Machiavelli’s “The Prince”
Machiavelli’s strategies in “The Prince” significantly influence the evolution of contemporary politics. The deficiency of original thought, the smooth talking, and the fast nature visible in modern politics manifests in Machiavelli’s work. It is a minimal, but commanding thing to acquire favor in politics (Machiavelli 30). As depicted in “The Prince”, Machiavelli accomplishes it so thoroughly. By utilizing his critical thinking to assume a rational way of maintaining the status quo, Machiavelli creates a political roadmap. He wins the favor of the ruling Medici family by offering them his work and thus secures his release from prison. Machiavelli’s work is representative of a political bit drafted as a simple means to an end. While readers may fail to discern the original intents of Machiavelli, “The Prince” proceeds to be an intense meditation on the ways that many leaders employ to acquire and preserve power.
Machiavelli, in his prominent book “The Prince,” illustrates the qualifications and qualities of an ideal leader, whereby he on Cesare Borgia. With his father Pope Alexander VI, they jointly conquered a kingdom, ruled with great effectiveness, and registered enormous success. Machiavelli, through his book, considers Cesare to be an ideal prince. The deduction arises in accordance with his corresponding success he had as a ruler and the techniques he applied while ruling (Baran 56). Machiavelli presents various policies of Cesare as instances of his prosperity as a ruler. Perhaps there exists a parallelism between Cesare’s policies and the current events in Turkey. Machiavelli, in “The Prince”, considered Cesare to be a typical ideal prince. So what would he have deduced regarding Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? It is worth answering such the question in order to comprehend whether Erdoğan too is an ideal prince or not. According to “The Prince”, Cesare undertook three major steps as he subjugated Bologna. In order to know whether Erdoğan utilizes the advice from Machiavelli’s book, it is crucial to review his policies and major political measures taken since he acquired leadership role in 2002 (Dalay et al 45).
Erdoğan takes similar steps to the ones taken by Cesare during his term as a ruler. The similarity is evident in the initial steps they take once they acquired their respective thrones. As Machiavelli states, “It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.” (Machiavelli 56) Cesare delegated duty to Remirro de Ocro to command the newly conquered Bologna since it was a disorganized kingdom. Ocro ruled the country with great ferocity to expunge any traces of the old leadership. The duty of erasing the legacy of his predecessors and making the nation easier to manage was daunting, and Cesare needed to implement tough measures. Cesare prudently used leaders like Ocro to implement his policies. Otherwise, if he applied them himself, he would have tainted his reputation. Erdoğan acted more like Cesare through his policies. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), while battling against military instruction received massive help from the elite squads of the Gülen movement (Ewing 70). Considering that Gülen movement invested in education for nearly half a decade, it is worth comprehending the significance of the aid of the trustworthy and qualified squads (corporate world, media, and bureaucracy) of the movement in the battle of AKP against military guidance. At the onset, it was unclear how the strife would succeed. Like Cesare’s case, the victory of the battle would be attributed to the government. On the other hand, everybody would own a loss. At this instance, a touch of the doctrines of Machiavelli’s “The Prince” is evident. The cadres democratized the country, sent the military to its barracks and consolidated the government’s power. Machiavelli’s quote is evident in the aforementioned step, “The new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once and for all.” (Machiavelli 57)
Similarity between Cesare in “The Prince” and Erdoğan in modern-day Turkey is also evident in the second step they take as leaders. Following the strong policies and the relatively fair treatment of Cesare’s ruling, Bologna restored its order. Thus, his leadership obliterated the oppressive and corrupt legacy of preceding rulers. It is quite arguable that Ocro’s policies were essential but also tagged along public unrest. It is in this gear that Cesare summoned a gathering at the city center and set up a citizen’s court to address their varied complaints. The prince sentenced Ocro to death, following the complaints of the people of Bologna. Erdoğan also acted in a similar way (Gunter 44). The cadres, who fought military tutelage, had been blemished by the extremeness of the events over the years. After 2011, Erdoğan slowly began indicating clear indications of the readiness to form a court for his old friends. The government owned all the successes that resulted from the actions of the movement. On the other hand, the government relayed the accountability for the criticisms and failures, like long-term prison sentences and arresting of journalists to the Gülen movement. The government reacted to people’s complaints by sentencing the group to death, besides closing up all their prep schools. Apparently, all the steps that Erdoğan takes as a leader aligns to the steps that Cesare take as a leader in “The Prince”. As Machiavelli states in his quote “Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived.” (Machiavelli 58) Both Cesare and Erdoğan deceive the people they elected to implement their unjustifiable measures.
In conclusion, “The Prince” is a political treatise that has greatly influenced the deeds of leaders of Turkey like Süleyman, Sultan Mehmet II, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It is apparent from their actions and rulings that the leaders adopted various tactics in achieving their success. Although some of the ways were considered crooked and unjustified, the end justified the means (Machiavelli 45). Critics believe that Machiavelli’s book clearly depicts no limit to what leaders can do to gain political authority. As such, the aforementioned leaders may have exercised immoral ways of gaining political power. Nonetheless, “The Prince” proceeds to be an intense meditation on the ways that many leaders employ to acquire and preserve power.
Baran, Zeyno. Torn Country: Turkey between Secularism and Islamism. Stanford, Calif: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, 2010. Print.
Dalay, Ismail, and Wolfgang Gieler. Globalization and Transition: Administrative, Political, International Strategic and Economical Studies. Bonn: Scientia Bonnensis, 2009. Print.
Ewing, Katherine. Stolen Honor: Stigmatizing Muslim Men in Berlin. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2008. Internet resource.
Gunter, Michael M. Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2011. Print.
Machiavelli, Niccolò, and Tim Parks. The Prince. New York: Penguin Books, 2009. Internet resource.