The Jordanian Divide over Turkey’s Referendum

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Tue 18 April / Apr 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The division among Jordanians over the Turkish referendum and their position from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is nothing new or emergent.

The Justice and Development Party’s experience in Turkey has centred an extensive debate among Jordanians, for two main reasons: the historical relationship Arabs have with Turkey and the nature of Erdogan’s project, for one, and his affiliations to modernised Political Islam

Of course, Turkey is no exception to the Jordanian divide.

Division is a predominant characteristic of Jordanian positions on issues and crises which surround the Kingdom; Syria, Iraq, all the way to Egypt, before and after the revolution.

These divisions in general have further rooted in the years of the ‘Arab Spring’ and in the aftermaths of it. It struck the very base of the most popular convictions on the most basic concepts, like democracy, partnership, and reform.

One of the reasons which have incremented the split on Turkey’s recent events is the Turkish command’s position on Arab events, particularly Syria and Egypt.

Before that, Erdogan’s popularity among Jordanians from a variety of spectrums was high, which is typical given the bundle of economic successes achieved there under the ruling party.

However, when it came to Syria, the alignments and splits rearranged the Jordanian position on Turkey, almost automatically, due to Turkey’s direct intervention and support of Islamist groups against the regime.

In the meantime, the Turkish tone began to sow doubt in the hearts of some Jordanian proponents of Erdogan.

The exclusive tendencies of the Turkish house, the authoritarian tone, the side barring of oppositional leaders as well as opposing members within the same party, on top of escalated censorship on media and news, following a bitter struggle with Fethullah Gulen’s people, Erdogan’s ages old ally; all reinforced doubt.

 Moreover, the failed military coup in Turkey also intensified the division in Jordan, and the Arab World in general.

Despite all that, Erdogan and his party still has the support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, with only a few exceptions.

Across the Arab World, Political Islam movements, in spite of their many remarks on Erdogan’s approach, particularly on Syria, still root for the man in Turkey and his folk.

To be clear, all their remarks on the Turkish President’s approaches, they are willing to let go, because Turkey is their only ally, in such a difficult time.

This is mostly true, since they lost their office in Egypt, and after losing much of their shine since the rage of the Arab Spring.

Erdogan also lost a whole bunch of allies; across the region and the rest of the world; with only the Muslim Brotherhood and Russia on his side.

O’ the irony!

Erdogan and his party barely won the referendum. This close call give push his popularity among his proponents.

Even those who hate his authoritarian style cannot deny the fact that Erdogan’s achievements were attained by means of democracy, lacking in many Arab States.

It is most likely that his proponents in Jordan and the Arab World, will find in his success an opportunity to retain initiative and revive their political project.

Everybody is waiting for Erdogan’s first decisions after the inauguration; be it inside the already divided Turkish population or among us Arabs.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.