Erdogan is more like a mini-Gorbachev: he has slowly brought the Turkish republic back to a healthy balance between its Islamic and secular traditions. Ataturk's secular landscape (as originally imposed) persecuted all religious communities and sidelined minorities in the name of Turkish nationalism. Despite its many commendable reforms, it also created divisions and rifts in the country that still have not fully healed to this day (not to mention a pervasive cult of personality that no politician would dare dismantle now). As far as democracy goes, the old constitution was installed by a military junta that seized power by force. Erdogan's reforms are earning him praise from the EU and Obama: he's finally removed the army from politics and brought Turkey to the status of a real democracy. No more coups, no more immunity for the military, unprecedented economic growth, an independent foreign policy... and, yet, because he happens to be a practicing Muslim, the ignorant and intolerant will cry "IRAN!".
AG examines probes deal by new police chief Hirsch's security firm (Haaretz)