Political Self-Sabotage in Turkey

Of all the global leaders that have made a name for themselves for being controversial, president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan definitely stands out.

Seen both as a hero who navigated the country out of long-running economic misery and a rightist ever pushing Islamist reforms and endangering Ataturk’s secular legacies, Erdogan appears to ideally fit the definition of someone who knows how to stay in headlines.

The fact that he can be argued to have a few accomplishments to his credit makes his ‘feather-ruffling’ rhetoric all the more piquing. From his ascension to the seat of Prime Minister in early 2000s, he has presided over periods of high economic growth and has led the country through a sharp rise in the financial well-being of citizens.

During his long rule, Turkey’s power and standing has improved among not just among its middle eastern-neighbors, but also at global level. But the way he has practiced politics has put him at odds with many. He’s known to issue some of the most polarizing statements of any head of state – among which are those that, as perceived by his critics, are brazen attempts to dilute Turkey’s secular character, excessive criticism of west, particularly of what he calls their prejudice against Turkey, women’s societal role, gender equality, and even social media.

We’ll now look at some of the most ‘storm-stirring’ comments he has made over the years. Regarding Islamization of politics, a subject that has come to serve as a lightning rod of criticism for most, he remarked, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers…” About women, “You cannot put women and men on an equal footing. It is against nature. They were created differently. Their nature is different. She should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times.”

And, “Our religion has defined a position for women (in society): motherhood. “ Even social media couldn’t escape his salvo. “The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.”

These remarks, along with many others, have put major dents in Erdogan’s political reputation at home and come to strain his relations with the west. Voters, who once held faith in Erdogan ability to take their country forward, are now increasingly questioning his ability to lead.

It is indeed a sad set of affairs for the president, something for which only his politically self-sabotaging tendencies can be blamed. The example of Erdogan thus demonstrates how indiscretion can rob a leader of his popularity, despite having a portfolio of achievements under his belt.

Dear Precious Visionary: How to Suffer your Dreams Well

This is a guest contribution by Teach Manuelle

You have dreams of a good life, a grand vision of success. Images dance before your mind of an ideal existence, full of love, success, joy and contentment – and peace of mind. It’s a grand vision!

Such aspirations are fuel to keep you moving. They are hope. And they are pain. We are creatures with self-awareness. Is this awareness a blessing or a curse?

Yet, it’s what we are, beings who know both triumph and failure. Hope, enthusiasm, fear and disappointment – and a vast mix of positive and negative feelings – are fodder for conscious living.

This fodder for conscious living is the stuff of life. Manage it well and you’ll prosper, which prosperity is of an internal nature. Spare no expense in learning to process life well. Few people have learned to process their experience without help. Some get therapy, some coaching (in either case, go to someone who has the proper training), and a few spend years learning on their own. However you choose to learn, it is an inescapable duty.

I want your Vision – your great dream – to come true.

And I know how much you will suffer. You hide your suffering, believing it makes you less than, but that doesn’t change anything. Hiding your pain only provokes more pain.

Your positive expectations create your pain. You did not choose to have such grand requirements. You cannot choose to live free of expectations and you shouldn’t want to. Yet, let’s make our expectations real – whole.

What if you were free and uninhibited to pursue your vision enthusiastically – and yet were never surprised when you fail? What if failure weren’t an unexpected catastrophe, but a normal part of your experience?

Here’s the secret:

Failure is and always will be a daily occurrence. There is no need to redefine failure. You don’t need to resist it with reframes. Failure is not feedback or a learning experience.

Feedback is feedback. Lessons are lessons. Failure is failure. And it’s fine.

You will make mistakes and fail often. Who are you not to? There are those who will use your naïve fear of failure – your insistence on success without the hassle – to line their pockets. Following their doctored images of success only leads to greater frustration. You will have enough of that without their help.

Your failures magnify when you insist on a failure-free existence. You will suffer, but your greatest suffering comes from believing you shouldn’t suffer. You will feel pain and that pain will persevere to the degree you resist it. Expecting a life free of negativity is requiring a world full of days without nights, a recipe for insanity. There is the insanity of those who do not share an agreed-upon reality. Then there’s the insanity of those who expect life to be other than it is.

Make your vision of the good life real, embracing a fuller spectrum of experience. You’re going to experience – every day – positive and negative aspects of living. Why pretend otherwise?