polarized turkey

The Polarization of Turkey



bitterly election head of state
roll (2) likeness rolled into one
decree grow up dissolve (2)
pious promise stronghold
face (2) progress world stage
surge path (2) reelection
willing view (3) bright (3)
scare reconcile prospect
impose ideology check (2)
hope stage (2) so far (2)
evident issue (3) challenge
oppose polarize


Video: People’s Opinions of Erdogan



The president’s likeness is everywhere across Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying Tesekuler, “Thank You”, for his reelection, which has made him an almost all-powerful head of state.

Erdogan is now president, party leader and head of government rolled into one. He can hire and fire ministers and some senior judges, dissolve parliamentary and rule by decree.

His powers are virtually unchecked.

But one thing hasn’t changed: he’s running a bitterly divided country, and that is particularly evident, here in Istanbul.

The district of Esenler for example is an Erdogan stronghold. Most of those living here are pious and conservative. Over seventy percent (70%) voted in favor of the president.

And people are happy he remains in charge.

Man One: “He is a source of pride for us. He represents us well on the world stage. He’s our leader.”

Woman One: “Our president has done what needs to be done so far. And I’m sure he knows that the path forward is.”

Woman Two: “We’ve been so happy since the elections. Our country is going to make huge progress, and god willing, our future is going to be bright.”

Views in the Kadikoy district are very different.

Many young people live here: students, artists. Most of them oppose Erdogan. The prospect of him ruling for at least another term scares them.

Man Two: “A whole generation grew up under Erdogan. It’s going to be another five years, and I’m sure after that, another five years.

He’s imposing his education system, his ideology on us.

That’s not good.”

Woman Three: “He’s not my president. I see a dark future. We don’t know what to do. We have no hope.”
Woman Four: “I’m too tired about talking about democracy. We still know what it is — but will our children?

The problems that Turkey faces are far from over: surging inflation, high youth unemployment, the war in neighboring Syria.”

The president has promised a solution for all these issues. But his biggest challenge after all is how to reconcile a deeply polarized society.


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1. There is a sort of “cult of personality” in Turkey. Yes or no?

2. Has the political system in Turkey changed? How has it changed?

3. Everyone is pleased and satisfied with Recep Tayyip Erdogan. True or false? What kind of individuals tend to support Erdogan? Why do they like him?

4. What kind of people oppose or despise Erdogan? Why do they not like him?

5. What do his opponents say regarding time?

6. Does Turkey have problems? What sort of challenges does it face?

7. Is Turkey a united, homogeneous society?

A. Is the leader of your country, “very strong” or “powerful”, “strong”, in the middle, “mild” or “passive”?

B. There is a sharp social, economic and political divide in society. Yes or no?

C. Which is better, a parliamentary system or a presidential system or it doesn’t really matter?

D. What will happen in the future (of Turkey and other countries)?

E. Should the West do anything? What should Turks do?


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