What went wrong in Turkey?
May 01, 2017 | By Eric Edelman
The history of the twentieth century is littered with the carcasses of failed revolutions. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, and Hitler all tried to master modernity—to curb or accelerate it—and all failed. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, it appeared the most consequential revolutionary of the last century might turn out to be Mustafa Kemal Pasha, better known as Atatürk, founder of the secular Republic of Turkey. Amidst the wreckage of the multinational Ottoman Empire, Atatürk emerged victorious, using bourgeois nationalism as a basis for reforming a Muslim country in an attempt to demonstrate that popular sovereignty and Islam could successfully coexist. That proposition remains to be disproven, but the Atatürk revolution itself died on April 16, 2017—the day Turkey's current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, succeeded in his longstanding effort to transform the country's parliamentary government into an executive presidency.
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