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Losing Turkey - Erdogan's Continuing Rift with the West

Turkey's status and development on the international scene is in decline. The occurrence is not the fault of the artistic and young Turks, but via the explicit actions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his burning ambition to authoritarian control of the land of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - the true father of modern Turkey.

Leaps and accomplishments toward development by the Turks since the time of Ataturk have been unprecedented. By 2000, Turkey had solidified its place as a major world partner also becoming the second largest standing army within NATO. 

But the ambitions of Erdogan to autocratic rule have impeded the democratic continuity of Turkey after shedding years of military rule. His crafted motives from prime minister to president and to rewrite the constitution in his favor along the way, have created rifts within Turkey including the autonomy of the minority Kurds, restrictions of freedom of the Press and a political judiciary. 

A failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, gave Erdogan the opportunity to attain greater powers and journalists, jurists, educators, civil servants and members of the military have been fired and jailed in tens of thousands under Erdogan's sweeping powers.

The European Union(EU) has quarreled with Erdogan over rights issues even as Erdogan sought EU-visa-free travel for Turks in a deal to close the flood-gates of immigrants fleeing to the EU via Turkey. He has since criticized the EU and he has also sought prosecution of EU based writers critical to his policies.

On Sunday, following a second arrest in less than a year of an employee of the United States(US) embassy, the US made the decision to stop issuing new non-immigrant visas across Turkey, thus denying thousands of Turks from visiting the US. According to a report in the Financial Times, some 113,240 of such visas were issued last year. 

The US Embassy confirmed in statement: "Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey to the security of US missions, facilities and personnel...effective immediately we have suspended all non immigrant visa services at all US diplomatic facilities in Turkey," the Financial Times reported.

Not only are US associated people victimized by Erdogan's actions in Turkey. Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yucel was arrested last February by Erdogan's security people after leaving the safety of the German consulate to answers from a Turkish prosecutor. 

Like another dozen Americans in detention in Turkey, the German "hostage" has also become a bargaining chips for Erdogan to attain set goals including the extradition from the US of Islamic Cleric, Fethullah Gulen and the extradition from Germany of Turkish military officers granted asylum following the 2016 coup attempt.

Whatever happens next in the widening rift that is isolating Erdogan's Turkey from western values, it remains true that Turkey today, is not the Turkey of five-years-ago and the country of artistic excellence and great youthful contributions could descend further into a cultural and political decline - no fault of the average vibrant Turks.