Opinion | How the unthinkable becomes routine — and why it’s so dangerous

‘In 2003, when Recep Tayyip Erdogan became prime minister of Turkey, he was described as a “modern, pro-Western democrat,” a man who would reinvigorate democracy as he pushed his country toward membership in the European Union. An editorial in the New York Times claimed that he “favors democratic pluralism” and was trying to “move closer to Western-style democracy.”

How wrong they were.

Fifteen years later, Erdogan holds virtually unchecked power. He has used his office — first as prime minster, now as president — to steadily dismantle democracy, piece by piece. Slowly but surely, he has gutted the judiciary, subdued the legislature and muzzled the press. When did Turkey’s already wounded democracy draw its last breath? It’s hard to say — and that’s precisely the point. Democracy can die a slow, gasping death — so slow that you grow used to its demise.’

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