The rural Turks, mainly those living in Asiatic Turkey, have had it hard since the creation Turkey as a republic. First they were forced to change their dress and customs and then they were largely neglected by Turkey’s military rulers. They are known to be simple, hardworking, religiously conservative and straightforward. Many of them are not skilled at reading Turkey’s complex political chessboard.
This is where Erdogan steps into the fray – he has successfully exploited and taken advantage of their simple nature. He has done this by cleverly honing the art of knowing exactly what to say and how to say it to get their support. The manipulation of the rural class has undoubtedly been the secret of his success. By using the right religious terminology, strongman image and spreading conspiracy theories of phantom external enemies, he has gained their trust. However, Erdogan’s manipulation of his support base does not stop there; insecure to the core he has been ruthlessly crushing any voice of dissent and ensuring only state approved information reaches the masses. His approach is reminiscent of the type of system described in George Orwell’s brilliant novel ‘1984’. The difference is that Orwell’s novel was based on Stalin’s Russia – a god forsaken system – whereas Erdogan’s system is supposedly based on religion.
So what will it take to wake up the rural Turks? It will most likely be that Erdogan will eventually give them enough rope to hang himself. Either they will see through his years of deception and turn against him (if the deep state doesn’t remove him before then) or they will eventually see through his lies and switch their support to rival parties. Erdogan should take note of the old saying: “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time”.
When a person gets desperate they start making mistakes and Erdogan’s downfall has already begun; his dictatorial approach, dirty deals with terrorists and erosion of civil liberties is evidence of this. It remains to be seen how sudden and rapid his demise will be.