Learn the key ideas of the book by Marco Guidi

Atatürk Addio

Turkey on the Global Stage

In Atatürk Addio: Come Erdoğan ha cambiato la Turchia, (Farewell, Atatürk: How Erdogan Has Changed Turkey), Marco Guidi sheds light on the geopolitical situation in the Republic of Turkey, by examining both its early and recent history, as well as on the controversial politician, Erdogan. Who is the man behind the politician, and what led him to make certain choices? And to take certain measures? Guidi lays the country wide open, showing us that while Turkey may not be European, it is much closer to Europe than some would expect, and less distant than others would like. This is a captivating read, which explores and explains the little known aspects of one of the most delicate and complex areas of the current international geopolitical arena.

Atatürk Addio
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Is Erdogan a champion of democracy in disguise, or a dictator dressed up as a democrat?

One question springs to mind when we think of Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: did he pretend to be a champion of democracy when he first came to power in 2002, having already plotted a revolution, or did his plan unfold gradually over time? One thing is certain: there is not much room for democracy in modern-day Turkey. The president holds almost complete authority, while secularism, and ethnic and religious minorities, especially the Kurds and Alevis, continue to be in real danger.

Reactions from EU countries have been inconsistent at best, and agreements made over the years have largely done more harm than good. What’s more, Europe's initial predictions about Erdogan’s rise to power have since been proven shockingly inaccurate. These miscalculations could, for the most part, have been avoided if, rather than just relying on the social situation in the most westernised areas of the country’s larger cities, such as Istanbul, Ankara, or Izmir, Turkey’s historical past, at least since the final years of the Ottoman Empire, had been taken into account.

What is certain is that the coup, held on 15th of July 2016, marked a turning point for present-day Turkey: not so much because coups are unusual in Turkey, but because it was the first one to fail. Too many things went wrong: firstly, the air force was the least suitable armed force for the job, and secondly, it was met by opposition from the military chiefs. It appeared to have been plotted by amateurs, and was accompanied by a series of peculiar and somewhat suspicious events, while the Turkish minister’s reaction was almost instantaneous, and extremely articulate. The European Commissioner for Turkish affairs at the time, Johannes Hahn, said that the list of arrests seemed to have been prepared before the rebellion even took place: was it a fake coup? If not, it was certainly a stroke of luck for Erdogan, who wasted no time in profiting from it, and later defined it as a “gift from God”.

However, this was not the first time the president had demonstrated that he would stop at nothing to seize control: the events of Gezi Park, the siege of Kobani, massacres in predominantly Kurdish cities, and the ousting of his fellow party members, such as Abdullah Gül, had already set the tone for the increasingly authoritarian and self-referential control with which Erdogan had blatantly empowered himself.


The key ideas of "Atatürk Addio"

Is Erdogan a champion of democracy in disguise, or a dictator dressed up as a democrat?
The events of Gezi Park and Kobani should have made it clear just how ruthless Erdogan actually is
The aftermath of the post-coup repression bordered on the farcical, and didn't even remotely resemble democracy or justice
The differences between Erdogan and Atatürk explain their contrasting visions for Turkey
Atatürk’s rise to power was rooted in the social and political circumstances that have affected Turkey for many years
The balance between progress and decline in Turkey: from Atatürk to Erbakan and Erdogan
Erdogan is passionate about politics, but has trouble managing his own ambitions, for which he is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone
Erdogan's party would not have been so successful, had it not been for the Hizmet movement
Foreign policy is not Erdogan's strong suit, and he has made far too many mistakes in this area
Is Erdogan Turkey's leader because he won the elections, or did he win the elections because he is Turkey's leader?
Take-home message

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