Here is a general run-down of Turkish politics since the days of Kemal Ataturk. It explains the deep divisions in society, especially apparently between the more conservative rural areas and the cities. Like Russia in 1917, Turkey today stands at the crossroad between “modern” capitalism and semi-feudalism. It seems that that is what the Erdogan regime represents – an attempt to maintain a base by playing to religious prejudices. This includes such measures as restrictions on alcohol sales and prohibitions of public displays of affection. But there are other unanswered questions: Throughout the region, youth unemployment is massive. It has declined somewhat in recent years, but it’s still above 15%. Turkey has also always been subject to droughts, but recent ones have been particularly harsh. In 2012, the drought was so severe that Lake Kucukcekmece receded far enough to reveal an ancient harbor town from pre-biblical times. These droughts – surely related to global climate disruption/global warming – must also be hitting rural farming areas very hard. In other parts of the Middle East, such droughts have created large-scale migrations to urban areas – migrations which in turn were a factor in the “Arab Spring” uprisings.
What all of this shows, once again, is the inability of capitalism to truly modernize Turkey. It’s the system that’s at fault.