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Singapore is a dictatorship[edit]

A dictatorship dressed up to look like a democracy, but it isn't one - the whole system is rigged to make sure the ruling party always wins. Lee Kuan Yew was dictator for over 30 years, and his son is dictator of Singapore today. Hansel (talk) 08:49, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

We should probably have a section on so-called "benevolent dictators". WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 09:38, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
"Benevolent dictator" = does what Americans want.
"Malevolent dictator" = doesn't do what Americans want.
Hansel (talk) 09:40, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
He is right about singapore, i have been there too, the dictatorship exists. (talk) 09:43, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

If you are gonna give the example of the USSR supporting dictatorships, it should be prudent to mention that democracies such as the USA also support dictatorships. Otherwise it just looks like dictatorships are supported by dictatorships. -- (talk) 14:19, 22 March 2015 (UTC) Requesting thread archival (why?) Bongolian (talk)

Turkish Democracy and Middle Eastern bigotry[edit]

I'd rather we didn't use them as the example of a "tolerant democracy" in this context. The fact of the matter remains that the Turkish Republic (and its predecessor state in its final stages) ethnically cleansed their entire country of its native religious minorities. In the case of the modern Turkish Republic the reasons for doing so weren't actually religious (as can be shown by how they deal with the Kurds), but given that the policies that the Turkish State has pursued over the years have had the de facto effect of purging all but non-native Christians and Jews from Turkey it is inappropriate to hold them up as a shining beacon of tolerance. Simply put I'd rather be an Armenian or an Assyrian in literally any country in the Middle East other than Turkey. Alsto003 (talk) 01:53, 30 March 2015 (UTC) Alex

Syria doesn't seem to be a particularly good place to be an Assyrian right now. But yeah, Turkey was 80% muslim in 1914 and it's 99.8% muslim today. Genocide much? CorruptUser (talk) 02:11, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I would be careful about bashing Turkey on this account for two reasons related to how and when the two greatest changes to the (relative) religious diversity of the 1914 Ottoman Empire(!) occurred:
  1. The Armenian Genocide occurred in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, i.e. before modern Turkey was created and before it was a democracy - what the Turkish Republic is guilty of is Armenian Genocide denial.
  2. The other great "drain" on Turkish religious diversity was the "population exchange"Wikipedia with Greece following the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22)Wikipedia. If we start bashing the Turkish Republic over that one, then Greece is at least as much to blame (Greece invaded Turkey, not vice versa, and Greece expelled its own religious minority to Turkey, hence the "exchange" bit).
So, the problems in CorruptUser's point is that by choosing 1914 as a baseline, we would not be looking at the Turkish Republic but at the Ottoman Empire, not to mention that "Muslim" is about as accurate and useful analytical cateogory as "Christian" (hint: hereWikipedia is one reason why the former is tricky and here is one for the latter). A state being religiously tolerantWikipedia (note: not the same as freedom of religion) concerns not actively persecuting or forbidding religious dissent, incl. dissenters who belong to the favoured religion's other "branches" (i.e. toleration of Catholics and dissenters in England in the past or toleration of Shias in a predominately Sunni country).
As for the Kurds, the Turkish Republic is oppressing them for nationalist not religious reasons and I'd like to hear about the specific persecutions of Turkish Christians and Jews before going on (I'm curious about Alex's hedging in the reference to "non-native Christians and Jews from Turkey").
I'd also point out a few alternative places in the Middle East where it's far worse to be an Armenian or Assyrian: Iraq or Saudi Arabia, for instance. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:24, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
There are some things I could have said better, but I stand by most of my post. While I am inclined (as I indicated in my first post) to say that the Modern Turkish state only harassed minorities for nationalist rather than religious reasons, there are a few things that make me skeptical of that idea. The primary reason why I am skeptical of it is because during the "population exchange" (more like arranged ethnic cleansing) in 1923 the Turks expelled a group of Turkish speaking Christians in Cappadocia called the KaramanlidesWikipedia to Greece (the Greeks did the same with a native Greek speaking Muslim minority in southern Greek Macedonia called the VallahadesWikipedia and with the remaining Greek speaking Cretan TurksWikipedia). The Vallahades did not see themselves as Turks nor did the Cretan Turks (despite their name), and the Karamanlides did not see themselves as being entirely Greek. It is entirely apparent to me that all three of these religious minorities were expelled not because they were the wrong ethnicity but because they were the wrong religion. There were exceptions made for certain communities, most of the Cham AlbaniansWikipedia stayed put in Greece (before they were expelled after World War II) as did the Muslims in Thrace (they have some difficulty deciding among themselves whether or not they are Turks, Greeks, or Pomaks); the Greeks of Imbros/Gokceada as well as those of Istanbul were allowed to stay in Turkey. Both nations ignored their agreement to respect the rights of these minorities, but if had to choose which among these two states was the worst offender in this regard it would be Turkey. While there are still Turks in Rhodes (which was Italian territory at the time of the exchange) and in Thrace (which has a Turkish communities that numbers in the tens of thousands), there are less than ten thousand Greeks in Turkey, and that is hardly an accident as the infamous Istanbul PogromWikipedia would seem to show. The result of this persecution is made very clear by the current predicament of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of ConstantinopleWikipedia, the Patriarch is still the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church (the "first among equals" to use that phrase). Current Turkish law stipulates that the Patriarch must be a Turkish citizen, with less than ten thousand mostly elderly Greeks in the country and a negligible naturalized Eastern Orthodox community, Turkey faces the almost certain scenario that within a couple of generations they will be unable to find a Greek clergy member to be Patriarch (there are I believe a descent number of Arab Christians who are Orthodox in the Hatay Province, but they and the clergy that serves them follow the Patriarch of Antioch rather than the one in Constantinople). With the Patriarchate gone the Turkish Republic will have lost a major ally in the Eastern Orthodox Church and that's not nothing given that most of Turkey's sworn enemies are also Eastern Orthodox.
I digress, if I could rewrite my post I'd probably reword this: "non-native Christians and Jews from Turkey". What I'm trying to say is that the communities of the Jews and Latin Christians (which is what they call Roman Catholics living in Turkey with Turkish citizenship) while well established and in many cases ancient, are perceived of as being foreign in Turkey when compared to the Assyrians, Armenians, Greeks, and Kurds.
There is indeed bigotry towards non-Muslims in Turkey <> (I don't really know where to find a newer survey but I am willing to bet, given events these past six years or so, that these numbers have changed all that much). The reason why it Turks view Christians and Jews in such a negative light isn't immediately obvious to Westerners, this is because of Turkey's reputation as being secular and also because major acts of aggression against Christian and Jewish minorities are relatively uncommon in Turkey (though that may just because there aren't enough Jews in Turkey to be a target and because the Latin Christians aren't a target because they're very much connected to the west and the government, which is allies with the west, would presumably take their complaints of discrimination seriously).
One could argue that this hatred towards Greeks and Armenians among other non-Muslim minorities is solely the result of Nationalist hatred. The reason why I do not take that position is because far too many of the various slights Turkey makes towards Greeks and especially Armenians have a distinctly religious quality to them. For instance a large relatively new Mosque in Adana was constructed on top of an Armenian Cemetery .  More recently the leader of a Turkish Nationalist party held a very political oriented prayer session in the ruins of a medieval Cathedral near the Armenian border in response to an Armenian Mass being held there a month earlier for the first time in nearly a century <>.
Despite nationalist hatred being directed towards all non-Turks, it is readily apparent that this nationalist hatred has disproportionately affected non-Muslims during the course of the history of the Turkish Republic. While I think distinguishing between freedom of religion and religious toleration is important what good is full and complete religious freedom when your religion is not tolerated by society as a whole? How can a religious minority expect to have equality before the law when the society they live in is openly and loudly bigoted against them? You know you are right about there being countries in the Middle East where it would be a lot more difficult to live as a Christian or a Jew (let alone a member of another religion). I must admit that I was stupid to write that I would rather be an Assyrian or an Armenian in any other country in the Middle East, nevertheless the reason why I wrote it was because I was thinking, which state is it better to be an Assyrian or an Armenian in? Turkey or Iran? I decided that given what I know about the situation of Assyrians and Armenians in those two countries Iran would actually be preferable to Turkey. For me the fact that Assyrians and Armenians are better off in Iran of all places demonstrates that religious tolerance is just as important if not more important than legal equality. Hence it is for these reasons that I do not consider Turkey to be a good example to use in emphasizing religious freedom in democracies. Alsto003 (talk) 10:45, 30 March 2015 (UTC) Alex
I still don't regard the example Greco-Turkish "population exchange" as an example of minly religious persecution, but instead as an example of the problem with defining nationality when conducting ethnic cleansing in such diverse ethnic states as Greece or Turkey were in those days. Having to make the cut somewhere, the cleansers decided that religion was the most important feature when deciding who was "Greek" or "Turkish", hence the example of Greek-speaking Muslims and Turkish-speaking Christians being deported.
Likewise, I view the ban on non-citizens of Turkey becoming Patriarch as another example of nationalist concerns, rather than religious ones. After all, the Patriarch of Constantinople was the original Orthodox Patriarch and the competing ones in various Eastern European and Balkan states were set up as part of their nationalist projects (see, for instance, Mark Mazower'sWikipedia The Balkans: A Short History).
Using the example of Turkish harassment of Armenians is also (in my eyes) far more an example of aggressive Turkish nationalism, since it originates with the (incredibly stupid) decision of the Turkish Republic's leaders to go down the path of Armenian Genocide denial (rather than just place the blame on the "discredited regime" of the Ottoman Empire and employ the whole "open a new leaf"-/"clean slate"-rhetoric).
I was quite specific about the difference between religious freedom and religious tolerance. I don't really think any Middle Eastern state has a good claim to the former, but I do think that some have various degrees of the latter. I'd also like to hear the criteria according to which Assyrians are better off in Iran, rather than Turkey, though I'd also point out that this may have just as much to do with Iran being less bad than portrayed in the (Western) media than it is about Turkey being a horrible place.
Turkey is also far from unique in tying its nationalism to a specific religion - just look at Kosovo, Serbia, or Ireland, for that matter. Sure, Turkey is far from being a Western liberal democracy with freedom of religion, but compared to the rest of the countries in the Middle East, I'd still say that Turkey is by far the "least bad" of the crowd. It may be worse to be an Armenian in Turkey than in some other Middle Eastern countries, but again that is mainly due to Turkish nationalism. It's like using the case of being a Serb in Kosovo (or previously a Kosovo Albanian in Serbia) as the touchstone in an argument about Serbian religious bigotry in general. Since we're talking about Armenians, you could just as well point to the problems of being an Azeri in Armenia or an Armenian in Azerbaijan and point to this as an example of religious bigotry, and I'd still maintain that the salient feature is nationalism of which religious identity plays a large part.
"Both nations ignored their agreement to respect the rights of these minorities, but if had to choose which among these two states was the worst offender in this regard it would be Turkey." Yeah, and they were far from the only ones which did so at the time. Indeed, the new Inter-war era nation states' flagrant disregard for the minority rights they had been forced to agree to is one of the central themes in Mark Mazower's excellent book Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century. The question is not if Turkey was worse than Greece but whether Turkey is worse than its Middle Eastern neighbours. Considering the situation in several other Middle Eastern countries, I'd maintain that Turkey is still "less bad" overall. ScepticWombat (talk) 13:00, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Very well, you make good points, though on some topics we shall have to agree to disagree. The article can stay as it is (for a while at least). Alsto003 (talk) 01:43, 2 April 2015 (UTC) Alex

The pape[edit]

Erm, he answers to the cardinals? After his election? I'm no Catholic, but I'm fairly sure he is not obliged to do so. PacWalker 07:06, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

I think you're right - hence my revision. Let's see if it sticks. ScepticWombat (talk) 07:16, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
The decisions of the Pope are only infallible insofar as they are based on either the Scripture or the Church teachings. For instance the Pope cannot just declare one day that Mormonism is the true religion and that all Catholics should convert to Mormonism, Church teaching and arguably the Bible itself wouldn't support such a declaration. Therefore the conclusion that we can come to is that the Pope, despite basically being an elected monarch/dictator, is not above the rule of law. Given that it is sort of assumed that dictators are above the rule of law (whatever that may be in any given country) the status of the Pope is therefore rather fuzzy. (While I am not Catholic I have looked into the doctrine of Papal infallibility) Alsto003 (talk) 01:43, 2 April 2015 (UTC) Alex

Transforming the examples list on its own article[edit]

We have a hefty, but not a exhausting list on this article. Maybe we should consider either purging the list or creating an article featuring most of the dictators in the world's history. Thoughts? GeeJayK (talk) 01:52, 9 September 2022 (UTC)

This article, like many others, needs major rewrites to remove the giant lists and add more actual substance. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 02:29, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
That's one of the reasons why I believe this giant list should go, but IMHO we don't need to nuke the whole thing, we can use it to create a new, missional article. I usually hate listicles, but a list of dictator sounds interesting. GeeJayK (talk) 02:54, 9 September 2022 (UTC)
It's reasonable to split off the list part to stand as a separate article that can either be improved separately or AfD-ed. Bongolian (talk) 02:56, 9 September 2022 (UTC)

Examples of dictators[edit]

I don't think we need this hefty list of "examples". Now, don't get me wrong, I hate listicles as much as the next guy, but a more an exhaustive list might be missional. My proposal: delete the list on this article and create another article featuring actual dictators. Thoughts? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 22:52, 3 November 2022 (UTC)

It seems reasonable to me to split it. Bongolian (talk) 23:16, 3 November 2022 (UTC)
I want to delete the listicle, but I guess splitting it off is fine too. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 23:28, 3 November 2022 (UTC)
Very well, I'll start a draft in in a couple of days. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 01:27, 4 November 2022 (UTC)
Yeah do that. I saw the talk page in a recent change and fully expected it to be a discussion about an eye-searing list. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario!(Mod) 01:33, 4 November 2022 (UTC)