It is surprising that all dictators, including Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin, and Tayyip Erdogan, have gone the same way, using the same tactics to undermine democracy and consolidate power. They use terror and chaos to create enemies of the state, destroy opposition for the sake of security, control entire media and feed people with false news and declare themselves the only savior of the nation against all internal and external threats. Eventually, poisoned with power and encouraged by ignorance, they are significant risk for regional and global stability. It is more than surprising that the other countries have always made a mistake by simply thinking that these dictators will only harm their nations and that ignorance is the best policy to protect their interests. There are many cases where the ignorance of fallen democracy and the tragedy of human rights have fatal consequences for the whole world. I examined the rise of three dictators who Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Putin, and Tayyip Erdogan to show why this ignorance policy destine to failure.
Figure-1: Dictator domination strategy chart
Adolf Hitler consolidated his power after Reichstag Fire which is believed to be staged by himself, two weeks before the election on February 27, 1933. He eliminated opposition by declaring them the enemy of the state after accusing them of setting the fire. He used Reichstag Fire as black propaganda for the upcoming election. After elected as Chancellor, he suspended individual liberty and consolidated the power with enabling act on 24 March 1933. His propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts, and information in Germany. The German public was manipulated with all false news created by Propaganda Ministry[xii]
Reichstag Fire. Source: https://arcdigital.media
Besides dismissing all communists from public service, Hitler declared a general boycott against German Jews on April 1, 1933. The “Nuremberg Laws” which dismissed the Jews of their citizenship and banned intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews were passed in September 1935. Hundreds of thousand Jews left the country. In 1938, tens of thousands of Jews were imprisoned in concentration camps, while Jewish businesses, property, and synagogues were destroyed[i].
Unfortunately, the world remained silent and ignorant of Hitler’s atrocities to avoid a conflict with Germany and prevent a German-Russian alliance. This policy gave Adolf Hitler enough courage to destroy communists and Jews at home. His ambition to control was not limited inside Germany. On September 30, 1938, Adolf Hitler, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact, which sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia, virtually handing it over to Germany in the name of peace[xi]. This agreement was part of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy. Prime Minister Chamberlain thought that giving up Czechoslovakia would stop Hitler. On the contrary, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in January 1939 and Poland in September 1939. In the end, He allied Benito Mussolini and put the whole world at risk by starting World War II. Over 60 million people were killed and almost entire Europe and Japan were destroyed during the deadliest war in history.
Vladimir Putin became president after the September 1999 elections in the shadow of the apartment bombings in Buynaksk, Moscow, and Volgodoskin. 293 people were killed and more than 1000 injured after these bloody events. The bombardments played a key role in spreading fear across the country. Vladimir Putin as the prime minister declared the Second Chechen War on Grozny. Putin’s response to the crisis increased his popularity and helped him to become the president after the election.
The Russian government has spent years consolidating its control of the media. Now it sees reporters as public servants first and journalists second[ii]. Many journalists were prisoned or even assassinated by FSB (Federal Security Service of Russia). Alexander Litvinenko, who blamed the FSB for the apartments bombings in two books, was poisoned by FSB agents in London[iii]
Alexander Litvinenko (1962-2006). Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko
Extreme human rights violation took place in Russia under Putin’s rule. Many opposition politicians, journalists, lawmakers have been assassinated not only at home but also abroad. USA and UK intelligence services believe Russian government and secret services are behind at least fourteen targeted killings on British soil.[iv]
Putin’s foreign policy is highly influenced by Aleksandr Dugin who is the author of The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia. The new foreign policy is called active measures which are not traditional war but a political war based on destabilization, and disinformation of Europe, the United States and the Middle East. Russian special services recruited an army of hackers and trolls who undermine democracies by manipulating public perception by false news. In addition to that, Putin uses Russian natural resources especially natural gas to pressure European countries which mainly depend on Russian gas.
Aleksandr Dugin (1962- ) Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Dugin
The weak and divided response from big democracies such as Europe and USA have encouraged Putin to continue to pursue his ambition to dominate the world. After the consolidation of power at home, he conducted massive cyber attacks to Estonia in 2007, invaded Georgia in 2008, invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2011. Finally, he subverted British democracy by manipulating the Brexit election in June 2016[v] and attacked USA democracy by meddling presidential election in November 2016[vi]. There is also strong evidence that Alexander Dugin is the mastermind of staged coup attempt which paves the way to Erdogan turn Turkish democracy into autocracy in 2016[vii].
Fig. II: Estonia 2007 cyber attack timeline-intensity diagram.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan won the elections in November 2015 after several deadly terrorist attacks in Diyarbakir, Suruc, and Ankara, killing total 140 and injuring more than 700 innocent people. After all the chaos and fear, security became the focal point of the election and Erdogan declared that voting for the ruling party (AKP) meant a voice for stability and security.
The staged coup attempt in July 2016 was the final milestone for Erdogan to consolidate power and turn Turkish democracy into an autocracy. The aftermath of the coup attempt carries the analogy with the Reichstag Fire in Germany and apartments bombings in Russia to destroy his opponents. Erdogan dismissed possible and assumed opponents from all sections of public institutions. He put more than a hundred thousands innocent people in jail. All news sources that have been deprived of freedom of speech and expression are controlled by the state, either directly or indirectly. While 149 media outlets were closed, 231 journalists were arrested. Extreme human rights violations including tortures, murders, rapes have been reported by international organizations on human rights violations[viii].
Erdogan’s Turkey: One of the most educated prisoner population in the world; Academicians, bestseller authors, journalists, judges are behind bars in Turkey.
More than twenty thousand military officers who are mainly pro-western and pro-NATO have been dismissed from military service after the so-called coup attempt in July 2016. Erdogan changed the direction of Turkey from the western alliance to Russia and Iran. Part of this shift, pro-Russian officers have been promoted and assigned in critical command roles in the military. The military rapprochement between Turkey and Russia has reached a strategic partnership level with the acquisition of S-400 Air Defense missiles from Russia[ix]
Erdogan, like Putin, formed Ak Trolls who are state-sponsored hackers and social media team with 6000 members. This team was tasked to dominate social media, promote ruling party perspective and manipulate public perception at home and abroad. Since then, his trolls have gotten involved in organizing online lynch mobs against critical journalists, spreading the fake news about dissident artists, and even targeting families of fallen soldiers who voiced disapproval of Erdogan’s security policies[x].
European western democracies could not form their responses regarding fallen democracy in Turkey. There are two reasons for this ignorance policy. First, because of their national interest, some countries continue to refer to this regime. Second, some of them claim that this is an internal problem for Turkey and they could not do anything about it. As Erdogan gets warm welcome during his frequent visits to western countries, he continues to radicalize his supporters who lived abroad to increase his power in foreign affairs’ matters. He intervened the European democracies in several times. The most obvious one was the German election in September 2017. Erdogan urged his German-based supporters not to vote for political parties he accused of verbally attacking Turkey. He said, “I think Turkish voters should give the political parties that are so aggressive and disrespectful to Turkey a necessary lesson in the ballot box.” This call is to intervene in the elections in Germany.
Unfortunately, the reaction of the US, the EU and NATO have been extremely ineffective in preventing Erdogan from destroying democracy and persecuting innocent people in Turkey. Western countries regard all these atrocities and manipulations as internal affairs of Turkish politics. As a result, Erdogan has become one of the most dangerous men for regional and global security and stability. He enjoys the ignorance of other democracies about his crimes, including supporting ISIS terrorist organization, breaching International Sanctions against Iran, deliberately escalating crisis in Syria, blackmailing EU with the threat of opening border to Syrian refugees, blackmailing USA with Pastor Andrew Brunson and undermining NATO with by eliminated all of NATO minded officer in Turkish Armed Forces and assigning pro-Russian officers in NATO posts.
In conclusion, As USA, EU and NATO continue to appease Putin and Erdogan for the sake of their interest, these dictators have already unified their destructive powers including nuclear, hybrid and traditional warfare capacity with a strategic partnership in many areas. The most dangerously, these dictators are currently free to use all legal assets of international entities to cover their crimes and secretly support hackers, crime groups, and terrorist organizations. Their ambition to dominate the world is dangerously materializing with the state terrors, meddling democracies, breaking international rules and violating all level of human rights.
Every dictatorship ends up with a threat to the world because their ambition starts with dictating own nation, and then controlling neighbors and finally dominating the world! That’s why the ignorance of fallen democracy eventually becomes the ignorance of global peace and security.
[iv] “UK authorities ‘overlooked’ evidence linking Russia to deaths on British soil”. Independent.co.uk. 16 June 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.