Erdogan dictatorship in wake of coup attempt?

In the wake of the July 15 attempted coup in Turkey, 265 are dead, 1,440 wounded and 2,839 soldiers detained, by official figures. Members of military brass are among the arrested. Also taken into custody are 2,745 judges and prosecutors—including two members of the Constitutional Court. (Jurist, BIANet, NYTBIANet) A security lockdown is in place at Incirlik air base, shutting down US sorties against ISIS that routinely fly from the base. (World Bulletin, NYT) Tensions with Washington may also be enflamed by President Erdogan call for the US to extradite "terrorist leader and coup plotter" Fethullah Gülen (who is almost certainly a scapegoat). (Daily Sabah)

Washington has already been placed in an uncomfortable position by Erdogan's connivance with jihadists in Syria (including ISIS). Erdogan, in turn, is aghast at US support for the Kurdish anti-ISIS forces. Yet Erdogan and Obama still need each other, and the White House has turned a blind eye to the consolidating dictatorship in Turkey. Erdogan's final stroke in his effort to establish an autocracy is his proposed constitutional change that would expand executive powers. With the purge of his enemies now underway, he may soon get that. Which will heighten the contradictions for Washington—no matter who is president next year.

  1. Erdogan dictatorship consolidates

    Erdogan has declared a state of emergency for at least the next three months, with the European Convention on Human Rights formally suspended. More than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs in the wake of the failed coup. The purge has widened to include teachers, university deans and the media. (BBC News, BBC News, Turkish Minute) Interestingly, among those arrested are the two pilots who shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border in November. (Turkish Minute)

    On July 20, Turkish armed forces resumed air-strikes against PKK targets in the southeast—and across the border in northern Iraq. (InfoBae)

    A commentary on Politico calls the coup attempt Erdogan’s "Reichstag fire."

  2. Erdogan dictatorship further consolidates

    President Tayyip Erdogan ordered the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions on July 23. A total of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities, and 35 medical institutions will be closed. Mr. Gulen operates some schools and charitable foundations in the country. One foundation targeted  is "a secular group that criticized a recent judicial law drafted by Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK party," the Association of Judges and Prosecutors. (Jurist)

  3. Erdogan dictatorship further consolidates

    Amnesty International says it has received credible evidence of detainees in Turkey being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, since last week's failed coup attempt. "It is absolutely imperative that the Turkish authorities halt these abhorrent practices and allow international monitors to visit all these detainees in the places they are being held," said Amnesty's Europe director John Dalhuisen in a statement.

    Erdogan has extended the maximum period of detention for suspects from four days to 30, a move Amnesty said increased the risk of torture or other maltreatment of detainees.

    This news comes after tens of thousands of supporters of Turkey's ruling and opposition parties rallied together in support of democracy. Repudiation of golpistas is fine, but we hope the opposition will not now cut Erdogan any slack as he moves to consolidate his dictatorship….

  4. And Erdogan dictatorship yet further consolidates

    Amnesty International condemned Turkey's decision to issue arrest warrants for 42 journalists following the recent coup attempt. AI's Deputy Director for Europe, Gauri van Gulik, claimed that "by rounding up journalists" the government "is failing to make a distinction between criminal acts and legitimate criticism." (Jurist)

  5. And Erdogan dictatorship yet further consolidates

    Turkish authorities have announced the closure of dozens of media organizations, as a crackdown continues following the failed coup. Three news agencies, 16 TV channels, 45 papers and 15 magazines will be shut. Separately, nearly 1,700 members of the armed forces—including 149 generals and admirals—have been discharged. (BBC News)

  6. And Erdogan dictatorship yet further consolidates

    Arrest warrants were issued this week for 89 journalists, at least 40 of whom have now been detained, and 17 formally charged with "membership in a terrorist organization." Some of those arrested used to work for the Zaman newspaper, which supposedly has links to the Hizmet movement of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. The Turkish government has used a state of emergency law to order the closure of at least 131 newspapers, TV and radio stations, publishers and news agencies. (The Guardian)

  7. Turkey: blasts target police, soldiers

    At least 12 people have been killed and 219 wounded in three bomb attacks in Turkey's southeast. Blasts at police stations in Van and Elazig killed four police officers and two civilians. Five soldiers and a village guard died when their vehicle was targeted in Bitlis province.Turkish officials blamed the Kurdish militant group, the PKK, for the attacks, which took place outside Kurdish majority areas in the region. "Our fight against terror will never cease," said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (BBC News)

  8. And Erdogan dictatorship yet further consolidates

    Turkey is ordering the conditional release of some 38,000 prisoners to free up space for the thousands of people arrested in the aftermath of last month's failed coup. The state-run Anadolu Agency reports that the justice minister said the order "excludes people convicted of murder, domestic violence, sexual abuse, or crimes against the state." (NPR)

  9. Turkey: suicide blast targets Kurdish wedding

    At least 50 are dead after a suicide bomber targeted a wedding in the southern Turkish town of Gaziantep. Erdogan couldn't very well blame this one on the PKK, as it was a Kurdish weddeing that was blown up, and the victims overwhelmingly Kurds. But he still exploited it for anti-PKK propanada. In a statement to the media, Erdogan said there is "no difference" between ISIS, the PKK, and followers of Fethullah Gulen. (BBC News)

    1. Gaziantep attack politically targetted?

      It emerges that the targetted wedding party was for a prominent member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), although the bride and groom both survived with minor injuries. The attack is said to have been carried out in retaliation for Kurdish advances against ISIS in Syria. In Erdogan's ongoing propaganda exploitation of the terror, he is now calling the (non-existent) "Gulenist Terror Group" (FETO) part of his perceived threat. (Daily Sabah, Daily Mail)

  10. Turkey: Cizre blast targets police

    A car bomb at a checkpoint in Cizre has killed 11 police officers and injured some 80, with the PKK reportedly taking responsibiity. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim vowed to give the "vile attackers the answer they deserve." Cizre has often been under curfew since last July when a two-year ceasefire with the PKK collapsed. (BBC News)

  11. Turkey: 32,000 arrested in wake of coup attempt

    Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on Sept. 28 said that approximately 32,000 people have been arrested in relation to the recent coup attempt, and 70,000 have been questioned. Bozdag indicated the country will have to build more courts in order to try those accused in the coup attempt. Construction has already begun on a new courthouse near Ankara. The Justice Minister also claimed that the US is expected to cooperate with the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen. (Jurist, Sept. 29)

  12. Post-coup purge continues in Turkey

    According to a news report Oct. 30, Turkey's government has dismissed 10,000 additional civil servants and closed 15 more media outlets for their supposed connection with US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen, accused of orchestrating the attempted coup in July. These most recent sacks mean that over 100,000 people have been fired or suspended and 37,000 in the country's crackdown. Opposition parties have called President Erdogan's use of emergency rule a "direct coup against rule of law and democracy." In addition to the firings, universities may no longer select their own heads, as Erdogan will now directly appoint candidates nominated by the High Educational Board. (Jurist)

  13. Turkish officials detain 13 journalists

    Officials in Turkey on Oct. 31 detained and searched the homes of 13 reporters alleging that, during the failed coup attempt in Turkey, they published stories seeking to "legitimize" those participating in the coup. Among those detained was Murat Sabuncu, editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, an opposition magazine. Cumhuriyet, in conjunction with other news organizations, released a statement of support for the journalists calling the detentions "persecution" and iasserting "journalism is not a crime." (Jurist)

  14. Turkey: 90,000 public servants dismissed in post-coup purge

    Turkish Labour Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu said Jan. 31 that authorities have dismissed more than 90,000 public servants for alleged links to a coup attempt in July. Critics say the purge is targeted to any political opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. After the coup attempt 125,485 public servants were put through legal proceedings and 94,867 have already been dismissed as a result. Some 40,000 of those were from the judiciary, the police, the military, the civil service and the education system. The purge is being carried on an emergency rule that allows the government to bypass parliament to enact new laws and limit rights and freedoms when necessary. Several rights groups are concerned that Erdoğan is abusing the emergency rule to silence dissenters. (Jurist)