Archive for the ‘Turkey’s failed coup’ category

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Slams American Fight Against Terror During July 4th Celebration

July 10, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Slams American Fight Against Terror During July 4th Celebration, Washington Free Beacon  July 10, 2017

US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass delivers a statement to journalists in Ankara on April 7, 2016. / AFP / ADEM ALTAN (Photo credit should read ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

“If we have learned anything from last year and the violence of this year, it is that the only answer to terrorism and violence is justice and tolerance,” he said.

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U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass criticized the American fight against terrorism during a July Fourth celebration hosted by the U.S. consulate in Ankara, claiming that an “overly broad” definition of terrorism has hampered U.S. efforts to combat extremists and eroded international confidence in America.

Bass, a career foreign service officer who was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2014, urged Turkey to “avoid making the mistakes the U.S. made” in its fight against radical terrorists, telling those in attendance at an Independence Day reception “that rushing to justice or making an overly broad definition of terrorism can erode fundamental freedoms and undermine public confidence in government.”

Bass’s comments have come under scrutiny by Trump administration insiders and regional experts, who told the Washington Free Beacon that Turkey’s recent crackdown on scores of political dissidents in no way reflects America’s own battles in the region.

Insiders are viewing Bass’s criticism of U.S. policy on terrorism as a veiled rejection of President Donald Trump, who has come under fire from multiple U.S. officials who rose to prominence under Obama and are still serving in government.

For example, Dana Shell Smith, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Qatar until she resigned in June, came under scrutiny earlier this year when she signaled distain for representing the Trump administration while still serving as a U.S. official abroad.

“We support the Turkish government’s ongoing efforts to bring to justice those who were responsible for the terrible events of a year ago,” Bass said in comments recorded by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News, referring to a recent coup attempt in Turkey that resulted in the imprisonment and detention of more than 100,000 political opponents.

“In our own experience dealing with terrorism in recent years, in the U.S., we have learned some painful lessons,” Bass said, drawing parallels between Turkey’s crackdown and U.S. efforts to fight terrorists. “Among those lessons, we have learned that rushing to justice or making an overly broad definition of terrorism can erode fundamental freedoms and undermine public confidence in government. We learned those lessons the hard way.”

“It is our hope that our friends in Turkey will avoid making some of the same mistakes that we have made,” Bass was quoted as saying.

Bass’s public criticism of the U.S. fight against terrorism has raised eyebrows among Trump administration insiders and foreign policy experts, who noted a recent trend in which senior State Department stalwarts, many of whom served under Obama, have been willing to criticize U.S. policy and the Trump administration both on record and anonymously in the press.

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and Middle East expert, chided Bass for comparing the U.S. fight against terrorism to Turkey’s recent coup attempt, in which thousands were jailed for taking up arms against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Let me get this straight: a democratic debate about the Patriot Act is the moral equivalent of jailing tens of thousands of people, and firing a hundred thousand more?” Rubin asked. “At the very least, the ambassador’s remarks reflect a culture problem within the State Department where criticizing U.S. policy is a virtue rather than a liability. Such moral equivalence insults all those in prison without evidence or real charges and hemorrhages both credibility and leverage.”

Bass also maintained in his remarks that the only way to combat terrorism is to promote “justice and tolerance.”

“If we have learned anything from last year and the violence of this year, it is that the only answer to terrorism and violence is justice and tolerance,” he said.

Sources close to the Trump administration’s foreign policy team told the Free Beacon that Bass’s remarks reflect an attitude of opposition to Trump among senior U.S. foreign service officers who served under Obama.

“Like many other officials who rose to prominence during the Obama administration, Ambassador Bass still hasn’t adjusted to the last election and what it means,” said one veteran Middle East analyst who works with the White House on these regional issues.

“We haven’t been too tough on terrorism,” the source said. “President Trump was elected in part because he was clear that, if anything, we’ve been way too weak. In any case July Fourth is an occasion for emphasizing America as the world’s beacon of freedom, not apologizing for real and imagined faults.”

State Department spokesmen did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment on Bass’s remarks by press time.

Brooklyn: Feds raid businessmen linked to Penn. imam blamed for Turkey coup

December 12, 2016

Brooklyn: Feds raid businessmen linked to Penn. imam blamed for Turkey coup, Creeping Sharia, December 12, 2016

fethullah-gulen-index

Source: Feds raid businessmen linked to imam blamed for Turkey coup | New York Post

Federal authorities raided a Brooklyn cafe linked to the Pennsylvania imam blamed by Turkey for plotting July’s failed coup attempt in that country.

The feds seized computers from Masal Cafe in Sheepshead Bay — which operates in a portion of the old Lundy’s Restaurant — in October, said a source familiar with the Brooklyn Turkish community and accounts in the Turkish press.

Cafe owner Selahattin Karakus told the Daily Sabah, an English-language newspaper in Turkey, that agents were at his Sheepshead Bay home and the cafe.

“They told me not to talk about this with anyone,” he is quoted as saying.

Karakus, 39, is a supporter of Fethullah Gulen, an imam who fled Turkey in 1999 and lives in self-imposed exile in the Poconos. He heads a moderate religious movement that operates schools and cultural centers around the world, including one in Sheepshead Bay.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Gulen for orchestrating the coup attempt and has demanded that the US extradite him to Turkey. The Turkish government considers Gulen’s movement a terrorist organization.

Gulen has denied involvement in the uprising, which killed more than 250 people.

Since the uprising, Erdogan has expanded a crackdown on the Gulenist movement, with more than 30,000 people arrested or detained and media outlets shuttered.

Shortly after the coup attempt, the Obama administration expressed its support for the Turkish democracy and said it would consider any evidence Erdogan presented to extradite Gulen.

Karakus is considered close enough to Gulen that the reclusive cleric is said to have suggested the name for his restaurant, which has become a meeting place for Gulen supporters, according to press reports. The word “masal” in Turkish means a tale or story.

He is among a number of Gulen adherents who have contributed to political campaigns across the country, according to a 2014 BuzzFeed article. Karakus denied at the time there was an orchestrated attempt at political influence.

He has donated $11,300 to congressional campaigns since 2012 including those of Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke in Brooklyn and Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas. Texas is home to the greatest number of Gulen-backed charter schools.

Karakus has also given $2,500 to Brooklyn Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, a Democrat from Sheepshead Bay. Cymbrowitz’s campaign has spent $130 at the Masal Cafe, records show.

“All I know about a federal raid is what I read in the newspaper. Mr. Karakus has a successful restaurant and is an active member of the Sheepshead Bay merchants’ association,” Cymbrowitz said.

The entity that operates the eatery, Boz Export and Import Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection in September, just days before the FBI raid. The company owes $450,803 in back rent, according to its bankruptcy filing.

Karakus refused to talk to The Post, and his lawyer declined to comment. The FBI would not comment.


Gulen has schools all across the U.S., many of them robbing taxpayers of funds and jobs. Watch: Killing Ed – Charter Schools, Corruption, and the Gülen Movement in America.

As we wrote in this post, Erdogan tells Obama to take care of Pennsylvania-based Islamist Gulen:

Will Obama back Erdogan – who is Islamizing Turkey, or will he back Gulen – who is Islamizing the U.S.?

It looks like Obama will back Gulen after one inning of play…

The Brooklyn raid should confirm that assessment.

Sheepshead Bay is the same Brooklyn neighborhood where Despite 20+ violations, 2 stop orders, Muslims impose mosque on residential Brooklyn neighborhood.

Obama is the Real Turkey in This Scenario

September 6, 2016

Obama is the Real Turkey in This Scenario, Algemeiner, Ruthie Blum, September 6,2016

turkey-turkey

It is typical of Obama to condemn the victims of such a travesty. But to describe the failed coup as a re-affirmation of the Turkish people’s “commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey” borders on willful lunacy and blindness.

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US President Barack Obama met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday at the G-20 summit in China.

Though the purpose of the two-day gathering was for representatives of governments and central banks to discuss policy issues pertaining to international financial stability, the tete-a-tete between Obama and Erdogan on the sidelines of the forum was not about money. It was, rather, a meeting of the minds on a subject close to the hearts of both NATO allies.

With his Cheshire-cat grin and dead eyes, Obama patted his Turkish counterpart on the back and congratulated him on a job well done. Erdogan had not only survived an attempt to oust him, but had quashed it like a true tyrant. Obama could only look on in awe and envy.

Following their little chat, the two leaders addressed the press at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hangzhou.

“By taking to the streets to resist the coup attempt, the Turkish people once again affirmed their commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey,” Obama said. “I indicated at the time the unequivocal condemnation of these actions and spoke personally to President Erdogan to offer any support that we might be able to provide in both ending the attempted coup, but also in investigating and bringing perpetrators of these illegal actions to justice.”

One form this help is going to take, Obama hinted, is the possible extradition to Turkey of controversial cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan claims orchestrated the failed coup from his home of self-exile in Pennsylvania.

Obama also extended his “deepest condolences” to Turkey’s victims of terrorism, and said that he and his pal “Tayyip” had consented “to continue pursuing a peaceful political transition in Syria.”

Erdogan also made a statement, calling the president of the United States “Barack,” before launching into one of his usual self-serving rants. Typical of a violent Islamist appropriating the moral high ground, the Turkish president agreed that fighting terrorism is of utmost importance. But the “terrorists” to whom he mainly referred were Gulen and the Kurds. Groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas — which live by the sword, the rifle and the suicide-bomb are just fine, as far as he is concerned.

Obama did not bat an eyelash, however, indicating that the foreign policy of his nearly eight-year administration is firmly intact. And it still involves being on the wrong side of every conflict, while presenting the bad guys in a favorable light. Turkey is but one of many examples.

Let’s start with the failed coup. Erdogan’s paranoia about Gulen is likely unfounded. If any conspiracy theory is in order, it is that Erdogan himself planned the whole thing, in order to strengthen and legitimize his already suffocating stranglehold on the country.

For years prior to the botched attempt, the Turkish president was gradually purging his society of dissent. No institution was exempt from his wrath, with members of the press and academia being placed under a particularly high-powered microscope. Arresting journalists for daring to publish pieces that exposed his behavior was commonplace well before July 15, the date of the coup. But the practice paled in comparison to what has been taking place across Turkey in the weeks since then. Tens of thousands of citizens whom Erdogan deems a threat to his reign of terror have been fired from their jobs, thrown into prison or both. These include people from the military, the police, the judiciary, the political echelon, the media and the universities.

It is typical of Obama to condemn the victims of such a travesty. But to describe the failed coup as a re-affirmation of the Turkish people’s “commitment to democracy and the strength and resilience of democratic institutions inside of Turkey” borders on willful lunacy and blindness. As was the case with the foiled Green Revolution in Iran, when the newly instated administration in Washington watched from afar as the regime in Tehran gunned down protesters trying to extricate themselves from the mullahs dictating their every move, the White House once again simply watched from afar, and let the forces of evil wreak their havoc uninterrupted.

We now fully grasp what Obama was up to in 2009 — a total capitulation to the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, culminating in last year’s signing of the nuclear deal with the ayatollahs. What he has in store for Turkey during his remaining lame-duck tenure in office remains to be seen. But it won’t be good.

This he made clear in his declaration of cooperation with Erdogan on the Syrian front. Referring to a joint “pursuit of a peaceful political transition” in the war-torn country not only made a mockery of the millions of dead and maimed citizens whose plight barely elicits a yawn any more, but served as a signal to Erdogan that he can proceed with the slaughter of America’s Kurdish allies as he sees fit. You know, all in the name of fighting the Islamic State group, the only bogeyman on which there is wide consensus.

Erdogan’s cross-border attack, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, was launched on Aug. 24 and is still going on. This “peaceful political transition” is being carried out by Turkish planes, tanks and artillery. But Tayyip’s friend Barack — the real turkey in this tale of woe — forgot to mention it.

Biden Gushes to Erdoğan That American People ‘Stand in Awe’ of Turkish ‘Courage’

August 25, 2016

Biden Gushes to Erdoğan That American People ‘Stand in Awe’ of Turkish ‘Courage’ PJ MediaBridget Johnson, August 25, 2016

(Erdogan’s Turkey is a transparently great “democracy” where some have human rights; Obama must be envious. — DM) 

biden erdoganVice President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands after a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on Aug. 24, 2016. (Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service Pool via AP)

Standing at the side of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during an Ankara press conference today, Vice President Joe Biden tried to soothe relations with the Islamist government by slamming last month’s coup attempt as “a violent betrayal by a small group of folks who were sworn to defend the very people that they say they care and love.”

“The attempted coup went to the heart of who your people are — principled, courageous and committed. And for a people who have struggled so long to establish a true democracy, this was, from my perspective and the president’s perspective, the ultimate affront. So my heart goes out to not just the government, but to the Turkish people,” Biden said.

Biden added it’s “hard for Americans to picture the possibility” of the military trying to overthrow the U.S. government “when they thought the president was on vacation with his family.”

The vice president toured damage to Turkey’s parliament left from the coup attempt.

“I can understand, Mr. President, how some of your countrymen would feel that the world didn’t respond to the existential crisis your country was facing rapidly enough, or with the appropriate amount of solidarity and compassion and empathy,” he continued. “And that’s why, Mr. President — you’ve known me for a while — that’s why I wanted to personally be here, and was asked by the President to personally be here to represent, to tell you and all of your colleagues and your countrymen how very, very, very sorry I am, the president is, the American people are for the suffering and loss you have endured.”

Biden added that “the American people also stand in awe of the way your countrymen respond to the way you respond personally — going on the Internet through, my guess is on Facebook — I’m not sure which vehicle you used — with a portable — or with a cellphone, telling your people to rise up, take back the street, do not let these terrorists, which is what they ended up being, steal their patronage, their — who they are.”

Erdoğan used Facetime during the coup attempt, filming from an unknown location, telling Turks to get into the streets and oppose the coup.

Erdoğan’s purge since the coup attempt has included basically any secular opponent to his Islamist government: more than 40,000 people have been rounded up, from soldiers to jurists to bankers and even teachers and a comedian. Human rights groups have charged that the rule of law has gone out the window as detainees have been kept in makeshift facilities without proper access to legal representation and suffering beatings, rapes and starvation. Erdoğan has also intensified his battle against the free press.

He has also demanded that the U.S. government extradite Fethullah Gülen, a onetime ally of Erdoğan turned opponent who lives in Saylorsburg, Pa.

A senior administration official told reporters this week that Turkey has filed four extradition requests, but none of the charges are coup-related.

“I personally, the president personally, the American people stand in awe of the courage of your people,” Biden gushed during the press conference. “And we understand, Mr. President, the sensitivities the Turkish people feel about international security. That’s why the United States is committed to doing everything we can to help bring justice for all those responsible for this coup attempt while adhering to the rule of law.”

On the extradition request, Biden said he knows “of no other case where as much time is being spent to make sure we find enough data to meet a court standing.”

“I suspect it’s hard for people to understand that as powerful as my country is, as powerful as Barack Obama is as president, he has no authority under our Constitution to extradite anyone. Only a federal court can do that. Nobody else can do that. If the president were to take this into his own hands, what would happen would be he would be impeached for violating the separation of powers,” he added.

Erdoğan said he and Biden “had the opportunity to discuss this failed coup at every extent possible,” once again calling Gülen’s progressive Islam movement a “terrorist organization” and stressing that Gülen “needs to be extradited to Turkey as soon as possible.”

He also demanded that U.S. authorities arrest and detain Gülen and his associates while considering the extradition request, and “I’m confident that the United States will take the necessary measures to cater to our expectations in that regard.”

Erdoğan also snapped at a reporter for using the term Islamic State during a question. “The Islamic State cannot be associated with terrorism. Daesh is a terrorist organization,” he said, using the pejorative Arabic acronym for ISIS. “They are terrorists. Islam is a derivative of the word ‘peace,’ or the prefix ‘peace’ stands for Islam, which is a derivative of Islam. A member of the Islamic faith can never engage in these massacres, in this carnage.”

Turkish naval officer serving in US requests political asylum

August 10, 2016

Turkish naval officer serving in U.S, requests political asylum, DEBKAfile, August 10, 2016

turk

Turkish Navy Rear Adm. Mustafa Ugurlu, an officer serving on behalf of NATO at a US military base in Norfolk, Virginia, has requested political asylum in the US. An arrest warrant has been issued in Turkey for Urgulu. The Turkish embassy in Washington has announced that Ugurlu did not report for questioning as requested. The asylum request is expected to strain relations between Washington and Ankara even further following Turkey’s demand for the extradition of opposition leader Fethullah Gulen, who is in exile in the US.

 

Turkey’s Erdogan to US General: ‘Know Your Place’

July 31, 2016

Turkey’s Erdogan to US General: ‘Know Your Place’, Clarion Project, William Reed, July 31, 2016

Turkey-Erdogan-Gulen-IP_0Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan (left) shown with his nemesis Fethullah Gulen, who he accuses of being behind the coup. (Photo: © Reuters)

The U.S. still maintains the false view that Turkey is absolutely necessary for the U.S. because Turkey provides an access to a land base to the Middle East.

They refuse to believe that the U.S. or the West can be just as effective without Turkey. The old anti Soviet fears are still there, and it seems that the U.S. will not budge from the opinion that the U.S. should support Turkey, no matter what Turkey does.

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U.S. Central Command Commander General Joseph Votel said on July 28 that a number of the U.S. military’s closest allies in the Turkish military have been placed in jail following the July 15 attempted coup.

“We’ve certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders, military leaders in particular,” General Votel said at the Aspen Security Forum meeting in Colorado. “I’m concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper also echoed General Votel’s statements.

The failed coup and the government’s backlash have “affected all segments of the national security apparatus in Turkey,” Clapper stated. “Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested.”

Referring to the U.S.’s Middle East strategy, Clapper added, “There’s no question that this is going to set back and make more difficult.”

On July 29, in a public statement in Ankara caught on video, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against Votel’s comments. “A human is supposed to feel embarrassed a little bit. How dare you make this decision?” he railed. “Who are you? First, you will know your place. You will know yourself. When you – in the name of democracy – need to thank this state that has repelled this coup attempt in my country, on the contrary, you side with coup plotters. After all, the coup plotter [Fethullah Gulen] is in your country. You are feeding the coup plotter in your country. This is obvious.”

Erdogan continued, “You can never convince my nation. My nation knows who is involved in this trick now. They very well know [through] such statements who is behind this act and who the mastermind is. You reveal yourselves with these statements. You expose yourselves. Turkey will not fall for these games.”

 

Turkey Crackdown after Failed Coup

Amnesty International has issued some statistics on the situation following the failed coup in Turkey:

  • 131 media outlets and publishing houses have been shut down including 3 news agencies, 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 journals and 29 publishing houses.
  • At least 89 arrest warrants were issued for journalists. More than 40 have been detained.
  • At least 260 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured amid the failed coup attempt in Istanbul and Ankara, according to government accounts.
  • More than 15,000 people have been detained since the failed coup.
  • More than 45,000 people have been suspended or removed from their jobs, including police, judges and prosecutors, and others.
  • More than 1,000 private schools and educational institutions have been closed and 138,000 school children will have to be transferred to state schools.
  • Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul have reportedly been holding detainees in stress positions for 48 hours. Detainees have been denied food, water and medical treatment, and been verbally abused and threatened. Some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.
  • No independent human rights monitors have been provided with access to detention facilities in Turkey after its National Human Rights Institution was abolished in April 2016.

In addition:

  • Turkey has also cancelled the passports of 50,000 people the Islamist government suspects of being dissidents.
  • 63 teenage boys aged 14-17 who attended a top military high school have been arrested and prevented from being in touch with their parents. A lawyer for the boys said that they were duped into coming to school the night of the coup after being promised they would be meeting famous soccer players. They were then given camouflage uniforms and guns with empty magazines.

 

“Traitors’ Cemetery”

A “Traitors’ Cemetery” has recently been created in Istanbul to hold the bodies of coup plotters who died in the failed coup attempt.

Government officials have branded people allegedly involved in the attempted coup as “traitors” and “terrorists” undeserving of a proper burial. Turkey’s state-funded Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) also issued a directive denying funeral prayers and services for them.

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas said: “May every passer-by curse them and let them not rest in their tombs.”

 

U.S.-Turkey Relations

The U.S. still maintains the false view that Turkey is absolutely necessary for the U.S. because Turkey provides an access to a land base to the Middle East.

They refuse to believe that the U.S. or the West can be just as effective without Turkey. The old anti Soviet fears are still there, and it seems that the U.S. will not budge from the opinion that the U.S. should support Turkey, no matter what Turkey does.

To many who hold this view, Turkish crimes are not important or relevant to the geopolitical considerations of the U.S. and its military goals.

Even Turkey’s documented facilitation of the Islamic State fighters through its territory or the rising dictatorship of  Erdogan have not change the Western considerations of support.

It seems that Turkey can slaughter its Kurds en-masse (which they have) or Turkey-supported terror groups can massacre Alevis and Christians in Iraq and Syria daily with no reaction from the U.S.

Turkey has seen that it has suffered no consequences for its invasion and occupation of Cyprus for decades.

With blessings from the West, Turkey has been able to devastate the Hellenic and Armenian cultural heritage of Anatolia, systematically attack and destroy historic churches and other Christian sites, ban the Alevi faith and the Kurdish language and oppress all non-Turkish cultures in a tyrannical manner.

Turkey is still allowed to deny, whitewash and even take pride in the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Tragically, it seems that what Western powers are mostly interested is to keep their monetary and other interests in Turkey for as long as it lasts.

And while that happens, the thousands of victims of Turkey’s brutality will lie in their graves or prison cells and be damned.

 

Turkey: Good News, Bad News

July 28, 2016

Turkey: Good News, Bad News, Gatestone InstituteBurak Bekdil, July 28, 2016

♦ Turkish prosecutors are investigating people who allege on social media that the coup attempt was in fact a hoax.

♦ In a massive purge, the government sacked more than 60,000 civil servants from the military, judiciary, police, schools and academia, including 1,577 faculty deans who were suspended. More than 10,000 people have been arrested and there are serious allegations of torture.

♦ Witnesses told Amnesty International that captured military officers were raped by police, hundreds of soldiers were beaten, some detainees were denied food and water and access to lawyers for days. Turkish authorities also arrested 62 children and accused them of treason.

♦ The good news is that the coup attempt failed and Turkey is not a third world dictatorship run by an unpredictable military general who loves to crush dissent. The bad news is that Turkey is run by an unpredictable, elected president who loves to crush dissent.

In 1853, John Russell quoted Tsar Nicholas I of Russia as saying that the Ottoman Empire was “a sick man — a very sick man,” in reference to the ailing empire’s fall into a state of decrepitude. Some 163 years after that, the modern Turkish state follows in the Ottoman steps.

Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rule, was staggering between a hybrid democracy and bitter authoritarianism. After the failed putsch of July 15, it is being dragged into worse darkness. The silly attempt gives Erdogan what he wanted: a pretext to go after every dissident Turk. A witch-hunt is badly shattering the democratic foundations of the country.

Taking advantage of the putsch attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency that will run for a period of three months, with an option to extend it for another quarter of a year. Erdogan, declaring the state of emergency, promised to “clean out the cancer viruses like metastasis” in the body called Turkey. With the move for a state of emergency, Turkey also suspended the European Convention on Human Rights, citing Article 15 of the Convention, which stipulates:

“In time of war or other public emergencies threatening the life of the nation, any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.”

Before July 15, civil liberties in Turkey were de facto in the deep freeze. Now they are de jure in the deep freeze.

On July 27, the Turkish military purged 1,684 officers, including 149 generals, on suspicion that they had links with Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who once was Erdogan’s staunchest political ally but is now his biggest nemesis and the suspected mastermind of the coup attempt. On the same day, the government closed down three news agencies, 16 television stations, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers on the same charges. Two days before those actions, warrants were issued for 42 journalists, as a part of an investigation against members of the “Fethullah [Gulen] terrorist organization.”

1726Turkish police escort dozens of handcuffed soldiers, who are accused of participating in the failed July 15 coup d’état. (Image source: Reuters video screenshot)

Under the state of emergency, it is dangerous in Turkey even to question whether July 15 was a fake coup orchestrated or tolerated by Erdogan for longer-term political gains. Turkish prosecutors are investigating people who allege on social media that the coup attempt was in fact a hoax. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that: “Anyone who suggests the coup attempt was staged ‘likely had a role’ in the insurrection.” But there is more.

In a massive purge, the government sacked more than 60,000 civil servants from the military, judiciary, police, schools and academia, including 1,577 faculty deans who were suspended. More than 10,000 people have been arrested, and there are serious allegations of torture. Witnesses told Amnesty International that captured military officers were raped by police, hundreds of soldiers were beaten, and some detainees were denied food, water and access to lawyers for days. Turkish authorities also arrested 62 children and accused them of treason. The youngsters, aged 14 to 17, were from Kuleli Military School in Istanbul. The students have reportedly been thrown in jail and are not allowed to speak to their parents.

The witch-hunt is not in the governmental sector only. Several Turkish companies have fired hundreds of personnel suspected of having links with Gulen. Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s national airline, fired 211 employees, including a vice-general manager and a number of cabin crew members.

Sadly, Turks had to choose between two unpleasant options: military dictatorship and elected dictatorship. The good news is that the coup attempt failed and Turkey is not a third-world dictatorship run by an unpredictable military general who loves to crush dissent. The bad news is that Turkey is run by an unpredictable, elected president who loves to crush dissent.