Iran, Turkije, en de niet-Arabische straat

PRINCETON – In westerse ogen is de politiek van het Midden-Oosten opnieuw op z'n kop gezet. De theocratische mullahs van Iran hebben de verkiezing toegestaan van Hassan Rohani, een man die in zijn eerste toespraak als gekozen president bekendmaakte dat zijn overwinning “de triomf van de wijsheid, de gematigdheid en het gezond verstand is, op fanatisme en slecht gedrag”.

De Iraniërs, klaarblijkelijk verbaasd dat de kandidaat had gewonnen die een meerderheid van hen had gesteund (tegen zes kandidaten van de harde lijn), stroomden de straat op en vierden een overwinning “van het volk”. Toch waren het zorgvuldig geregisseerde verkiezingen: alle kandidaten die het gezag van de Opperste Leider Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hadden kunnen betwisten, waren van te voren gediskwalificeerd. Maar binnen die grenzen stond de regering wel toe dat de keuze van het volk serieus werd genomen.

In het buurland Turkije gebruikte de favoriete islamitische democraat van het Westen, premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, bulldozers, traangas, waterkanonnen en rubberen kogels om vreedzame betogers van het Taksim-plein en uit het Gezi-park in het centrum van Istanboel te verwijderen, die niet willen buigen voor zijn wil. Erdogans bestuurstheorie lijkt te zijn dat iedereen die zich tegen hem verzet een terrorist is, of een pion van duistere buitenlandse machten, omdat hij is gekozen door een meerderheid van de Turken, door wie hij nog steeds wordt gesteund. Hij lijkt geen ruimte te zien voor legitieme oppositie, voor het idee dat de meerderheid van vandaag de minderheid van morgen kan zijn en dat de regels van het spel vereisen dat beiden gehoord moeten kunnen worden.

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