By Ece Temelkuran
“No, that can’t happen here.”
How well I remember Americans saying this three years ago, when Donald Trump rode down the Trump Tower escalator and landed in the midst of US history with a resounding thud. I tried to explain to my American friends that what had happened to us in Turkey was just as possible in their own country. Conventional political tools, I told them, wouldn’t be enough to stop this new type of political insanity.
So here we are. Now even highly respected observers are considering a possibility they had once dismissed: “What if Trump doesn’t leave the White House even if he loses the election?” Well, maybe now it’s time to realize that we’re living in the age of the impossible and that we’re all in this together.
In the local elections in Turkey in March, the opposition won in several big cities despite President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s infamously oppressive regime. (To have an idea what Turkey has been through, multiply Trump’s political skills by at least 100 and then imagine having him in power for almost 17 years. Picture The Post being owned by the family of Trump’s son-in-law. Oh, sorry, I forgot — it’s impossible.)
These painful years started with a movement of real people, creating automatic polarization and excluding anyone who didn’t support the movement by labeling them the corrupt elite. As the political debate grew increasingly confused, Erdogan and his circle became respected political actors increasingly more effective in using their political power.