to seem to be a wimp: He repeated a press release made by the nation’s prime Muslim cleric, who in a sermon on the finish of April final yr blamed homosexuality for the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Joint populist agenda

This must be referred to as out as what actually it’s: dreadfully silly. But that’s not the tip of the story. The autocrats in Ankara, Budapest and Poland — nominally, Turkey, Hungary and Poland are democracies, the latter two are members of the European Union — are pursuing a standard agenda that the free world can’t be detached to.

In a nutshell, Erdogan’s political biography is an efficient instance. He received the 2004 native elections partially by stylizing himself as a “brown Turk” out to shatter the dominance of the “white Turks,” which means the Kemalist secular elite within the army and politics. A powerful man, alone against the institution, for the folks, against the elite at dwelling and overseas — the world has needed to watch a number of repetitions of this populist thriller.

People like Erdogan or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, nonetheless, solely reject “the elites” at dwelling and overseas who’re able to maintain a detailed eye on them, expose and punish wrongdoing: the judiciary in Turkey, Poland and Hungary is staffed with minions, the press and the colleges placed on mute. Rights for everyone, the place would that go away us? In this respect, Turkey, Poland and Hungary are additionally shockingly related.

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Western values are the enemy

In these nations, nepotism and kleptomania have been taking the place of lucid, open processes, of efficiency and talent. Of course, they are not looking for anybody on the surface to have the chance, authorized or in any other case, to drive them to alter their conduct. That is why Poland and Hungary oppose the EU’s rule-of-law mechanism.

In this vein, Turkey won’t ever be a member of the European Union; and it has been a very long time since Erdogan even needed to hitch. The EU shouldn’t be the one group of values — so is NATO, of which Turkey is a member. The indisputable fact that the White House severely criticized Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention reveals that folks in every single place within the free world are shocked by developments within the nation.

Populists like Erdogan can solely exist on the political scene by presenting their voters with enemies that turn out to be scapegoats. Loaded with discontent, it’s their substitute for actual politics. Poland has introduced a substitute for the Istanbul Convention that might ban abortion and same-sex marriage. It received’t be lengthy earlier than extra grim information emerges from Hungary and Turkey: After all, the wheel of resentment and denigration should preserve turning.

Alexander Görlach is a senior fellow with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and a senior analysis affiliate on the Religion & International Studies Institute at Cambridge University. He has additionally held a number of scholarly and advisory positions at Harvard University, National Taiwan University and the City University of Hong Kong. He holds doctorate levels in comparative faith and linguistics.

This article has been translated from German.

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