- “It is from weakness that people reach for dictators and concentrated government power. Only the strong can be free. And only the productive can be strong”
Rise of Erdogan
We have been talking about Turkey’s Erdogan who recently won electoral support to be the country’s first Executive President. At the elections, Turkey began digging its grave. To be sure, one cannot blame the people altogether because elections were fought under emergency with government control over the media and six opposition candidates campaigning from jail. The system that prevailed during the elections wasn’t a dictatorship true to type; it was an illiberal democracy.
The upshot is that the country abandoned the Parliamentary system according to which decision-making is participatory and collaborative. Under the Parliamentary system there is a Prime Minister but the latter is subject to Parliamentary support. By this simple mechanism the Prime Minister is someone watched. Since Parliament is supreme, the law is supreme and every power holder has to perform within a country’s legal framework.
Erdogan abolished the position of Prime Minister and shrunk the powers of Parliament. “The country’s new president is a man who developed a party, became the party, and is now trying to become the state” (Guardian). Ensconced in power, Erdogan now rules by decree.
And so, we see Erdogan playing at the master game of a Vidayaka Janadipathi or Executive President in a “democracy,” that is nominally so. We know that the most crucial portfolio is that of finance.
Our own Mahinda Rajapaksa awarded that role to himself whereas Erdogan has shown himself to be rather laid back here. He has entrusted the job to his trusted son-in-law. After all, a good son-in-law is more trustworthy than anybody else; and if he has some knowledge of finance, unlike Mahinda who didn’t have a clue, he is up in the game as then he has less third parties to depend on. The job could be handled in style and sophistication.
Our current Prime Minister unkindly remarked the other day that the Chinese loans that Mahinda took are surfacing like ghosts peeping from different quarters. By the way, has Erdogan learnt the Chinese trick?
The subject of defence along with those of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police is already with Erdogan. Our own Mahinda did have defence under him but he thought it practical to let someone trustworthy handle the nuts and bolts and work the machine of ultimate power.
Mahinda gave it to brother Gota who had long ago left the Forces and settled down cosily in the US for many years. Gota smilingly returned to the island when brother Mahinda became President; yet Gota was keen to retain US citizenship – just in case. He still clings onto that – just in case. His patriotism is thus, just in case.
Our home-made Hitler
Mahinda did another smart thing. He appointed the other brother Basil as Minister in charge of Economic Development. Remember bro Basil as the man who patriotically disowned a luxury house, which according to gossipy persons he had built for himself? The point is that this gave our own dear leader another great key to interfere with every Government agency. In this way, the Rajapaksa family held about 80% of Sri Lanka’s budget. Mahinda can now go to town! He wouldn’t give a damn. Dissentients beware as brother Gota will do the job.
With brother Mahinda’s blessings, Gota was veritably our own home-made Hitler. The Venerable Anunayake of Asgiriya has asked only for a return of what was there. Why blame him? Brother Chamal was there to keep the house under control. Wimal was hired to shout. The two sons can dance at the periphery. If the family be in charge, what’s wrong with sonna boy Namal running around with girls and racing cars? Grandma with her gem bags (Menik Archchi) can always pop to help and spoil.
Central Bank and justice
The Central Bank? Cabraal can be trusted for monetary manipulations and issuing creative growth rates. Old Mohan is 100% as we saw how it was reported that he had thrown the great temptation into the hands of the newly-appointed Yahapalanaya Government: “Sir, I will give the verdict you want!” Our Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, was silly not to take that gift. Ranil has always been retrograde.
What a marvellous prospect our own dear leader Mahinda faced!
Xi Jinping and Kim-Jong-Un
fact, ever since I heard Xi Jinping in China declare himself “President for Life,” I have wondered why our High King did not do such a thing in the 18th Amendment. Xi Jing Ping now carries out different duties under separate titles. For example, he meets foreign dignitaries and receives ambassadors in his capacity as President; issues military directives as Chairman of the Central Military Commission; and upholds party rule through the office of General Secretary.
In like manner is Kim Jong-Un set. The latter is officially styled the “Supreme Leader of North Korea”. He has got the media controlled by him to call him “Our Dear Leader”. Kim is also the Leader of the North Korean Workers Party since 2012. His multifariously powerful role has no deadline, which means he will also be “for life”. Small wonder he keeps clapping. How stupid for Donald Trump to follow that!
In comparison with the last two persons, Mahinda was absolutely backward, which means he was absolutely democratic. Or was Mahinda cocksure of getting back and then thinking about that grand idea of Xi Jinping? Sumanadasa should be shot – just as Lasantha Wickrematunge had been or, as a matter of fact, Thajudeen had been.
Surely, our dear leader would not go that cruel! Wasn’t he once upon a time a street fighter for Human Rights? Didn’t he go to the UN to protest when he was an ordinary Member of Parliament?
Before I forget, let me remind readers that Erdogan is committed to all the symbols of Islam. He has learnt from Sri Lankan politicians who are so dedicated to Buddhism, the Sangha and the saffron robe.
Like in the Sri Lankan example, however, Erdogan is really committed to himself.
(The writer can be reached via email@example.com.)