Update on the failed Turkish coup. Part 2 Erdogan’s purge is intensifying.
In part 1 of this series on the failed Turkish coup, I wrote about how Erdoğan is taking advantage of the failed coup attempt, which he called a “gift from God,” and is purging elements of the military, judiciary and law enforcement that are potentially against him, with 13,165 such individuals and others being detained.1 Erdoğan is also going after his archenemy Fethullah Gülen and wants him extradited from the US back to Turkey. As well it was noted that the attempted coup had minimal support from the people, military, media, political opposition and religious establishment. In fact all of these groups have supported Erdoğan as the legitimate democratically elected government of Turkey.
Since part 1 was posted about 1 week ago, the post coup situation in Turkey has intensified, with Erdoğan increasing the scope and magnitude of his purge. Military men involved in the coup, who call themselves the Peace in the Country Council (PCC), are being treated in humiliating fashion, being crammed in warehouses, bound and shirtless.2 Based on the appearance of displayed coup members it is evident that they have been tortured or at the least roughed up. Beyond appearances, it is now being reported by Amnesty International that they have credible evidence that prisoners are being poorly treated, tortured and some raped.3 Such reports of prisoner mistreatment are being corroborated by Turkish lawyers.4 As well, coup member who were killed will not be given proper funeral services by the Diyanet, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate.5
Having already focused on the military, law enforcement and judiciary–arresting and dismissing thousands–Erdoğan is now extending his focus to other sectors of Turkish society and to whoever’s loyalty he questions. The Education Ministry suspended 15,200 personnel over their alleged links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).6 In addition the licenses of 21,000 private teachers have been revoked. Academics are no longer allowed to travel outside of Turkey and the higher education council is demanding that 1,577 university deans resign.7 Government trustees have been appointed for 29 Turkish educational institutions, while 936 private schools have been closed due to their suspected links to FETÖ.8 Furthermore, for such suspected links, 15 private universities, 19 trade unions, 35 hospitals and 1,229 associations and foundations have also been closed.9
Numerous other ministries have had personnel suspended; 100 from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), 492, including 3 provincial muftis, from the Diyanet, 245 from the Ministry of Youth and Sports 245 personnel and 262 military judges and prosecutors from the Defense Ministry, 29 from the media watchdog Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), 102 from Manisa Celal Bayar University, 108 from the Courts of Accounts and 5,000 from the Ministry of Health.10 Even Erdoğan’s own presidential guard unit has been disbanded and 283 of its members have been arrested.11 There is also talk by the Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu of purging the diplomatic corps of Gülenists, including ambassadors, and changing the diplomatic entrance examination so as to not favor the selection of Gülenists, which apparently the current testing protocols do.12
Unsurprisingly, Erdoğan is also targeting the media. The offices of Meydan daily were raided by police and the Editor-in-Chief and the Managing Editor were arrested, although they have been subsequently released.13 The daily was raided due to accusations of “spreading terrorism propaganda” due to publishing an article in which they theorized that the government could be behind the coup and for publishing a large picture of Gülen. The Editor-in-Chief of the Haberdar news portal had his house raided for unspecified reasons.14 The satirical weekly Leman has been court ordered to halt publishing of its latest issue due to its cover which some have claimed supports the failed coup attempt.15 Individual journalists are also being targeted with detention warrants having been issued for 42 Turkish journalists with supposed links to FETÖ.16 As well, numerous websites are being blocked by the Turkish government, such as wikileaks, archive.org and various Turkish news sites including Leman and Haberdar.17
The Turkish corporate and financial world is also under threat. Bank Asya, an Islamic lending institution, has had its banking license revoked by Turkish regulators due to past links to Gülen.18 Turkish Custom and Trade Minister Bülent Tüfenkci warned that “Companies that sponsor the Fethullah Terrorist Organization and provide financial resources to it will be identified one by one. Investigations will be opened into them and they will be closed, or necessary procedures will be applied against them.”19 Interestingly, Turkish corporations, such as Turkish Airlines, AnadoluJet and Türk Telekom, have fired hundreds of employees due to possible connections with Gülen.20
Ordinary citizens are also being jailed as 2 people were arrested for praising the FETÖ and insulting Erdoğan on social media.21 Furthermore, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ warned people who are accussing the government of staging the attempted coup, “Just look at the people who are saying on social media that this was a theater. Public prosecutors are already investigating them. Most of them are losers who think it is honorable to die at Fethullah Gülen’s command.”22 I guess that people who are critical of suspicious circumstances are losers now.
There is also increased tensions between Erdoğan supporters and minority groups who are seen as having questionable loyalty. In Malatya province AKP supporters were marching through Alevi neighborhoods shouting “The AKP supporters are here. Where are the Alevis?” insinuating the latter’s lack of support for Erdoğan.23 Also in Malatya a church was vandalized as was another in Trabzon.24
It is clear that Erdoğan is targeting all institutions and aspects of Turkish society, under the pretext, justified or not, of connections with the subversive FETÖ, with the intention to eliminate anyone who could provide resistance to his political machinations. Already over 13,000 have been detained, many of which have been humiliated, mistreated and tortured, and over 40,000 suspended or fired from their jobs. To think that a coup which had minimal support would have this many people actually associated with it seems to me as unlikely. Instead, it is safe to assume that the majority of these people are not truly associated with the coup, but are merely opponents of the current government and as such Erdoğan wants to get rid of them and replace them with sycophantic supporters.
As alarming as all these developments are, possibly the most troubling have been the talk of reinstating the death penalty and the implementation of a three month long state of emergency throughout Turkey. When it became certain that the coup had been effectively thwarted, the first thing that popped into my head was that those who were involved in the coup would be the object of Erdoğan’s wrath. However, the most that could be done to the coup plotters would be life imprisonment, as Turkey currently does not employ capital punishment. But, with Erdoğan aspiring to be a sultan, for him to be a potentate worthy of his desired title, he must be able to wield the power of life and death, especially over those who have threatened him or his power.
So right on cue, there is now talk in Turkey on reinstating the death penalty to punish those involved in the attempted coup and to dissuade others in the future from attempting a similar act. Speaking on the issue Prime Minister Benali Yildirim said, “People are chanting for ‘capital punishment’ on the streets. Turkey is a state of law. Our citizens’ demand is an order for us. But it wouldn’t be right to act hastily when the matter is still hot. Our parliament will consider the issue. We will act in line with public’s opinion.”25 Erdoğan stressing that the decision to reinstitute the death penalty was up to the people, nonetheless declared, “We cannot delay this anymore because in this country, those who launch a coup will have to pay the price for it.”
To further buttress his argument Erdoğan claimed, “The people on the streets have made that request. The people have the opinion that these terrorists should be killed … Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come, that’s what the people say.”26 Maybe one could argue that those who militarily attempt to usurp a democratically elected government should be punished with death, based on what we know of Erdoğan’s personality, it seems to me highly unlikely that he will employ the death penalty only against the coup plotters. Instead anyone who opposes him will be liable to be executed, possibly summarily.
On July 20 a 3 month long nationwide state of emergency has been declared in Turkey, which according to Erdoğan is needed “in order to eliminate the terror organization which attempted to make a coup, swiftly and completely.”27 He also reassured Turks that “Restrictions on rights and liberties during the state of emergency are not in question. There is no such thing. We guarantee it.” However, during the state of emergency the adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights will be suspended.28 Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş stated that such actions were not particularly extraordinary as France had previously, in response to the Paris attacks, taken similar actions. Erdoğan gave further reassurances when he stated “We have never made compromises on democracy. And we will never make them.”29 So maybe nothing overly nefarious will spring from the declared state of emergency in Turkey, but I highly doubt that.
It is becoming increasingly evident that the failed attempted coup has provided Erdoğan with the appropriate justification to utilize these ‘emergency’ conditions to further his aims and deal with his political opponents. And while many in Turkey are supporting Erdoğan as the legitimate democratically elected government of Turkey, what they are slow to realize is that the actions Erdoğan is undertaking will erode and eventually destroy Turkish democracy.
 https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/21/trustees-appointed-yamanlar-college-part-ongoing-govt-crackdown-turkey/ , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/trustees-appointed-to-allegedly-gulen-affiliated-education-institutions.aspx?pageID=517&nID=101951&NewsCatID=509
 https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/19/religious-affairs-directorate-suspends-492-personnel-alleged-links-turkey-coup-attempt/ , https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/20/turkish-sports-ministry-suspends-245-personnel-alleged-links-coup-attempt/ , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-defense-ministry-suspends-262-military-judges-and-prosecutors-as-full-investigation-launched.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101872&NewsCatID=509 , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/suspensions-detentions-arrests-continue-after-coup-attempt-in-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=101913&NewsCatID=341 , https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/21/102-personnel-suspended-manisa-celal-bayar-university-failed-coup-attempt/ , https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/22/turkish-court-accounts-dismisses-108-alleged-links-failed-coup-attempt/ , https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/25/health-ministry-suspends-5000-personnel-allegedly-linked-attempted-coup/
 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/top-turkish-diplomat-vows-to-clean-foreign-ministry-of-gulenist-diplomats.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102011&NewsCatID=341 , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/foreign-ministry-to-dismiss-ambassador-level-diplomats-over-gulen-links-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102047&NewsCatID=510
 https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/20/police-raid-meydan-daily-arrest-editor-chief-following-coup-attempt/ , https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/07/21/meydan-daily-editor-chief-managing-editor-released/
 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-25/turkey-launches-investigation-losers-who-claim-coup-was-hoax , http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-investigating-people-who-say-coup-attempt-was-a-hoax.aspx?pageID=238&nID=102055&NewsCatID=338