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Davos style

It is difficult to understand, and definitely incompatible with all the principles of good leadership, why Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan insists on confronting everyone and every institution in an aggressive manner.

A leader ought to be the problem solver, not the one creating problems. Yet, very much like his aggressive style demonstrated in front of the global community at Davos this year, during which he not only yelled into the face of Nobel peace prize winner Israeli President Shimon Peres saying, "You know well how to kill," but also walked out of the panel declaring, "Davos has ended for me," the Turkish premier is confronting everyone, be it workers, employers, international agencies such as the IMF, the military or judiciary, and of course the political opposition all the time.

Indeed, no one can accuse him of being unstable. Except for coming together for some social reasons, the prime minister has not come together even once over the past many years with the main opposition party leader. Only some ten days ago the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, withdrew a request for an appointment with him after their request was not even given a positive or negative answer after many months.

Perhaps the apparent affection of the Turkish people to macho leaders, as election results might imply, is one reason why the premier and his AKP has been following such an aggressive style in politics. Turkey is a country with an ambiguous dynamism. There is something new every few days up for some heated discussion and debate in this country. Yet, it is quite rare to see the government and his parliamentary majority introduce a radical legislative change in a midnight ambush and allow civilian courts to prosecute the military officers; legislate a "reform" in labor laws and allow a "workers for lease" practice condemned by labor as a move aimed to create a modern version of a "slave market" and a prime minister publicly quarrelling with the labor unions saying, "They say they will go on strike if we refuse their demand for a higher pay rise. Right, go on strike, will not afford give you more." Though, since that "courageous" statement, the premier and his top aides are negotiating with the labor methods of preventing a strike; publicly adamancy persists as usual. Yesterday, labor was on a one-hour warning strike, if administrative adamancy and aggressive leadership style continued, we may soon find ourselves buried in widespread labor unrest.

Someone should perhaps provide the prime minister the legendary advice of Sheigh Edebali to Osman Ghazi, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, and tell him that there is an "Edebali style" proved over centuries to be far better than the "Davos style".

Edebali's advice

Sheikh Edebali (1206-1326) was an early Ottoman period highly influential and respected religious leader, who helped shape and develop the policies of the Ottoman Empire. Edebali's advice to his son in law, Osman Ghazi, upon becoming the sultan after the death of the Ertuğrul Ghazi, was not just a lecture in good governance; it also shaped and developed Ottoman administration and rule for many centuries.

In his famous declaration Edebali told Osman, who is considered the founder of the Ottoman Empire:

"My son, now, you are the leader!

From now on wrath is for us; the calmness is for you.

Being offended is for us; pleasing is for you.

The impeachment is for us; to endure is for you. Incapacity and mistakes are for us; tolerance is for you.

Disagreements and disparity are for us; justice is for you.

Unfairness is for us; forgiveness is for you.

Dividing is for us, completing is for you.

Slothfulness is for us, warning and guiding is for you.

My son, your burden is heavy, your duty is difficult and your power is like up to a hair.

May Allah be with you."

Can there indeed be a government which has developed wrath with some key institutions of the state; which is acting in an offended manner; which is trying to achieve some key legislations through an ambush culture; sawing disparity and disagreement rather than allowing wider freedom to justice; which has forgotten the word fairness; that has become separatist; and which is obsessed with power with a majoritarian understanding?