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Turkey army says it seizes power; Erdogan says: 'We will overcome this'

Turkey army says it seizes power; Erdogan says: 'We will overcome this'

Postby smix » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:55 am

Turkey army says it seizes power; Erdogan says: 'We will overcome this'
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN0ZV2HK
Category: Military
Published: July 15, 2016

Description: ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's military said on Friday it had seized power but President Tayyip Erdogan vowed that the attempted coup would be put down.

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If successful, the overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would be one of the biggest shifts in the Middle East in years, transforming one of the most important U.S. allies while war rages on its border. Even if it fails, the coup attempt could destabilize a pivotal country in the region. "We will overcome this," Erdogan said, speaking on a video call to a mobile phone held up to the camera by an announcer on the Turkish sister station of CNN. He called on his followers to take to the streets to defend his government and said the coup plotters would pay a heavy price. An official said Erdogan was speaking from Marmaris on the Turkish coast where he was on holiday. Erdogan said he would swiftly return to Ankara. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and other senior officials said the elected government remained in office. Yildirim called the coup attempt a terrorist act by gangs and illegal formations. Television images showed scores of people, some waving Turkish flags, gathered in major squares in main city Istanbul and capital Ankara to show support for the elected government. Gunfire broke out in both cities. Warplanes and helicopters roared over Ankara and explosions could be heard there. Reuters reporters saw a helicopter open fire. State-run news agency Anadolu said military helicopters had fired on the headquarters of the intelligence agency. Reuters journalists saw tanks open fire near the parliament building in Ankara, which they had surrounded. Airports were shut, access to Internet social media sites was cut off, and troops sealed off the two bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, one of which was still lit up red, white and blue in solidarity with victims of the Bastille Day truck attack in France a day earlier. Soldiers took control of TRT state television, which announced a countrywide curfew and martial law. An announcer read a statement on the orders of the military that accused the government of eroding the democratic and secular rule of law. The country would be run by a "peace council" that would ensure the safety of the population, the statement said. TRT later went off the air. Anadolu said the chief of Turkey's military staff was among people taken "hostage" in the capital Ankara. CNN Turk also reported that hostages were being held at the military headquarters.
NOT A TINPOT COUP
A senior EU source monitoring the situation said: "It looks like a relatively well orchestrated coup by a significant body of the military, not just a few colonels. They've got control of the airports and are expecting control over the TV station imminently. They control several strategic points in Istanbul. "Given the scale of the operation, it is difficult to imagine they will stop short of prevailing. It's not just a few colonels," the source repeated. One European diplomat was dining with the Turkish ambassador to a European capital when guests were interrupted by the pinging of urgent news on their mobile phones. "This is clearly not some tinpot little coup. The Turkish ambassador was clearly shocked and is taking it very seriously," the diplomat told Reuters as the dinner party broke up. "However it looks in the morning, this will have massive implications for Turkey. This has not come out of nowhere." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking jointly after talks in Moscow, both said they hoped bloodshed would be avoided. The U.S. State Department said Americans in Turkey should shelter indoors. Other countries issued similar advice. Turkey, a NATO member with the second biggest military in the Western alliance, is one of the most important allies of the United States in the fight against Islamic State, which seized swathes of neighboring Iraq and Syria. Turkey is one of the main backers of opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war, host to 2.7 million Syrian refugees and launchpad last year for the biggest influx of migrants to Europe since World War Two. Celebratory gunfire erupted in Syria's capital Damascus as reports emerged that Erdogan had been toppled. People took the streets to celebrate there and in other government-held cities. Turkey has been at war with Kurdish separatists, and has suffered numerous bombing and shooting attacks this year, including an attack two weeks ago by Islamists at Istanbul's main airport that killed more than 40 people. In an earlier statement sent by email and reported on TV channels, the military said it had taken power to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights. All of Turkey's existing foreign relations would be maintained and the rule of law would remain the priority, it said. After serving as prime minister from 2003, Erdogan was elected president in 2014 with plans to alter the constitution to give the previously ceremonial presidency far greater executive powers. Turkey has enjoyed an economic boom during his time in office and has dramatically expanded its influence across the region. But opponents say his rule has become increasingly authoritarian. His AK Party, with roots in Islamism, has long had a strained relationship with the military and nationalists in a state that was founded on secularist principles after World War One. The military has a history of mounting coups to defend secularism, but has not seized power directly since 1980. Prime Minister Yildirim said a group within Turkey's military had attempted to overthrow the government and security forces have been called in to "do what is necessary". "Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command," Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV. "The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so."



Turkish forces fight to crush coup remnants after Erdogan returns
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN0ZV2HK
Category: Military
Published: July 16, 2016

Description: ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) - Forces loyal to the Turkish government fought on Saturday to crush the remnants of a military coup attempt which crumbled after crowds answered President Tayyip Erdogan's call to take to the streets and dozens of rebels abandoned their tanks.

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Ninety people were killed, including many civilians after a faction of the armed forces tried to seize power using tanks and attack helicopters. Some strafed the headquarters of Turkish intelligence and parliament in the capital, Ankara, and others seized a major bridge in Istanbul. Erdogan appeared to accuse the coup plotters of trying to kill him and said he would purge the armed forces, which in the past have staged a number of successful coups, although not for more than 30 years. "They will pay a heavy price for this," he said. "This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army." Later, the presidency warned on Twitter that another uprising could be staged at any time. Turkish authorities have already detained about 1,500 members of the armed forces, officials said. The chief of staff, who had been reported held hostage by the rebels, has been rescued, a senior official said. A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would have marked one of the biggest shifts in the Middle East in years, transforming a major U.S. ally while war rages on its border. However, a failed coup attempt could still destabilize a NATO member that lies between the European Union and the chaos of Syria, with Islamic State bombers targeting Turkish cities and the government also at war with Kurdish separatists. Erdogan, who had been holidaying on the southwest coast when the coup was launched, flew into Istanbul before dawn on Saturday and was shown on TV outside Ataturk Airport. Addressing a crowd of thousands of flag-waving supporters at the airport later, Erdogan said the government remained at the helm, although disturbances continued in Ankara. Erdogan, whose Islamist-rooted ideology lies at odds with supporters of modern Turkey's secular principles, said the plotters had tried to attack him in the resort town of Marmaris. "They bombed places I had departed right after I was gone," he said. "They probably thought we were still there." The acting armed forces chief of staff, Umit Dundar, reported heavy casualties. Among the 90 dead were 47 civilians while a further 1,154 people had been wounded. In a live statement broadcast on CNN Turk, Dundar said many military commanders have been taken hostage by the rebels but he declared that Turkey has "closed the chapter" on coups for good. Erdogan's AK Party, with roots in Islamism, has long had a strained relationship with the military and nationalists. The armed forces have had a history of mounting coups to defend secularism, but have not seized power directly since 1980. Operations involving police special forces and the military were still underway to regain control of the armed forces headquarters in Ankara, one official said.
SMART PHONE ADDRESS
In a night that sometimes verged on the bizarre, Erdogan took to social media even though he is an avowed enemy of the technology when his opponents use it, frequently targeting Twitter and Facebook. Erdogan addressed the nation via a video calling service, appearing on the smart phone of a CNN Turk reporter who held it up to a studio camera so viewers to the network could see him. Erdogan said the coup attempt had been encouraged by the "parallel structure". This is his shorthand for followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric whom he has repeatedly accused of trying to foment an uprising in the military, media and judiciary. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, once supported Erdogan but became a nemesis. The pro-Gulen Alliance for Shared Values said it condemned any military intervention in domestic politics. The pro-coup faction said in an emailed statement from the Turkish military General Staff's media office address that it was determinedly still fighting. Gunfire and explosions had rocked both Istanbul and Ankara through the night after soldiers took up positions in both cities and ordered state television to read out a statement declaring they had taken power. However, by dawn the noise of fighting had died down considerably. About 50 soldiers involved in the coup surrendered on one of the bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul after dawn on Saturday, abandoning their tanks with their hands raised in the air. Reuters witnesses saw government supporters attack the pro-coup soldiers who had surrendered. Earlier, around 30 pro-coup soldiers had surrendered their weapons after being surrounded by armed police in Istanbul's central Taksim square. They were taken away in police vans as a fighter jet repeatedly screeched overhead at low altitude, causing a boom that shook surrounding buildings and shattered windows.
LAWMAKERS IN HIDING
The coup began with warplanes and helicopters roaring over Ankara and troops moving in to seal off the bridges over the Bosphorus Strait that links Europe and Asia in Istanbul. Authorities had shut the strait to tanker traffic, shipping agent GAC said. In the early hours of Saturday, lawmakers were hiding in shelters inside the parliament building, which was being fired on by tanks. Smoke rose up from nearby, Reuters witnesses said. An opposition MP told Reuters parliament was hit three times and that people had been wounded. A senior Turkish official said later on Saturday attacks on the parliament had "largely stopped". A Turkish military commander also said fighter jets had shot down a helicopter used by the coup plotters over Ankara. State-run Anadolu news agency said 17 police were killed at special forces headquarters there. Momentum turned against the coup plotters as the night wore on. Crowds defied orders to stay indoors, gathering at major squares in Istanbul and Ankara, waving flags and chanting. "We have a prime minister, we have a chief of command, we're not going to leave this country to degenerates," shouted one man, as groups of government supporters climbed onto a tank near Ataturk airport. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he phoned the Turkish foreign minister and underlined "absolute support for Turkey's democratically elected, civilian government and democratic institutions". European Council President Donald Tusk called for a swift return to Turkey's constitutional order, saying tensions there could not be resolved by guns.
FLIGHTS RESUME
Flag carrier Turkish Airways resumed flights on Saturday, Erdogan said. Malaysia Airports, the operator of Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, Istanbul's second airport, said it would continue to process flights in and out of Turkey. Soldiers took control of TRT state television, which announced a countrywide curfew and martial law. An announcer read a statement on the orders of the pro-coup faction that accused the government of eroding the democratic and secular rule of law. Turkey would be run by a "peace council" that would ensure the safety of the population, the statement said. TRT went off the air shortly afterwards. It resumed broadcasting in the early hours of Saturday. Turkey is one of the main backers of opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war, host to 2.7 million Syrian refugees and launchpad last year for the biggest influx of migrants to Europe since World War Two. Turkey has suffered numerous bombings and shootings this year, including an attack two weeks ago by Islamists at Ataturk airport that killed more than 40 people, as well as those staged by Kurdish militants. After serving as prime minister from 2003, Erdogan was elected president in 2014 with plans to alter the constitution to give the previously ceremonial presidency far greater executive powers. Turkey has enjoyed an economic boom during his time in office and has dramatically expanded its influence across the region. However, opponents say his rule has become increasingly authoritarian.



Turkey rounds up plot suspects after thwarting coup against Erdogan
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN0ZV2HK
Category: Military
Published: July 16, 2016

Description: ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish authorities rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters on Saturday and ordered thousands of judges detained after thwarting a coup by rebels using tanks and attack helicopters to try to topple President Tayyip Erdogan.

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For several hours overnight on Friday violence shook Turkey's two main cities, as the armed faction which tried to seize power blocked a bridge in Istanbul and strafed the headquarters of Turkish intelligence and parliament in Ankara. At least 265 people were killed. An official said 161 of them were mostly civilians and police officers, while the remaining 104 were coup supporters. But the coup attempt crumbled as Erdogan rushed back to Istanbul from a Mediterranean holiday and urged people to take to the streets to support his government against plotters he accused of trying to kill him. "They will pay a heavy price for this," said Erdogan, launching a purge of the armed forces, which last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago. "This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army." Among those detained were top military commanders, including the head of the Second Army which protects the country's borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran, state-run Anadolu news agency said. Hundreds of soldiers were held in Ankara for alleged involvement in the coup, leaving police stations overflowing. Some had to be taken under armed police escort in buses to a sports stadium. Reuters footage showed some of the detainees, handcuffed and stripped from the waist up, sitting on the floor of one of the buses. The government declared the situation under control, saying 2,839 people had been rounded up, from foot soldiers to senior officers, including those who formed "the backbone" of the rebellion. Authorities also began a major crackdown in the judiciary over suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, removing from their posts and ordering the detention of nearly 3,000 prosecutors and judges, including from top courts. Erdogan has blamed the coup on supporters of Gulen, who he has frequently accused of trying to foment uprising in the military, media and judiciary. Ten members of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and two members of the Constitutional Court have already been detained, officials said.
OBAMA'S SUPPORT
A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled the country of about 80 million people since 2003, would have marked another seismic shift in the Middle East, five years after the Arab uprisings erupted and plunged Turkey's southern neighbor Syria into civil war. However, a failed coup attempt could still destabilize the NATO member and major U.S. ally that lies between the European Union and the chaos of Syria, with Islamic State bombers targeting Turkish cities and the government also at war with Kurdish separatists. U.S. President Barack Obama expressed support for Turkey's government and urged parties on all sides of the crisis to avoid destabilizing the country and follow the rule of law. But his secretary of state, John Kerry, warned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that public suggestions of a U.S. role in the plot were "utterly false" and harmful to relations. Erdogan, who had been holidaying on the southwest coast when the coup was launched, flew into Istanbul before dawn on Saturday and told thousands of flag-waving supporters at the airport that the government remained at the helm. A polarizing figure whose Islamist-rooted ideology lies at odds with supporters of modern Turkey's secular principles, Erdogan said the plotters had tried to attack him in the resort town of Marmaris. "They bombed places I had departed from right after I was gone," he said. "They probably thought we were still there." Erdogan's AK Party has long had strained relations with the military, which has a history of mounting coups to defend secularism although it has not seized power directly since 1980. His conservative religious vision for Turkey's future has also alienated many ordinary citizens who accuse him of authoritarianism. Police used heavy force in 2013 to suppress mass protests demanding more freedom. He commands the admiration and loyalty of millions of Turks, however, particularly for raising living standards and restoring order to an economy once beset by regular crises, which grew 4.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter. The violence is likely to hit a tourism industry already suffering from the bombings, and business confidence is also vulnerable.
SMARTPHONE ADDRESS
In a night that sometimes verged on the bizarre, Erdogan frequently took to social media, even though he is an avowed enemy of the technology when his opponents use it and frequently targets Twitter and Facebook. He addressed the nation via a video calling service, appearing on the smartphone of a CNN Turk reporter who held it up to a studio camera. He also urged Washington to deport Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. The cleric, who once supported Erdogan but became a leading adversary, condemned the attempted coup and said he played no role in it. "As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations," Gulen said in a statement. Kerry said the United States was willing to help Turkey as it tries to identify those involved in the coup attempt, but made clear it would only act if there was evidence against Gulen.
SOLDIERS SURRENDER
Gunfire and explosions had rocked both Istanbul and Ankara through the night after soldiers took up positions in both cities and ordered state television to read out a statement declaring they had taken power. However, by dawn the noise of fighting had died down considerably. About 50 soldiers involved in the coup surrendered on one of the bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul after dawn on Saturday, abandoning their tanks with their hands raised in the air. Reuters witnesses saw government supporters attack the pro-coup soldiers who had surrendered. By Saturday afternoon, CNN Turk reported that security forces had completed an operation against coup plotters at the headquarters of the military general staff. Security sources also said police detained about 100 military officers at an air base in the southeast. Neighboring Greece arrested eight men aboard a Turkish military helicopter which landed in the northern city of Alexandroupolis on Saturday, the Greek police ministry said, adding that they had requested political asylum. At one stage military commanders were held hostage by the plotters and by Saturday evening -- 24 hours after the coup was launched -- some operations against rebels were continuing. Cavusoglu, the foreign minister, said soldiers at the Incirlik air base, used by the United States to launch air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, were involved in the attempt. He said Turkey would resume operations with the U.S.-led coalition once the anti-coup operations were completed.
LAWMAKERS IN HIDING
The coup began with warplanes and helicopters roaring over Ankara and troops moving in to seal off the bridges over the Bosphorus, which separates Europe and Asia in Istanbul. Turkish maritime authorities reopened the Bosphorus to transiting tankers after shutting the major trade route from the Black Sea to the Aegean for several hours for security and safety reasons. In the early hours of Saturday, lawmakers hid in shelters inside the parliament building, which was fired on by tanks. An opposition deputy told Reuters that parliament was hit three times and people had been wounded. When parliament convened later in the day, the four main political parties - running the gamut from Erdogan's right-wing Islamist-rooted AK Party to the left-of-center, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) - came together in a rare show of unity to condemn the attempted coup. A Turkish military commander also said fighter jets had shot down a helicopter used by the coup plotters over Ankara. Momentum turned against the coup plotters as the night wore on. Crowds defied orders to stay indoors, gathering at major squares in Istanbul and Ankara, waving flags and chanting. "We have a prime minister, we have a chief of command, we're not going to leave this country to degenerates," shouted one man, as groups of government supporters climbed onto a tank near Ataturk airport. Kerry said he had phoned the Turkish foreign minister and underlined "absolute support for Turkey's democratically elected, civilian government and democratic institutions".
FLIGHTS RESUME
Flag carrier Turkish Airlines resumed flights on Saturday, though some foreign carriers canceled weekend flights. At the height of the action, rebel soldiers took control of TRT state television, which announced a countrywide curfew and martial law. An announcer read a statement on the orders of the pro-coup faction that accused the government of eroding the democratic and secular rule of law. Turkey would be run by a "peace council" that would ensure the safety of the population, the statement said. Turkey is one of the main backers of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war and hosts 2.7 million Syrian refugees. It was a departure point last year for the biggest influx of migrants to Europe since World War Two. Turkey has suffered numerous bombings and shootings this year, including an attack two weeks ago by Islamists at Ataturk airport that killed more than 40 people, as well as those staged by Kurdish militants. After serving as prime minister from 2003, Erdogan was elected president in 2014 with plans to alter the constitution to give the previously ceremonial presidency far greater executive powers.



Turkey widens crackdown on military, judiciary after failed coup
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN0ZX07S
Category: Politics
Published: July 17, 2016

Description: ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) - 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 full control of the country and economy.

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Overnight, supporters of President Tayyip Erdogan rallied in public squares, at Istanbul airport and outside his palace in a show of defiance after the coup attempt. The Foreign Ministry raised the death toll to more than 290, including over 100 rebels, while 1,400 people were injured. With expectations growing of heavy measures against dissent, European politicians warned Erdogan that 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 that more arrests were expected on top of the 6,000 people already detained. Authorities have 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. Among those arrested is General Bekir Ercan Van, commander of the Incirlik air base from which U.S. aircraft launch air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, an official said. Erdogan's chief military assistant was also detained, broadcaster CNN Turk said. Erdogan told crowds on Sunday that the coup attempt had been put down by the "national will", blaming "those who cannot bear the unity of our country and are under the orders of masterminds to take over the state". He frequently refers to "masterminds" who he says are bent on breaking up Turkey, in what appears to be a veiled reference to the West in general, and more specifically, the United States. On Saturday, Labour Minister Suleyman Soylu told broadcaster Haberturk he believed Washington was behind the coup attempt. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described public suggestions of a U.S. role as "utterly false", and said on Sunday that Washington had no intelligence of the coup before it began. The Pentagon also announced on Sunday that operations from Turkey by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State had resumed after Ankara reopened its air space, which had been closed during the coup attempt. However, U.S. facilities were still operating on internal power sources after Turkey cut off the mains supply to the base. Kerry said the difficulty for U.S. planes using Incirlik may have been a result of Turkish aircraft flown in support of the coup using the base to refuel.
'PARALLEL STRUCTURE'
The crackdown intensifies a longstanding push by Erdogan to root out the influence of followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan accuses followers of Gulen, who was once an ally but is now his arch-enemy, of trying to create a "parallel structure" within the courts, police, armed forces and media with an aim to topple the state. The cleric has denied this and said he played no role in the attempted coup, denouncing it as an affront to democracy. Erdogan said Turkey's justice and foreign ministries would write to Western governments to demand the return of Gulen's supporters from those countries. Kerry said he had no evidence that Gulen was behind the plot to seize power, and he urged Turkish authorities to compile evidence as rapidly as possible so the United States could evaluate whether he should be extradited to Turkey. Even before the coup attempt was over, Erdogan promised a purge of the armed forces. "They will pay a heavy price for this," he said. "This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army." At a rally late on Saturday, his supporters demanded that the coup leaders be executed. "Let's hang them!" chanted the crowd in Ankara's central Kizilay square. Erdogan told them that parliament may consider a proposal to bring back the death penalty, which has been abolished. Erdogan's critics say he will use the purge to create a pliant judiciary, eliminating any dissenting voices in the courts. Some European politicians have expressed their unease about developments since the coup attempt. "(The coup attempt) is not a blank cheque for Mr Erdogan. There cannot be purges, the rule of law must work," said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. Ayrault told France 3 television that European Union ministers would reiterate on Monday when they meet in Brussels that Turkey - which has applied to join the bloc - must conform to Europe's democratic principles. European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said Erdogan would move Turkey away from the core values represented by the EU and the NATO defense alliance - of which it is a long-standing member - if he decided to use the attempted coup to restrict basic democratic rights further. "He would strengthen his position domestically, but he would isolate himself internationally," Oettinger, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. Some European politicians are also expressing concern about the future of a deal between the EU and Ankara that has helped to slow numbers of migrants crossing from the country to neighboring Greece.
GULEN DENIAL
A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled the country since 2003, would have marked another seismic shift in the Middle East, five years after the Arab uprisings erupted and plunged Turkey's southern neighbor Syria into civil war. But the failed attempt could still destabilize the U.S. ally, which lies between Europe and the chaos of Syria. Gulen said the attempted overthrow may have been staged to justify a crackdown. "As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations," Gulen said in a statement. Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party has long had strained relations with the military, which has a history of mounting coups to defend secularism although it has not seized power directly since 1980. His conservative religious vision for Turkey's future has also alienated many ordinary citizens who accuse him of authoritarianism. Police used heavy force in 2013 to suppress mass protests demanding more freedom. Erdogan commands the admiration and loyalty of millions of Turks, however, particularly for raising living standards and restoring order to an economy once beset by regular crises.
'NECESSARY MEASURES'
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek took to Twitter to try to reassure investors the Turkish government was in full control of the economy before financial markets opened on Monday. He said it had decided on "all necessary measures" after consulting with the central bank and treasury. He did not specify the measures. "The macro fundamentals of our country are solid. We are taking all necessary precautions. We are strong with the support of our people and strengthened political stability," he said on Twitter, adding that he planned to hold a conference call with global investors on Sunday. The central bank said it would provide unlimited liquidity to banks. For at least eight hours overnight on Friday violence shook Turkey's two main cities. But the coup attempt crumbled as Erdogan rushed back to Istanbul from a Mediterranean holiday and urged people to take to the streets in support of his government against plotters he accused of trying to kill him. The violence shocked the nation of almost 80 million, once seen as a model Muslim democracy, where living standards have grown steadily for more than a decade and where the army last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago. It also shattered fragile confidence among Turkey's allies about security in the NATO country, a leading member of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. Turkey had already been hit by repeated suicide bombings over the past year and is struggling to contain an insurgency by Kurdish separatists. U.S. President Barack Obama has also urged parties on all sides of the crisis to avoid destabilizing Turkey and follow the rule of law.



Turkey widens purges to police after coup bid, Europe warns on rule of law
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN0ZX07S
Category: Politics
Published: July 18, 2016

Description: ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey suspended thousands of police officers on Monday, widening a purge of the armed forces and judiciary after a failed military coup, and raising concern among European allies that it was abandoning the rule of law.

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A senior security official told Reuters 8,000 police officers, including in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, had been removed from their posts on suspicion of links to Friday's coup bid by a faction in the army. Thirty regional governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants have also been dismissed, CNN Turk said. Thousands of members of the armed forces, from foot soldiers to commanders, were rounded up on Sunday, some shown in photographs stripped to their underpants and handcuffed on the floors of police buses and a sports hall. Several thousand prosecutors and judges have also been removed. More than 290 people were killed and around 1,400 wounded in the violence on Friday night, as soldiers commandeered tanks, attack helicopters and fighter jets in a bid to seize power, strafing parliament and the intelligence headquarters and trying to seize the main airport and bridges in Istanbul. President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday told crowds of supporters, called to the streets by the government and by mosques across the country, that parliament must consider their demands to apply the death penalty for the plotters. "We cannot ignore this demand," he told a chanting crowd outside his house in Istanbul late on Sunday. "In democracies, whatever the people say has to happen." He called on Turks to stay on the streets until Friday, and late into Sunday night his supporters thronged squares and streets, honking horns and waving flags. The bloodshed shocked the nation of almost 80 million, where the army last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago, and shattered fragile confidence in the stability of a NATO member state already rocked by Islamic State suicide bombings and an insurgency by Kurdish militants. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned the Turkish government on Monday against taking steps that would damage the constitutional order. "We were the first... during that tragic night to say that the legitimate institutions needed to be protected," she told reporters on arrival at an EU foreign ministers meeting, which was also to be attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. "We are the ones saying today rule of law has to be protected in the country," she said in Brussels. "There is no excuse for any steps that take the country away from that." Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said it would be unacceptable for Turkey to reintroduce the death penalty, which it abolished in 2004. Abolishing capital punishment was a prerequisite for talks with Turkey on membership of the European Union, to which it still aspires. Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP opposition, parliament's third largest party, said it would not support any government proposal to reintroduce the death penalty. The main CHP opposition said the response to the coup attempt must be conducted within the rule of law and that the plotters should face trial.
"HEAVY BLOW" TO MILITARY
Turkish security forces are still searching for some of the soldiers involved in the coup bid in various cities and rural areas but there is no risk of a renewed bid to seize power, a senior security official told Reuters. The official said Turkey's military command had been dealt "a heavy blow in terms of organisation" but was still functioning in coordination with the intelligence agency, police and the government. Some high-ranking military officials involved in the plot have fled abroad, he said. Erdogan has blamed U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the attempted power grab. He has long accused the cleric of trying to create a "parallel state" within the courts, police, armed forces and media. Gulen, in turn, has said the coup attempt may have been staged, casting it as an excuse for Erdogan to forge ahead with his purge of the cleric's supporters from state institutions. The swift rounding up of judges and others indicated the government had prepared a list beforehand, the EU commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, Johannes Hahn, said. "I'm very concerned. It is exactly what we feared," he said in Brussels. A Turkish official acknowledged that Gulen's followers in the armed forces had been under investigation for some time, but denied that an arrest list had been prepared in advance. "In our assessment, this group acted out of a sense of emergency when they realized that they were under investigation. There was a list of people who were suspected of conspiring to stage a coup," the official said. "There was no arrest list. There was a list of people suspected of planning a coup."



Turkey widens post-coup purge, demands U.S. hand over cleric
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN0ZX07S
Category: Politics
Published: July 19, 2016

Description: ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey purged its police on Monday after rounding up thousands of soldiers in the wake of a failed military coup, and said it could reconsider its friendship with the United States unless Washington hands over a cleric Ankara blames for the putsch.

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Nearly 20,000 members of the police, civil service, judiciary and army have been detained or suspended since Friday night's coup, in which more than 200 people were killed when a faction of the armed forces tried to seize power. The broad crackdown and calls to reinstate the death penalty for plotters drew concern from Western allies who said Ankara must uphold the rule of law in the country, a NATO member whose cooperation in the fight against Islamic State is crucial to Washington. Some voiced concern President Tayyip Erdogan - who said he was almost killed or captured by the mutineers - was using the opportunity to consolidate his power and further a process of stifling dissent which has already caused tensions with Europe. Turkey's foreign ministry said criticism of the government's response amounted to backing for the bid to overthrow it. A senior security official told Reuters that 8,000 police officers, including in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, had been removed from their posts on suspicion of links to Friday's abortive coup. About 1,500 finance ministry officials had been suspended, a ministry official said, and CNN Turk said 30 governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants had been dismissed. Annual leave was suspended for more than 3 million civil servants, while close to 3,000 judges and prosecutors have been suspended. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 7,543 people had so far been detained, including 6,038 soldiers. Some were shown in photographs stripped to their underpants and handcuffed on the floors of police buses and a sports hall. A court remanded 26 generals and admirals in custody on Monday, Turkish media said. Officials in Ankara say former air force chief Akin Ozturk was a co-leader of the coup. The state-run Anadolu agency said on Monday he had confessed, but private broadcaster Haberturk contradicted this, saying he had told prosecutors he tried to prevent the attempted putsch. The Turkish government says it was masterminded by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric based in the United States who has a wide following in Turkey. He denies any involvement. Ankara has demanded Washington hand Gulen over, and Erdogan told international broadcaster CNN on Monday that an extradition request would be filed this week. Washington says it is prepared to extradite him but only if Turkey provides evidence linking him to crime. Yildirim rejected that demand. "We would be disappointed if our (American) friends told us to present proof even though members of the assassin organization are trying to destroy an elected government under the directions of that person," Yildirim said. "At this stage there could even be a questioning of our friendship.". Yildirim said 232 people were killed in Friday night's violence, 208 of them civilians, police and loyalist soldiers, and a further 24 coup plotters. Officials previously said the overall death toll was more than 290. Around 1,400 others were wounded as soldiers commandeered tanks, attack helicopters and warplanes in their bid to seize power, strafing parliament and the intelligence headquarters and trying to seize the main airport and bridges in Istanbul. Erdogan's decision to allow the resumption of flights at the Incirlik Air Base, which hosts a number of U.S. intelligence facilities and plays a strategic role in the fight against Islamic State militants, has averted an immediate confrontation between the two allied countries. But U.S. officials have been rattled by the extent of Turkey's response to the failed coup and say the relationship will now depend on how Erdogan pursues Gulen and how far the crackdown extends. Significantly, the commander of Incirlik, General Bekir Ercan Van, was among those detained over the abortive coup. "We believe Turkey has gone beyond what we wanted to see," said one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
ERDOGAN: I WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED
The coup crumbled after Erdogan, on holiday with his family at the coastal resort of Marmaris, phoned in to a television news program and called for his followers to take to the streets. He was able to fly into Istanbul in the early hours of Saturday, after rebel pilots had his plane in their sights but did not shoot it down. He said on Monday that he might have died if he had left Marmaris any later. "Two of my close bodyguards were martyred, they were killed," he told CNN in an interview. "Had I stayed 10 or 15 additional minutes there, I would have been killed or I would have been taken." He repeated his call that parliament must consider his supporters' demands to apply the death penalty for the plotters. "The people have the opinion that these terrorists should be killed," he said. "Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come, that's what the people say." Turkey gave up the death penalty in 2004 as part of a program of reforms required to become a candidate to join the EU. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said reinstating it would "in no way" be compatible with Turkey's goal of EU membership. The bloodshed shocked the nation of almost 80 million, where the army last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago, and shattered fragile confidence in the stability of a NATO member state already rocked by Islamic State suicide bombings and an insurgency by Kurdish militants. Since the coup was put down, Erdogan has said enemies of the state still threatened the country and has urged Turks to take to the streets every evening until Friday to show their support for the government. Thousands heeded his words and took to squares in Turkey's three biggest cities on Monday, the third day in a row, to show their support. Western countries said they supported Erdogan's government but Ankara should abide by the rule of law. "We stand squarely on the side of the elected leadership in Turkey. But we also firmly urge the government of Turkey to maintain calm and stability throughout the country," U.S. Secretary of State Kerry told a news briefing in Brussels where he attended a gathering of European counterparts. "We will certainly support bringing the perpetrators of the coup to justice but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that." Referring to Gulen, Kerry called on Turkey to furnish evidence "that withstands scrutiny", rather than allegations. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also called on Ankara to avoid steps that would damage the constitutional order. Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP opposition, parliament's third largest party, said it would not support any government proposal to reintroduce the death penalty. The main CHP opposition said the response to the coup attempt must be conducted within the rule of law and that the plotters should face trial.
'HEAVY BLOW' TO MILITARY
Turkish security forces are still searching for some of the soldiers involved in the coup bid in various cities and rural areas but there is no risk of a renewed bid to seize power, a senior security official told Reuters. The official said Turkey's military command had been dealt "a heavy blow in terms of organization" but was still functioning in coordination with the intelligence agency, police and the government. Some high-ranking military officials involved in the plot have fled abroad, he said. Erdogan has long accused Gulen of trying to create a "parallel state" within the courts, police, armed forces and media. Gulen, in turn, has said the coup attempt may have been staged, casting it as an excuse for Erdogan to forge ahead with his purge of the cleric's supporters from state institutions. The swift rounding up of judges and others indicated the government had prepared a list beforehand, the EU commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, Johannes Hahn, said. "I'm very concerned. It is exactly what we feared," he said in Brussels.



Erdogan announces army overhaul in latest post-coup shakeup
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN0ZX07S
Category: Politics
Published: July 23, 2016

Description: ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pledged to overhaul the army in response to last week's failed coup, a sign that a newly imposed state of emergency would be used to press on with a purge that has alarmed the West.

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In a sign of Turkey's dismissal of outside criticism over how it has responded to the coup, the justice minister said Turkey would not bow to pressure from the European Union to rule out restoring the death penalty to execute the plotters. Western countries backed Turkey's government during last week's failed putsch, but are increasingly worried about Turkey's subsequent crackdown against thousands of members of the security forces, judiciary, civil service and academia. On Wednesday Erdogan announced a state of emergency, a move he said would allow the government to take swift action against those who plotted the coup that killed more than 246 people and wounded more than 2,100 before it collapsed within hours. The possibility of Turkey bringing back capital punishment for the plotters has put further strain on Ankara's relationship with the EU, which Turkey seeks to join but which demands candidates forego the death penalty. Turkey outlawed capital punishment in 2004 as part of its bid to join the bloc and European officials have said backtracking on that would effectively put an end to the EU accession process. But crowds at rallies have demanded the coup plotters be executed, and the government says it must at least consider it. "People demand the death penalty and that demand will surely be assessed. We have to assess that demand from the standpoint of law, and not according to what the EU says," Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told broadcaster CNN Turk. Western governments worry about instability and human rights in the country of 80 million, which plays an important part in the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State and in the European Union's efforts to stem the flow of refugees from Syria. Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen, a charismatic U.S.-based cleric, of masterminding the plot against him. In a crackdown on Gulen's suspected followers, more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended, detained or placed under investigation. In an interview with Reuters late on Thursday, Erdogan compared the Gulen movement to a cancer and said he would restructure the military to give it "fresh blood". Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for years, has denied any role in the attempted putsch, and accused Erdogan of orchestrating it himself. Turkey wants the United States to extradite him, but U.S. President Barack Obama repeated Washington's stance on Friday when he said that Ankara must first provide clear evidence of his involvement. "America's governed by rules of law, and those are not ones that the president of the United States or anybody else can just set aside for the sake of expediency," Obama said. He also said the United States supported Erdogan's democratically elected government and that any reports that Washington had prior knowledge of the attempted coup, or that there was any U.S. involvement, were completely false.
SECOND ATTEMPT?
Erdogan told Reuters the government's Supreme Military Council, which is chaired by the prime minister and includes the defense minister and the chief of staff, would oversee the restructuring of the armed forces. "They are all working together as to what might be done, and ... within a very short amount of time a new structure will be emerging. With this new structure, I believe the armed forces will get fresh blood," Erdogan said. Speaking at his palace in Ankara, which was targeted during the coup attempt, he said a new putsch was possible but would not be easy because authorities were now more vigilant. "It is very clear that there were significant gaps and deficiencies in our intelligence, there is no point trying to hide it or deny it," Erdogan said. Erdogan also said there was no obstacle to extending the state of emergency beyond the initial three months - a comment likely to spark concern among critics already fearful about the pace of his crackdown. Emergency rule permits the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary. Addressing parliament late on Friday - his first address to the assembly since the coup attempt - Erdogan said that authorities would maintain fiscal discipline. "I call on investors to continue investing as the public will move forward with major projects," he added to loud applause from lawmakers. Germany called for the state of emergency to end as quickly as possible. An international lawyers' group warned Turkey against using it to subvert the rule of law and human rights, pointing to allegations of torture and ill-treatment of people held in the mass roundup. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the reaction to the coup must not undermine fundamental rights. "What we're seeing especially in the fields of universities, media, the judiciary, is unacceptable," she said of detentions and dismissals of judges, academics and others.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
For some Turks, the state of emergency raised fears of a return to the days of martial law after a 1980 military coup, or the height of a Kurdish insurgency in the 1990s when much of the largely Kurdish southeast was under a state of emergency. "There is a lot to worry about. A state of emergency was implemented for many years in this country, and if we face that again, those worries will grow," said Senel Karatas, chair of the Istanbul branch of a rights group, Human Rights Foundation. Opposition parties which stood with the authorities against the coup have expressed concern that the state of emergency could concentrate too much power in the hands of Erdogan, whose rivals have long accused him of suppressing free speech. Western observers and rights groups are particularly worried about pressure on the media. On Thursday authorities detained rights activist and lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz at Ataturk airport, preventing him from attending a conference in London, his wife, Sibel Hurtas, told Reuters. Hurtas said the incident may have been related to his previous legal defense work and journalism for a pro-Gulen newspaper. Swedish radio reported on Friday that Turkey is asking its nationals living abroad to report people and organizations that support Gulen. Erdogan, an Islamist, has led Turkey as prime minister or president since 2003. "We will continue the fight ... wherever they might be. These people have infiltrated the state organization in this country and they rebelled against the state," he told Reuters, in reference to the Gulen network. Around a third of Turkey's roughly 360 serving generals have been detained since the coup attempt, a senior official said, with 99 charged pending trial and 14 more being held. The Defence Ministry is investigating all military judges and prosecutors, and has suspended 262 of them, broadcaster NTV reported, while 900 police officers in the capital, Ankara, were also suspended on Wednesday. The purge also extended to civil servants in the environment and sports ministries. The state of emergency went into effect after parliament formally approved the measure on Thursday.



Turkey's Erdogan, using emergency decree, shuts private schools, charities, unions
Reuters

URL: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turke ... SKCN1030BC
Category: Politics
Published: July 23, 2016

Description: ISTANBUL (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey on Saturday, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup.

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A restructuring of Turkey's once untouchable military also drew closer, with a planned meeting between Erdogan and the already purged top brass brought forward. In the decree, published by the Anadolu state news agency, Erdogan extended to a maximum of 30 days from four days the period in which some suspects can be detained. It said this was to facilitate a full investigation into the coup attempt. Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death during the July 15 coup attempt, told Reuters in an interview on Thursday he would restructure the armed forces and bring in "fresh blood". Turkey's Supreme Military Council (YAS) will meet under Erdogan's supervision on July 28, a few days earlier than originally planned, private broadcaster NTV reported, a sign that the president wants to act fast to ensure the armed forces are fully under the government's control. Reinforcing that message, the YAS meeting - which usually takes place every August - will be held this time in the presidential palace, not as is customary at the headquarters of the military General Staff. Erdogan has accused U.S.-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who has many followers in Turkey and abroad, of masterminding the failed coup, in which at least 246 people were killed. Gulen denies the charge and has condemned the coup.
PURGES
Erdogan declared the state of emergency late on Wednesday saying it would enable authorities to swiftly and effectively root out supporters of the coup. The state of emergency allows the president and government to pass laws without first having to win parliamentary support and also allows them to curb or suspend rights and freedoms as they deem necessary. Turkish authorities have already launched a series of mass purges of the armed forces, police, judiciary and education system, targeting followers of Gulen, who operates an extensive network of schools and charitable foundations. The first decree signed by Erdogan authorises the closure of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions over suspected links to the Gulen movement, the Anadolu agency said. Parliament must still approve the decree but requires only a simply majority, which the ruling AK Party founded by Erdogan and in power in Turkey since 2002 commands. In an address to lawmakers late on Friday Erdogan vowed to bring to justice supporters of the Gulenist "terrorist" movement and he urged Turks to continue attending rallies in major cities in support of democracy and against the coup plotters. Turkey expects to complete within a week to 10 days a dossier requesting Gulen's extradition from the United States, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told private broadcaster NTV in an interview. Cavusoglu said the link between soldiers involved in the abortive coup and Gulen's extensive network of followers was "very clear", adding that Turkey would do all it could "politically and legally" to secure his extradition. Washington has said Ankara needs to provide clear evidence of Gulen's involvement before it can agree to extradite him. Lawyers say the process could take many years. On Friday evening Erdogan held his first meeting since the coup with the head of the national intelligence agency, Hakan Fidan, after complaining of significant intelligence shortcomings ahead of the coup attempt. Despite media speculation, however, he did not sack Fidan. After the coup Western countries pledged support for democracy in Turkey, a NATO ally and an important partner in the fight against Islamic State, but they have also expressed concern over the scale of the subsequent purges of state institutions. Turkish authorities have suspended, detained or placed under investigation more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, teachers, civil servants and others in the past week. Speaking at a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in China on Saturday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said Turkey would strongly adhere to democratic principles and the rule of law.
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Turkey's last hope dies

Postby smix » Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:35 pm

Turkey's last hope dies
Fox News

URL: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/07/ ... -dies.html
Category: Politics
Published: July 16, 2016

Description: Friday night’s failed coup was Turkey’s last hope to stop the Islamization of its government and the degradation of its society. Reflexively, Western leaders rushed to condemn a coup attempt they refused to understand. Their reward will be a toxic Islamist regime at the gates of Europe. Our leaders no longer do their basic homework.The media relies on experts-by-Wikipedia. Except for PC platitudes, our schools ignore the world beyond our shores. Deluged with unreliable information, citizens succumb to the new superstitions of the digital age. So a great country is destroyed by Islamist hardliners before our eyes—and our president praises its “democracy.” That tragically failed coup was a forlorn hope, not an attempt to take over a country. Turkey is not a banana republic in which the military grasps the reins for its own profit. For almost a century, the Turkish armed forces have been the guardians of the country’s secular constitution. Most recently, coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980 (with “non-coup” pressure in 1997) saw the military intervene to prevent the country’s collapse. Each time, the military returned the government to civilian rule as soon as that proved practical. My own first experience of Turkey came just before the 1980 coup. Turkey was broke and broken. The economy was in such a shambles that you could not buy a cup of Turkish coffee in Istanbul. I walked because taxis and public transportation had no fuel. Murderous political violence raged. Reluctantly, the generals stepped in and saved their country. Friday night, mid-grade officers led a desperate effort to rescue their country again. They failed. The West cheered. Soon enough, we’ll mourn. The coup leaders made disastrous mistakes, the worst of which was to imagine that the absence of President Erdogan from Ankara, the capital, presented the perfect opportunity. Wrong. In a coup, the key is to seize the leaders you mean to overthrow (as well as control of the media). Instead of fleeing into exile, Erdogan was able to return in triumph. So who is the man our own president rushed to support because he was “democratically elected?” Recep Tayyip Erdogan is openly Islamist and affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which President Obama appears to believe represents the best hope for the Middle East. But the difference between ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t one of purpose, but merely of manners: Muslim Brothers wash the blood off their hands before they sit down to dinner with their dupes. With barely a murmured “Tut-tut!” from Western leaders, Erdogan has dismantled Turkey’s secular constitution (which the military is duty-bound to protect). His “democracy” resembles Putin’s, not ours. Key opposition figures have been driven into exile or banned. Opposition parties have been suppressed. Recent elections have not been held so much as staged. And Erdogan has torn the fresh scab from the Kurdish wound, fostering civil war in Turkey’s southeast for his own political advantage. Erdogan has packed Turkey’s courts with Islamists. He appointed pliant, pro-Islamist generals and admirals, while staging show trials of those of whom he wished to rid the country. He has de facto, if not yet de jure, curtailed women’s freedoms. He dissolved the wall between mosque and state (Friday night, he used mosques’ loudspeakers to call his supporters into the streets). Not least, he had long allowed foreign fighters to transit Turkey to join ISIS and has aggressively backed other extremists whom he believed he could manage. And his diplomatic extortion racket has degraded our own military efforts against ISIS. That’s the man President Obama supports. And the leaders of the ill-fated coup? What did they stand for? Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s legacy and a secular constitution. One of the great men of the last century, Ataturk (an innovative general by background) pulled Turkey from the wreckage of World War One, abolished the caliphate, suppressed fanatical religious orders, gave women legal rights and social protections, banned the veil, promoted secular education for all citizens of Turkey, strongly advocated Westernization and modernization…and promoted a democratic future. The officers who led the collapsed coup stood for all those things. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry opposed them. By Saturday morning, it was clear that the mullahs and mobs behind Erdogan had won. Erdogan will use the coup as an excuse to accelerate the Islamization of his country and to lead Turkey deeper into the darkness engulfing the Muslim world. His vision is one of a neo-Ottoman megalomaniac. NATO, which operates by consensus, will find itself embracing a poisonous snake. New crises will reawaken old fears in southeastern Europe, which western European states will dismiss condescendingly, further crippling the badly limping European Union. Syria will continue to bleed. And educated, secular Turks will find themselves in a situation like unto that of German liberals in the 1930s. We may see new and unexpected wars. A desperate, ill-planned coup has failed in Turkey. Here comes the darkness.
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