Posted by Curt on 18 July, 2016 at 11:09 am. Be the first to comment!


Michael Rubin:

Turkey is entering an extraordinarily difficult period. Whoever was responsible for last Friday’s coup attempt—Gülenists, Kemalists, or Erdoğan himself—the end result is clear: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan believes he has carte blanche to target all critics. He has already arrested not only military officers but several thousand others with lists compiled before the coup ever happened. Foreshadowing that this purge is different from all others in which he engaged, he has also suggested that it is time to re-establish the death penalty. He has also sacked thousands of judges, including reportedly a couple on the top constitutional court. The judiciary has long been subservient to Erdoğan, but it did not offer him blind support. With the latest personnel changes, it will. Turkey is now an authoritarian dictatorship.

Turkish society, however, remains deeply divided. Erdoğan has never won more than 50 percent of the vote in any election. The crackdown might suppress opposition, but it will not eliminate it. When the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) first took the political stage, it distinguished itself by trying to govern on behalf of all Turks (or, at least Sunni Turks).  Erdoğan has long since abandoned any effort to win hearts and minds. Just as Erdoğan and the AKP retrenched, so, too, will Kemalists and other opponents to Erdoğan’s religious vision. With no democratic recourse to hold the government accountable and with both personal and political grievances multiplying as pro- Erdoğan street gangs rampage through the streets. As families of the victims of Erdoğan’s purges seek revenge, it is entirely conceivable that Turkey will enter a cycle of assassinations and attempts.

Erdoğan now seeks to rule for life, so some Turks might seek to make that as short as possible. Opposition leaders are just as vulnerable.

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