Monday, 18 July 2016

Turkey Aftermath

It was not much of a coup. The death toll currently stands at 290, according to Turkish officials. Unfortunately for those 290 it was the end.

More than 6,000 people, including senior military officials, have been arrested in the aftermath of the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who promised to “cleanse the virus from all state institutions.” Another phrase he used which sent a chill up the spine of any western liberal was "a gift from God" while referring to the coup. We really do not have any idea what this man is capable of in the future.

The old Turkey’s story is well known: Secularists ran the state and the military which intervened from time to time to cut the religious conservative majority down to size when it gained too much electoral power.

The new Turkey story is about to begin although it probably started back in 2002 when Erdoğan came to power. In the last 12 to 24 months Erdoğan has been clamping down on media based targets to the point where there is only state run media today and most of the free media has disappeared. I find it rather difficult to expect democracy to flourish under these conditions.

As with many coups around the world, the aftermath will be bloody and repressive. It will be rule of the mob, rather than rule of law that will shape Turkish politics and society. More than 1,000 members of the military have been arrested and more than 2,000 judges have been laid off. Pro-government mobs have brutally attacked anyone they perceive as being anti-Erdoğan or anti-government. Darker days lie ahead for Turkey and an awful lot of people will want a better life in the UK now.

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