Turkey’s PM Erdogan knows how to win in free and fair polls, has nine consecutive victories and is now Sultan, also called, President. His democratic credentials are unquestionable. But his party, the AKP (Justice and Development Party) has used democracy as a vehicle to consolidate power in a time when autocratic rulers are trying to become more democratic. His tenure has seen the weakening of the opposition, army and secular establishment, the man is spreading his autocratic wings, sicking riot police with tear gas on protestors, the control of the judiciary after a corruption scandal and threats to Internet and journalistic freedom.

Erdogan’s plans to give the presidency, a ceremonial job, into an executive position like in France. He must thus change the constitution, which usually needs a two-thirds majority in parliament. The AKP is unlikely to achieve this on its own, but it could secure enough votes by doing a deal with the Kurdish party. He has yet to choose a Prime Minister and this will determine if he’s going to go with a strong one and sharing power ala Ataturk, or a weak one to lord over, ala Putin.

When all states around Palestine are being pragmatic, Turkey has put in its lot with Hamas and is becoming the only refuge for Palestinians, Syrians and Iraqis. Turkey has a very profitable trade relationship with Israel that Erdogan will damage and Turkey will have to choose its path wisely. What Turkey does not need is an armed confrontation with Israel and might face sanctions if things keep going the way they are. Any further trade agreements with economic powers are off the table. Turkey will not get in the EU and thus moderation in foreign and domestic polices will be thrown out of the window. Does this mean Turkey might soon be joining the fray in its south? Winning 50% of the vote Erdogan’s Turkey is on a long march towards more Islamisation. There is also the future vision of fascism to the extent that his rule is being compared to Germany in the 1930’s. Yet these changes in Turkey need to be seen in light of the conflicts in Palestine, Iraq and Syria. It is silly to expect Turkey to perform like a secular western state in a non-secular Arab region.