Erdogan’s Enhanced Powers ‘Terrible News’ for Turkish Christians

By weakening Turkey’s democracy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ensured the continued erosion of conditions for Christians, Jews and other religious minorities in the Muslim majority nation.

If the referendum, narrowly approved by voters stands, Erdogan will gain executive, legislative and judicial powers. Serious allegations of voter fraud have been launched by international monitors and his political opponents have already vowed to appeal the vote.

“There are hundreds of cases of ballot box stuffing. What’s even more scandalous is the Supreme Council of Election changed the rules of counting over an hour into the counting which is always an embarrassing smoking gun for the government,” Dr. Aykan Erdemir tells Beltway Buzz.

Erdemir is a Muslim Turk who served in Turkish Parliament from 2011 to 2015. He’s dedicated his career to defending minority rights and religious freedom in Turkey. He’s now a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, D.C.

“If he manages to steal this referendum and go forward with the changes I think we’ll see more of this reckless one man rule. We will see a further erosion of checks and balances, rule of law, due process. It’s terrible news for the academics and journalists and civil servants and faith leaders who are already in prison or who have been purged,” Erdemir says.

Faith leaders like American Pastor Andrew Brunson. He’s been jailed since October, swept up in a terrorism investigation, but never formally charged.

“Unfortunately Pastor Andrew Brunson is now a pawn, kind of a trump card in Erdogan’s hand There’s absolutely no rule of law, no due process in that case, it’s a completely bogus case and I think Erdogan has no reason to respect rule of law and due process,” Erdemir says.

During his victory speech, Erdogan accused the West of a “crusade” which alluded to the ancient battle between Christianity and Islam.

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