Saturday, November 01, 2014

Turkish Leader, Using Conflicts, Cements Power

By TIM ARANGO, NYT
OCT. 31, 2014

ANKARA, Turkey — Sprawling over nearly 50 acres of forest land that was once the private estate of Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a new presidential compound has nearly 1,000 rooms, an underground tunnel system and the latest in anti-espionage technology. It is larger than the White House, the Kremlin and Buckingham Palace.

The reported price: nearly $350 million.

Then there is a new high-tech presidential jet (estimated price, $200 million), not to mention the new presidential office in a restored Ottoman-era mansion overlooking the Bosporus, all of which have been acquired to serve the outsized ambitions of one man: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr. Erdogan has been in power for more than a decade, an Islamist politician and prime minister who was often touted as a role model in the Muslim world for having reconciled his faith with democracy. But these days Mr. Erdogan stands for something quite different, having essentially pulled a Putin. Like Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, it does not matter which position he holds: He is his nation’s paramount leader.

(More here.)

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