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Turkey Right Now: Awful Government, Awful Opposition
Nuray Mert

ISTANBUL — The country is at a dead end, and everything is a mess.

The main Turkish opposition, if such a thing really exists, is still unable to clearly express where it stands on the Middle East, foreign policy in general, a new constitution and the debates about the presidential system. Certain opposition groups still dance around such issues as the corruption and smuggling trial of Riza Sarraf, the Kurdish question, the Obama-Erdogan meeting and the country's looming economic crisis. On the other hand, the Kurdish movement believes that politics is based on how loud you are, and are betting that the present chaos in the country will somehow weaken the ruling administration.

The Kurds think the government will have no choice but to sit at the table again for restarting the negotiations. If not, then it is "the peoples' revolution" time. Others think the government will either come to its senses or lose power by gradually getting exhausted as it faces more problems, at home and abroad. All factions of the opposition seem to be counting on a strategy whereby they will win when the government loses.

Turkey, however, is now on a path in which everybody will lose more, and it will remain so unless a serious exit plan can be found.

Have no doubt that the weakened government will be more oppressive, more cruel and more lawless. If not, it will write its own laws and enforce them. The government will enhance a policy of confrontation instead of negotiations as the Kurds' room for maneuver diminishes by the day.

This is the path that the government has chosen, furiously blaming anybody from the opposition for "supporting terrorism" instead of questioning their own policies. This is the kind of government we have: It is not disturbed by the status of the country — on the contrary, it perceives the difficulties that Turkey faces as a solution to its own problems. All of this "martyrdom" propaganda, "the red on the flag is the color of blood," and "dying for the homeland is what makes it real," all is used toward that goal.

Dictatorships don't end well

On one hand, it is hard these days to say out loud things such as, "No sir, let us not be martyrs but brothers," or "homeland should be where you are happy to live" or "let the red of the flag be the color of a flower." But the issue is not only about courage. Forget about the suicide bombings, how can our voice not get weaker as news of martyrs occur almost daily? When they say "we killed eight of them and they killed one of us" how can we make the people say "no, eight and one equals nine of us?"

It must also be realized that further alienating Turkey in the international community is not a solution, but rather another factor to drive the current administration to more extreme stances. Which country led by someone the world declared a "dictator" ever got something good out of it? We see what happens to these countries. It is true that those most worried about this are those in the government, but it is actually the whole country that collapses in such situations. Nobody hands you a "plug-and-play democracy."

I am not suggesting one shouldn't criticize this government. On the contrary, I say it is a dangerous road to walk. Tying all hope to the government getting weaker and not putting up a struggle for democracy — I say nobody will win anything on that road. I say standing up against a terrible government is not possible with a terrible opposition. The way is not an opposition of the hardcore nationalists of the MHP, nor the CHP"s indecisive and ineffectual style, nor the Kurdish movement's efforts to cut ties with the democratic struggle. Democrats, liberals, and all the other lines of opposition: I simply say that putting all hopes in the weakening government will never provide a real way out.

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Ukrainian President Zelensky Trilateral Meeting with Turkish President Erdogan and UN Secretary General Guterres

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger, Chloe Touchard, Lisa Berdet, and Emma Albright

With fears of a disaster at the Zaporizhzhia power plant on the world’s mind, three men met on Thursday in Lviv, to discuss nuclear security in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres — and once again vowing to play a part in finding a solution to the conflict, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Since the start of the war, Turkey has offered its services as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia. During the trilateral meeting, Erdogan voiced his concern about Zaporizhzhia, saying it was imperative that a repeat of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster be avoided.

The Turkish president emphasized that he would like to organize peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, adding that he is planning on addressing the situation at the nuclear plant with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "We will discuss this issue with Putin and ask him specifically for Russia to do what it must as an important step for world peace," Erdogan said. Zelensky responded that the only way he would agree to negotiate with the Kremlin was if Russian troops left Ukraine.

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