Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has approved the cabinet formed by the new Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim. Although that’s treated as big news by the international media, I’m afraid it’s not. There was never any question Erdoğan would approve the new ministers. After all, he’s the one who a) handpicked Yildirim and b) made clear to him whom he could and couldn’t select.
In case you’re wondering who Prime Minister Yildirim is, read this short summary by the Independent:
He was implicated in a corruption scandal in 2013 but denied wrongdoing and has generated controversy by appearing to support gender segregation and overseeing growing government surveillance and censorship.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s trusted ally, Binali Yildirim, announced the new cabinet after a meeting on Tuesday.
The 60-year-old replaced Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday following a reported falling-out, and is said to be backing controversial constitutional reforms that would expand Mr Erdogan’s powers.
President Erdoğan wants Turkey to adopt a new constitution, one that creates a “presidential” rather than a “parliamentary” system. When he defends his plans, he always points to the United States, where President Barack Obama has the power to do whatever he wants, or so Erdoğan argues. Of course the Turkish leader forgets to mention that many of Obama’s decisions are actually unconstitutional. He may be acting as an imperial president, but that’s not America’s official governing system. Quite the opposite is true: the constitutional system grants Congress far more power than the executive.
But, who has time for such useless details? “If America has it and it works there, it’ll also work for us” is simply too good of a sales talk not to use. And so Erdoğan uses it whenever the subject comes up, which is pretty much every day now in Turkey.
His former prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, was, of course, a loyal lackey of Erdoğan, but had the audacity to disagree with him (behind closed doors) on a number of issues, among which was his war on the freedom of the press and his quest for an imperial presidency. That’s why the poor professor was shoved aside.
The only reason Yildirim was appointed is that he’ll blindly obey Erdoğan no matter what. Despite his dedication to the president, Davutoğlu was still capable of thinking for himself. That’s not allowed in today’s Turkey, not even for the country’s prime minister. He has to agree with the president on every single issue. If he doesn’t, he faces public humiliation and unemployment. If he dares say anything about that treatment publicly, he’ll undoubtedly suffer even more.
So now we have a Turkish puppet cabinet led by a sycophantic prime minister who bows to President Erdoğan and does whatever he’s ordered to do. In other words, a totalitarian government in all but name.
I’m sure that’ll end well.