Like most attempts to legislate morality this gives Erdogan an excuse to stalk and harass his victims citizens:
For Erdogan, grabbing cigarette packs from citizens is a political act, the aim of which is to impose himself on Turks as their “father” — a figure who decides what is right and wrong for them, who shapes their lives and shows them the way. No doubt, he is an overbearing father who has little tolerance for objections and expects full obedience.
The child’s treatment Erdogan accords to Turkish citizens he spots smoking or carrying cigarettes is a means of erecting new pillars to fortify his repressive rule. He extracts promises of quitting, takes away their cigarette packs and feels no need to pay compensation for them — liberties only a father can take.
In Middle Eastern tradition, smoking in the presence of one’s father is often perceived as bad manners. Erdogan is effectively telling the smokers, “You are not supposed to smoke in my presence.” And the more his targets accept this “fatherhood,” the more they reduce themselves to children — Erdogan’s children.
Smoking is not the only realm in which the psycho-politics of Erdogan’s authoritarian and overly conservative role are manifested. In 2013, for example, he slammed unmarried young men and women sharing student accommodations and mobilized the security forces against coed housing. He also grumbled that women he used to see on a Bosporus quay from his office in Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace were dressed immodestly.
As long as Turkish society fails to reject Erdogan’s fatherhood claim, there is nothing to stop him from advancing it.