Turkish President Erdoğan is becoming increasingly dictatorial. Ever since being elected he has worked to trample on Turkish democratic rights, consolidate his powers and promote his Islamic agenda. Turkey’s remaining secular and democratic pillars, established by the Republic of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923, are being dismantled. Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party have pushed through a referendum, to be held in April, that if successful will pool power in the hands of the president and dramatically reduce his accountability to parliament. Erdoğan is keen to get the support of Turks living in Europe to vote in favour of the proposals in next month’s referendum on a new law to increase his presidential powers. They will give Erdoğan, as president, new powers over the budget and the appointment of ministers and judges, as well as the power to dismiss parliament.
European's seeking to prevent rallies in support of these anti-democratic proposals are now being branded as fascists by Erdoğan and his supporters. Over recent weeks Erdoğan has hit out at German authorities who cancelled rallies, comparing German officials to Nazis. Now the Dutch and Turkish governments have clashed after the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, was banned from flying into the Netherlands on Saturday and a Turkish minister was blocked from visiting her country’s consulate in Rotterdam. It prompted Erdoğan to say in a speech in Istanbul. “I thought nazism was over, but I was wrong. In fact, nazism is alive in the west.” Metz, Çavuşoğlu made a recent speech calling the Netherlands the “capital of fascism”. No doubt Denmark will be next on the list after Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen postponed the visit of Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim. Rallies in Austria and and Switzerland have also been cancelled, so they are likely to be branded in the same way.
Branding someone as a fascist has become a very common thing these days. Fascism appears to be the most abused and overused word in the political dictionary. It has become a useful insult to aim at political opponents, but calling anyone and everyone a fascist and degrading it to a swear word does much to undermine the real and serious dangers that fascism represents. However, having said that, the fascist cap is one that better fits Erdoğan himself than those he accuses. As can be seen by the Turkish government’s actions to suppress the Kurdish people. President Erdoğan tries to excuse the violence he has sanctioned against the Kurds as a "fight against terrorist separatist organizations." However, the increasingly dictatorial President of Turkey continues to erode the human rights of the Turkish people. Now there is even a crackdown by the Turkish government threatening signatories of a petition calling for the end of the controversial army operations against the Kurdish people with one to five years imprisonment. This is the behaviour of Erdoğan and his political allies who have the nerve to call everyone else a fascist.