Modi and Erdogan thrive on divisive identity politics

Source:Financial Times Date:11Aug2020

Mr Modi is a Hindu nationalist. Mr Erdogan is an Islamist. The Indian and Turkish leaders look like potential rivals in a clash of civilisations. But they are pursuing political projects that are mirror images.

Both are champions of a brand of politics that seeks to fuse religion, the nation and the leader. Both lead countries with secular constitutions but want to place religion back at the heart of the nation and the state.
Identity politics thrives on division and distinctions between friends and enemies. Often, the focus is on the “enemy within”, such as religious or ethnic minorities, or liberal elites. But strongman leaders also have to be seen to be tough with the nation’s enemies overseas. Mr Erdogan has committed Turkish troops to wars in Libya and Syria. Mr Modi authorised a bombing raid on militant camps in Pakistan, just ahead of the 2019 election.

A rejection of secularism and an embrace of identity politics is a potent way of rallying political support. But, both at home and abroad, it is also a recipe for conflict.



This is seeing the glass half full.  Erdogan is losing support at home, Belarus is on the verge of riots. Thousands protest Netanyahu, while Trump is 15% behind Biden in polls.  No-one care about identtiy politics, when disease and economic misery run amok amidst the population.