“We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”
-Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey
There was a time, not so very long ago, when all seemed well with the Turkish Republic. Although the country’s long running efforts to join the EU had been stymied, through canny diplomacy Turkey had seen its influence grow steadily in the Middle East and North Africa. Its government’s promotion of a relatively moderate, pro-business form of political Islam seemed to offer an alternative to the extremism so often associated with the movement.
The AKP (the Turkish initials for Justice and Development Party), led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, first came to power in 2002. Soon after, the new Prime Minister and his party successfully rooted out many of the country’s military and intelligence elites, shady figures who literally defined the term “deep state” during the Cold War. They also took on the entrenched “secularism” that was one of the main legacies of Turkey’s modern founder, Ataturk, and won