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Lunacy and Bloodbath in Turkey, By Owei Lakemfa

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The attempted coup  against  President Recep Tayyip  Erdogan  in Turkey on July 15, 2016 did not come as a surprise. The surprise expressed by some Western countries – who have first hand information about the state of affairs in that country – is hypocritical. They know that Erdogan is  a fascist dictator who has turned Turkey into a police state where basic freedom is restricted or denied. They are aware that all institutions in that country including the judiciary and  legislature exist to execute the dictates of one man who has wrecked institutions like the military and promoted religious extremism.

When the populace dared to peacefully  protest in June 2013, they were crushed.  Last year, protests at the Takskim Square over the decision to demolish a green park, was brutally suppressed. Despite this, Erdogan chided the police for not being brutal enough.

The Turkish ‘Sultan’ also  crushed  press freedom;  journalists  were jailed for critical reports, foreign correspondents routinely expelled with  Erdogan  vowing to wipe out Twitter. He is so intolerant that when some weeks ago, a German satirized him, the Turkish government officially demanded that the German government must punish its national. Now, using the pretext of the attempted coup, he has withdrawn the operating licenses of over two dozen television and radio stations.

Turkey is officially, a secular country and it was the general acceptance of the populace that religious extremism and parties will not be allowed.  Erdogan has systematically began to reverse that secularism and the rules.  The ban on the wearing of headscarves in public institutions has been lifted, religious extremism, encouraged, and when elements in the country  began to grumble about the country’s drift, he clamped down  on them  jailing for life, 17  mainly senior military officers.

Which observer of international affairs does not know that one of the main backers of the Islamic State (ISIS) is Erdogan? Which does not know that Turkey, until some months ago, allowed ISIS and its supporters across the world, free access to Syria through its airport and borders?

After ISIS seized large swathes  of Iraq and Syria declaring them a Caliphate, the most effective fighting forces against them outside the Syrian military, were the minority Kurds under the Peshmerga. Erdogan picked that period to militarily attack the Kurds in and outside Turkey. Obviously, this was to  divert the attention of  the Kurds fighting ISIS. Russia supports the Syrian government  fight against ISIS; when it bombed the terrorist camps near the Turkish border,  the Turks brought down one of the Russian Sukhov , SU-24 attack aircraft claiming it strayed into its airspace, for  what the pro-Turkish  Americans claimed was as long as seventeen seconds! Had the Russians retaliated, the world might have been pushed into a global war.

The security situation has  deteriorated so much that bombs are being planted in parts of the country including the airport. This  is likely to worsen with the regime accepting money from the European Union to receive and detain  immigrants forced out of European countries.

With Erdogan in power, democracy in Turkey has been on forced leave. With  no human rights, freedom of speech in shackles,  peaceful protests violently suppressed as if it were treason and democratic institutions including the legislature and judiciary in Erdogan’s pocket, peaceful, democratic or electoral means of changing government has almost become impossible. Admittedly, the attempted coup was bloody  with 294 persons killed; it appeared like a desperate suicide mission.It seems the coup plotters had come to the conclusion that the Erdogan regime is like a tree whose branches cannot be trimmed or  trunk cut, leaving its stump; that the only solution is to uproot it.

Expectedly, the reaction of the regime to the coup attempt is like a lunatic gone berserk; within four days, it has investigated and found some 60,000 Turks guilty of conspiracy, and fired them from their jobs. These include 21,000 teachers in private schools, 15,000 staff of the Education Ministry,  2,745 judges, 9,000 policemen, 8,777 from the Interior Ministry,  1,500 staff of Finance Ministry,  257 from the Prime Minister’s Office,  399 in the Social Ministry, 100 from the intelligence agency and  492 from the Ministry of  Religious Affairs. The regime has also demanded the immediate resignation of 1,577 Deans of private universities.  These are apart from  the over 7,500 military, police and security men detained. A coup is essentially a conspiracy not a rally; how come the regime is accusing some 70,000 people of conspiracy to plan a coup, yet it was unable to detect it? To show that  the mental state of the regime has  badly deteriorated,  the government  which employs 75,000 imams in mosques across the country, has instructed  that those suspected of being part of the coup should not be allowed a religious burial! Clearly, Erdogan wants not just a conquered country, but also one of illiterates.

While turning a blind eye to the on-going bloody purge, American President Barack Obama is reported to have spoken  with Erdogan and “urged that the investigations and prosecution of the coup’s perpetrators be conducted in ways that reinforce public confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law.”  Is he serious when within four days of the coup attempt, over 60,000 people have been investigated,  found guilty and sacked from employment? How can he be talking   about due process when what is demanded is for Erdogan – who described the suspects as “virus”-  to be called to order?

Erdogan was part of  the Virtue Party which was deemed religious and banned.  He and a group from the banned party established the  Justice and Development Party, the AKP, a supposedly secular party which won the 2000 elections with him becoming Prime Minister. After a dozen years in power, rather than leave, he transformed himself to the ceremonial President, transferred executive power from the Prime Minister to the President and built himself a $650 million presidential mansion.

Erdogan has vowed to reintroduce the death penalty and make it retroactive to be able to execute the alleged plotters. The situation Turks have found themselves, is tragic and more political violence is not unlikely including other coup and assassination plots. The Erdogan regime  is a malignant tumor  in the body polity of Western democracy; the West treating it like skin rashes rather than the leprosy , is  being myopic.


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