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Turkish president trying to consolidate own power: Analyst

This combination of file pictures created on May 5, 2016 shows Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on different occasions. (Photo by AFP)

Press TV has conducted an in interview with James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, about the power struggle presumably going on in Turkey.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: There’s a lot of speculation obviously about which policy it was that made Davutoglu fall from grace. What do you think about that?

Jatras: I don’t think it’s so much a policy question. Mr. Davutoglu has been a very effective, soft-face, let us say, of the neo-Ottoman policies pursued by Mr. Erdogan. I think it’s more of a question of consolidation of Erdogan’s personal power that he, I think, more than just policies wants to put his personal stamp on everything.

He’s destabilizing his own country domestically. He’s made a chaos out the regions near Turkey. But on the other hand, he has the European Union eating out of his hand. He’s got Angela Merkel over a barrel on the migrant crisis. So, I think he is simply feeling his strength and that he basically consolidates everything into his hands.

Press TV: So, where did all go wrong, Mr. Jatras? Because at one point Turkey spoke very highly of its policy of zero problems with neighbors for example? Where did it all go wrong?

Jatras: Where it went wrong mainly is in Syria, is that Erdogan thought he could easily get rid of the Assad government in Syria, turn Syria into a Sunni puppet state and use this as a bridge to his new Ottoman policies in the Near East and to restore Turkey’s dominant rule to what it had been before the World War I.

Unfortunately for him, Assad didn’t go all that quickly, and… buys himself a difficulty not only failing to take over Syria, but also now destabilizing his own country with a renewed Kurdish insurgency and also now some elements of the jihadist groups that he’s been supporting in Syria coming back to hit them at home.

Press TV: And finally, do you believe that this transition will almost be smooth or many people are talking about possible instability ahead?

Jatras: Well, there is instability already of course and this is why he’s resorting more and more to turning Turkey into a police state, shutting down media and so forth.

I don’t think that will be a problem with installing a new prime minister that he’ll simply screw in like a light bulb and will be his yes-man, which is what he wants.

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