Erdogan has Erred Again
Kevin P Clements
Military Coups challenge the rule of law and basic democratic rights. But Counter Coups (especially those led by someone as ruthless and oppressive as Erdogan) are often more damaging because they generate states of emergency ( which often last a long time) and justify higher levels of state repression than the original coup. This seems to have been the case in Turkey over the past three days. Erdogan had already undermined Turkish democracy before the coup by repressing and bullying his political opponents and endeavouring to eliminate Kurdish opposition violently.
But it looks as though he has taken his “normal” repressive tactics to even higher limits with his most recent moves. Some 60,000 bureaucrats, soldiers, policemen, prosecutors and academic staff have come under the government’s spotlight, many of them facing detention or suspension over alleged links to the Gülenist movement and the coup plotters.
On the 21st July his government then imposed a work travel ban on academics and called Turkish academics abroad back to Turkey. All 1,577 deans of public and private universities in Turkey submitted their resignations at the government’s urging. This came after 20,000 teachers and administrators were suspended from their jobs as a result of the coup, along with 6,000 soldiers and more than 2,700 judges and prosecutors, and dozens of senior generals accused of involvement in the coup.
The scale of the crackdown is unprecedented and Turkey , under Erdogan , is rapidly losing any right to become a member of the European Union and is forfeiting its claim to be a democracy.
In addition to trying to close down academic and official dissent, Erdogan and his followers wish to reintroduce the death penalty so that many political opponents can be eliminated permanently.
All of these actions are creating ripe conditions for either a civil war in Turkey or an opening for the conflicts in Syria and Iraq to spill over the borders. These are extremely dangerous times and the global community must urge prudence ; the reactivation and reopening of Universities and Schools; the independence of the Turkish Judiciary and the reopening of space for legitimate dissent. If these things don’t happen soon our worst Turkish nightmares might become a reality.