Foreign Policy Blogs

Erdogan Losing Control


Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003. (

The corruption scandal rocking Turkey shows no signs of abatement. Already dozens of high ranking officials and their close associates have either resigned, been jailed, or brought into questioning. The New York Times reports that even Erdogan’s own son appears to have been summoned for questioning. In the ensuing counteroffensive launched by the Erdogan administration to stifle the investigation over 2,000 police officers have been dismissed.

Erdogan’s latest offensive, however, targets the increasingly insubordinate Turkish media. For years already, Erdogan’s regime had imprisoned more journalists than anywhere else in the world, even China and Iran. For the most part, these intimidatory tactics have successfully ensured the compliance of the media.

The explosive details of this unprecedented corruption scandal have, however, made it impossible for some journalists to ignore. Mehmet Baransu is one such journalist who has continued to leak incriminating documents and photographs on his website. In turn, Baransu’s website has been censored in Turkey and he has been notified of an impending lawsuit against him by Erdogan himself.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, the corruption investigation is believed to have been initiated in secret by supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan’s currently living in Pennsylvania. The scandal has, however, ballooned beyond an internal power struggle between like-minded moderate Islamists, and now appears the threaten the very legitimacy the current regime.

For a broad overview of the scandal, check out Bloomberg.



Eugene Steinberg

Eugene graduated Tufts University with degrees in International Relations and Quantitative Economics. He works with the editorial team at the Foreign Policy Association on Great Decisions 2014. He is deeply interested in Eastern European affairs, as well as the intersection of politics, technology, and culture. You can follow him on twitter @EugSteinberg