Scott Morrison sparring with Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Gallipoli should be taken with a grain of salt. Both men are facing voter uncertainty and an election they may lose.
Something rather telling happened this morning, something that attests to the horseshoe theory, and indeed, what stage of the Christchurch discussion we’re now up to. Clearly, that horror is old enough for point-scoring.
In case you missed it, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan castigated the actions of the Australian responsible for the massacre, evoking the long-shadowed spectre of Gallipoli, promising that anyone who visits Turkey holding anti-Muslim sentiment would meet a similar fate to those who stormed the beaches, stating, “Your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets…have no doubt, we will send you back like your grandfathers.”
In response, Scott Morrison is set to lash Erdogan via the Turkish ambassador, but did give a clue of the tone to the media, saying that “They insult the memory of our Anzacs…it was highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless.”
The important point to note is that both parties have the same motivations, and both of their situations are the same, despite the differing view.
Simply put, both are seeking reinvention in the face of waning pre-election popularity.
Over in Turkey, despite owning the media and the democratic process, Erdogan’s popularity is on the downturn, with The New York Times noting that “…the decline in his support base is real — particularly among the urban, middle-class and young voters — and he was recently forced to form an election alliance with small ultranationalist parties to attain the 51 per cent needed for a new mandate as president.”
Chief to the resistance to Erdogan, is the mismanagement of the economy. His appeal has always been, in part, due to his ability to deliver a better standard of living. However, in 2019, Turkish capital is flying out the door. Focuseconomics.com in their outlook for Turkey’s economy, notes, “Incoming data for Q1 remains weak. Consumer sentiment fell again in February on a pessimistic outlook on the economy…the economy seems set to remain fragile this year as restrictive financial conditions dent domestic demand.”
Combine this with the fact that he’s scared off foreign investment, and the writing seems very much on the wall. Simply put, Erdogan’s push to become a hardliner is obvious. It’s the old Soviet method. Evoke a century-old battle that birthed the country, and gain votes on the back of patriotic memory. In showing the clip, Turkey’s main opposition party castigated Erdogan showing “for the sake of (winning) three or five votes”, which is bang on the mark.
Contrast this with Scott Morrison, and it offers a similar (if much less hyperbolic) tone. Morrison faces flagging love from the electorate to such a level that the man he turfed out, returned to point it out. Combine this with the Coalition’s apparent failure to manage their greatest calling card, the economy, and his push to continue the fight against Johnny Turk on behalf of the ANZACs seems as obvious, as it does familiar.
Whether it will have an effect on either country, time will only tell.