Turkey’s descent

The news coming out of Turkey now is as bad as can be.  Anne Appelbaum was on The World Tonight comparing the situation to a Bolshevik purge, when Lenin would keep a list of “future enemies” to be liquidated when the time was ripe – in this case secularists and Kemalists.

In the latest developments on Tuesday, the government fired more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry, sacked 257 officials at the prime minister’s office and 492 clerics at the directorate for religious affairs. Additionally, more than 1,500 university deans were asked to resign.

It followed the firing of nearly 8,800 policemen, and the arrests of 6,000 soldiers, 2,700 judges and prosecutors, dozens of governors, and more than 100 generals – or just under one-third of the general corps.

Some 20 news websites critical of the government have also been blocked.

According to a poll published in the Financial Times, one third of the Turkish population believe Erdogan was behind the coup.

Wikileaks is going to release 800,000 secret documents including 300,000 emails from the AKP up to 7 July.  That may throw some light on the events of last Friday though that it will do much for Erdogan’s paranoia.  I wonder if he will attempt the full Putin and make Assange glad of his shelter in the Ecuadorean embassy.


Tensions between Turkey and Washington explored here.

Gulen’s lawful permanent residency in Pennsylvania has been a thorn in the side of Turkish-US relations for some time, with Ankara demanding his extradition and Washington refusing in the absence of a formal application and of evidence implicating Gulen.

US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed after the coup attempt that Ankara has not lodged such a formal application, despite countless calls by the Turkish government for him to be expelled to Turkey. A Western diplomat in Ankara, who requested anonymity, told Al-Monitor, “Erdogan is behaving like a vengeful sultan by demanding Gulen be sent to him in chains with no regard to international law on extraditions.”

Erdogan — blinded by anger after news that the perpetrators of the coup had sent a team to the resort town of Marmaris, where he had been on holiday, to allegedly kill him — is in no mood to accept legalistic arguments regarding Gulen’s extradition. He and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim repeated calls to Washington after the failed coup, using language that suggested the matter will determine the future of Turkish-US ties.

Addressing supporters in Istanbul July 16, Erdogan railed, “I call on the United States and President Barack Obama: Dear Mr. President, I told you this before, either arrest Fethullah Gulen or return him to Turkey. You didn’t listen.” He continued, “Now after this coup attempt I call on you again. Hand over the person in Pennsylvania to Turkey.”

Arguing that Turkey had extradited every terrorist suspect Washington requested, Erdogan said the United States should behave similarly if it considered Turkey a strategic ally. Yildirim was more direct in a July 18 statement, asserting the Gulen issue would be the test of Washington’s friendship. “Any country that stands behind Fethullah Gulen is not our friend,” Yildirim said.