17 July 2016

The Coup Fizzles, and Things in Turkey got Worse

Now the coup has been put down, the crackdown on innocent members of the opposition begins:
Turkey widened a crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup on Sunday, taking the number of people rounded up in the armed forces and judiciary to 6,000, and the government said it was in control of the country and economy.

President Tayyip Erdogan and the government accused the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whom Erdogan accuses of trying to create a "parallel structure" within the courts, police, armed forces and media, of orchestrating the coup.

Erdogan's supporters of gathered in front of his Istanbul home to call for the plotters to face the death penalty, which Turkey outlawed in 2004 as part of its efforts to join the European Union.


With expectations growing of a heavy clampdown on dissent, European politicians warned Erdogan the coup attempt did not give him a blank cheque to disregard the rule of law, and that he risked isolating himself internationally as he strengthens his position at home.

Broadcaster NTV cited Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying more arrests were expected.

By Sunday evening, authorities had rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters, ranging from top commanders to foot soldiers, and the same number of judges and prosecutors after forces loyal to Erdogan crushed the attempted coup on Saturday.
Arresting 3000 judges and prosecutors?

Tell me that Erdogan is not using this an excuse to further buttress his his grip on power.

It also looks like he's going to use the events of this past weekend in an attempt to blackmail the US into extraditing a political opponent of his living in exile in Pennsylvania:
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, newly emboldened after crushing a coup attempt, is testing his country’s key defense relationship by demanding the U.S. turn over a cleric he accuses of inspiring the uprising.

Erdogan on Sunday repeated his challenge to the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher who lives in exile in rural Pennsylvania, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry balanced comments about considering such a request with criticizing the Turks for implying the U.S. had involvement in the coup attempt.

“If we’re strategic partners, I’m saying, carry through on your strategic partner’s request,” Erdogan said in Istanbul. “When you wanted a terrorist, we delivered him to you. Now we’re saying deliver this guy who’s on our terrorist list to us.”


An immediate point of tension in the partnership was resolved Sunday when the U.S. resumed flights out of Incirlik Air Base, a staging point for the fight against Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. Operations at Incirlik were halted Saturday after the Turkish government closed its airspace to military aircraft and cut off commercial power to the base, which hosts about 1,500 American military personnel and aircraft.


“You have to begin to be concerned that if the U.S. continues to resist the extradition request and other requirements, would the Turkish government restrict use of Incirlik, would they start impacting our operations against ISIS,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They are a crucial ally -- the location is very, very important, but they have been an extremely challenging ally to work with.”

Kerry said Turkey would have to submit a formal request for extradition and prove its accusations. “Give us the evidence, show us the evidence,” he said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.


The chances of the U.S. extraditing Gulen, who has lived in the country for nearly 20 years, are slim, said Brett Bruen, a former official in Obama’s National Security Council and now president of the Global Situation Room consulting firm.

“I don’t see a scenario at the moment at least in which he is extradited to Turkey,” Bruen said. “The evidence that has been presented that he was somehow behind this coup is still not there. And obviously there would be very real concerns about what would befall him if he were turned over to Turkish authorities.”
This has turned into a complete clusterf%$#.


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