Aftermath of Turkey coup attempt will be bloody and repressive
Saturday 16 July 2016 17.27 BST
Mob rule will shape country’s politics as attacks on anyone seen to oppose Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party continue
The attempted military coup in Turkey on Friday sent shockwaves through the country and international community. Aimed at toppling Turkey’s strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development party (AKP), the failed uprising threw a spotlight on a deeply divided country embroiled in war at home and abroad.
Turkey is no stranger to military coups, it has undergone four since 1960. Its powerful military has historically regarded itself as the protector of the modern Turkish state and the vision of its founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It has also devoted itself to Atatürk’s nationalistic and secularist vision, as well as bringing order to the country. The constitutional, historical and cultural basis for its actions has generated resentment and hostility. The army has often abused its powers and has a history of repression and human rights abuses.
When Erdoğan came to power in 2002, one of his immediate priorities was to counter the military. He pursued closer ties with the EU and sought to expand his influence within the country’s institutions. In 2008, the military was severely weakened by Erdoğan in what became known as the Ergenekon affair, a series of trials in which military officers, journalists and politicians were accused of forming a clandestine organisation that plotted against the civilian government. It resulted in prison sentences for senior military members and weakened, if not ended, the military’s capacity to conduct coups as it had done in the past.
In other words, Erdoğan set himself up for another clash with the military, but few expected it to come so soon or in the form of an attempted coup. The most astonishing thing about Friday’s events was that the coup was even contemplated by military factions, given Erdoğan’s grip on the country. Friday’s coup attempt was by far Turkey’s least effective. The military did not control the media and lacked sufficient support both within its ranks and on the streets. It also signified that Erdoğan’s divide-and-rule policies have worked; that he has tamed Turkey’s once-feared military.
However, it should not have been surprising that a move to oust Erdoğan has occurred. In recent years, Erdoğan has alienated rivals and exacerbated Turkey’s instability for his personal gain. He has exploited ethnic and sectarian tensions, restarted a domestic war with the Kurds and sought to divide the population to garner greater constitutional powers. Erdogan’s dangerous games has brought levels of violence and instability not seen in Turkey for decades.
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.
domingo, 17 de julho de 2016
Fethullah Gülen: Turkey coup may have been 'staged' by Erdoğan regime
Fethullah Gülen: Turkey coup may have been 'staged' by Erdoğan regime
Cleric speaks to reporters including Guardian at Pennsylvania compound
Kerry: Turkey should present ‘evidence’ to back any extradition request
Pentagon loses airspace access crucial in airstrikes against Isis targets
Opinion: Turkey was already undergoing a coup – by Erdoğan
Amana Fontanella-Khan in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania
Saturday 16 July 2016 21.00 BST
Fethullah Gülen, the reclusive cleric blamed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the failed coup in Turkey, has said the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.
In a rare and brief interview on Saturday with a small group of journalists at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, Gülen rejected all accusations that he was behind the coup attempt.
“I don’t believe that the world believes the accusations made by President Erdoğan,” Gülen said. “There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup and it could be meant for further accusations [against the Gülenists].”
Gülen, who leads from exile a popular movement called Hizmet and split from Erdoğan over a corruption scandal in 2013, spoke in a small prayer room, lined with woven rugs and decorated with Islamic calligraphy and leather-bound religious books. Reporters were served Turkish tea and sweet dry figs at his Pennsylvania compound, which he moved into after arriving in the US in 1999.
He said he rejected all military interventions, and said he had personally suffered after the coups of the 1990s.
“After military coups in Turkey,” he said, “I have been pressured and I have been imprisoned. I have been tried and faced various forms of harassment.”
He added: “Now that Turkey is on the path to democracy, it cannot turn back.”
Asked by the Guardian whether he would have returned to Turkey had the coup been successful, Gülen said: “Indeed, I miss my homeland a lot. But there is another important factor, which is freedom. I am here, away from the political troubles in Turkey and I live with my freedom.”
Speaking in public in Istanbul on Saturday, Erdoğan called on Barack Obama to arrest Gülen and deport him to Turkey. Turkey had never turned back any extradition request for “terrorists” by its US ally, Erdoğan said, adding: “I say if we are strategic partners then you should bring about our request.”
No official extradition request had been made, according to the US secretary of state, John Kerry, who spoke to reporters in Luxembourg. “We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr Gülen,” he said.
“And obviously we would invite the government of Turkey, as we always do, to present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny. And the United States will accept that and look at it and make judgments about it appropriately.”
The last time the reclusive leader spoke live to international press was in 2014. He rarely leaves the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center complex, where his movement offers religious instruction, and he is in fragile health. Before the interview on Saturday he was attended to by a stethoscope-carrying physician, who measured his blood pressure.
Turkey coup attempt: Erdoğan demands US arrest exiled cleric Gülen amid crackdown on army – as it happened
The sprawling compound, nestled in Pennsylvania’s Poconos region, does not seem like the lair of a conspirator. Gülen lives in a small room in a two-storey brick prayer hall, where visitors come for worship and instruction. A panoramic photograph of Istanbul covers the length of one wall.
Down a corridor lies a small bedrooom, shown to reporters, that suggests a spartan life: a single futon is flanked by small shelves displaying framed Arabic calligraphy, an alarm clock and prayer beads. Over a small wooden desk is a shelf that holds books with titles like Imploring Heart and Renewing Islam By Service, as well as a collection of bottled perfumes.
Opposite the bedroom, a small “fitness” room features a treadmill and a reclinable medical bed with a monitor attached.
Outside, past a guardhouse that is manned around the clock, a winding asphalt road passes landscaped gardens and large residential homes. Signs in English and Turkish advise where cars must not park.
Alp Aslandogan, media adviser to Gülen and executive director of Alliance for Shared Values, the US arm of the Hizmet movement, said security was on “high alert” following threats of violence on social media.
Near the compound, a small protest had gathered, with a dozen Turkish Americans waving large Turkish flags.
“You are with him; we don’t want to speak to you,” said one man, who did not want to be named, adding: “This is a second Bin Laden in the making and America is protecting him.”
A woman was waving a flag with Erdoğan’s picture on it. She said: “Senators are getting money from him.”
Before reporters entered on Saturday, they were instructed not to photograph the faces of people living in the compound.
“They and their families might face retaliation in Turkey if they are identified,” Aslandogan said.
Regarding Erdoğan’s calls for extradition, Aslandogan said: “The US government position has always been that if there is any evidence of Mr Gülen breaking the laws, they will look into it. So far, the Turkish government hasn’t produced anything. Thank God, this is a country of laws, and we depend on that.”
Elaborating on the idea that Erdoğan may have staged the coup attempt, Aslandogan said Friday’s events did not match the pattern of previous coups.
“The coup appears to be poorly planned,” he said, “very poorly executed and everything seems to be playing into Erdoğan’s hands. There are many big question marks of how [this attempted coup] was executed.”
Supporters of Gülen expressed frustration over the accusations against the leader.
“This is a usual conspiracy against Gülen,” said Harun Gultki, who volunteers at the center and lives in a nearby town.