One year after the failed coup in Turkey, the situation in the country has worsened significantly and Erdogan has begun a transition from ”democracy” to dictatorship, backed by fanatical supporters willing to die for him.
Taking advantage of this situation, Erdogan has criminalized and jailed all critical voices by linking them to the coup and Fethullah Gülen’s movement, who is considered the coup’s mastermind by Erdogan.
To that end, Erdogan has detained 118,235 people, arrested 55,927, including 269 journalists, sacked 138,148 people, including some 4,424 judges and prosecutors, and around 9,000 teachers, and has also shut down 2,099 schools, dormitories, and universities, and 149 media outlets. The co-leaders of the second-largest opposition party in the Parliament are also in prison.
More recently, Erdogan has detained eight human rights defenders, Amnesty International’s Turkey Director Idil Eser and two international trainers on the absurd suspicion of being members of an ‘armed terrorist organization.’
In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt, Erdogan believed he would be able to keep Turkish society united behind his authoritarian project while directing a purge against the opposition and critics.
However, his authoritarian actions, like the rigged constitutional referendum to grant super powers to him in April, and the increasing repression against anyone who criticizes him have divided Turkish society to levels never seen before.
Numerous voices have arisen across the country stating that Erdogan could have directed last year ‘s failed coup attempt against himself to have a pretext to install a dictatorship, extend his mandate, and get rid of the most prominent opposition leaders who could have disputed his leadership of the country.
Erdogan administration has not yet proven the link between Gulen and the failed coup. And Erdogan’s claims that the coup was organized without his knowledge by hundreds of thousands of people during more than a decade is absurd.
Keeping a secret in a small group for years is hard, and it is impossible to do among hundreds of thousands of people, especially while Erdogan was leading the country and had many of his supporters infiltrated in all governmental institutions.
World precedents show that, at first stages, coup d’États are always organized by a small number of people until things are up and running and people see that the coup can succeed. This is then when a large number of people join the project.
Despite the fact that Erdogan is installing a dictatorship and jailing teachers, judges, and journalists on a regular basis, the Western world is still endorsing him and indirectly his actions.
Numerous European leaders have suggested that Merkel keep a “friendly” position with Erdogan due to the fact that the EU and Turkey have an agreement on immigration, which prevents thousands of immigrants and refugees from entering the EU annually. And Erdogan has suggested that he could break this pact, causing a flood of immigration in Europe.
Trump has also venerated and congratulated Erdogan for overweening superpowers in the constitutional referendum in April. Trump, who has also shown to be an authoritarian, speaks the same language as Erdogan. And unless this affects the US, he appears to be willing to allow Erdogan to install a dictatorship in Turkey.
With the endorsement of the Western world, this coming year will be harder than the previous one in Turkey. Erdogan will continue deploying his superpowers, repressing the Turks, firing thousands of teachers, judges, and will continue his purge against the opposition, human rights activists and the independent media.
Unless the international community led by Trump and Merkel take action to stop Erdogan’s authoritarian drift, hundreds of thousands of innocents will soon suffer the devastating consequences of Erdogan’s actions.
Although initially the US and the EU will not help the Turks reinstating democracy in Turkey, the firm determination of the Turkish opposition to challenge Erdogan and bring back democracy to the country will cause tensions, and if as predicted, Erdogan reacts by using force against millions of peaceful people, the US and the EU will have to decide then between allowing this to happen or intervening to return the power back to the Turkish people.
As usual, the future of the Turks will be in Western world’s hands, and perhaps, this time, they will not make the same mistakes made previously in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, by choosing to defend democrats instead of villains.