The Turkish government’s ban on access to the Twitter social media site violates citizens’ right to free expression and access should be immediately restored, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday, The LA Times reports.
The main opposition party is hopeful an internal recount of votes from Sunday’s local polls will help reverse a victory for the ruling party in the capital Ankara, but a final verdict from electoral authorities is likely to take weeks, according to Reuters (HT: FPI).
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been very successful in associating his personal grievances with those of urban conservative groups with rural family backgrounds, says analyst Ozgur Unluhisarcikli:
In the past, these social strata were openly looked down upon by secular groups. When he came to power, Erdoğan chose to reinforce conservatives’ grievances rather than heal them, and used it to create a very strong bond between himself and his voters. He went one step further, and associated the past grievances of his core constituencies with those of Muslims internationally towards the West. For example he compared last summer’s Gezi Park protests with Egypt‘s Tamarod Movement, suggesting that the Turkey protests were similarly aimed at initiating a coup d’état and implying that both were conspired by some circles in the West.
But by associating his personal grievances with the past grievances of the religious conservative masses in Turkey, Erdoğan has also reinforced the cultural polarization between conservative and secular groups and between his voter base and other political parties, argues Unluhisarcikli, an expert with the German Marshall Fund:
The derogatory language used by some of Erdoğan’s opponents further contributes to Turkey’s cultural polarization, isolating the AKP voter base from outside influences. Thus, it has become very easy for Erdoğan to frame any discussion on his own terms, for consumption by his own constituency. What was a peaceful protest movement for secular Turks became a coup attempt and treason for AKP supporters. What was a graft probe for the opposition became another coup attempt, according to the AKP. What was censorship for secular Turks was, for the AKP and its supporters, an issue of protecting the nation from external enemies and their domestic collaborators.
“Erdoğan’s secret recipe for success, then, appears to be a combination of providing social services, identifying strongly with a voter base, and isolating them from other parties through polarization,” Unluhisarcikli notes. “This has helped him win six parliamentary and local elections and two referenda, and could help him win several more in the future.”