Coup in Turkey

07.15.16

It appears that there has been a military coup in Turkey. Developments are ongoing.

There are reports of troops being deployed to the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. The prime minister says a group within the military is trying to stage a coup.

Update: Vox tries to explain the situation in Turkey:

I hope that the coup will fail. Assuming that is what happens, it will clear the way for total domination of Turkish politics by Erdogan. It will make it easier for him to make the constitutional changes he wants to make himself essentially the one and only politician deciding everything in the country.

Either way, the chances for democracy have receded even further.

Update #2: The coup does indeed appear to have failed. And, as predicted, Erdogan is using it as an excuse to consolidate power and purge political dissidence. A state of emergency has been declared for 3 months, and so far, over 10,000 people have been rounded up and over 20,000 teachers and university professors have been fired. And there are fears that this is only the tip of the iceberg:

The president did not announce details, but the security measure could facilitate longer detentions for many of the nearly 10,000 people who have been rounded up since loyalist security forces and protesters quashed the rebellion that started Friday night and was over by Saturday.

[ . . . ]

“As the commander in chief, I will also attend to it so that all the viruses within the armed forces will be cleansed,” Erdogan said.

[ . . . ]

Rights group Amnesty International says the crackdown has extended to censoring media and journalists, including those critical of the government.

People living in democracies rarely believe that their political institutions are so fragile to the whims of an autocratic demagogue. But Erdogan, following in the footsteps of Putin, Chavez and so many others, is proving that democracy is indeed incredibly fragile. Even in Turkey, for a long time considered a stronghold of secular democracy in the middle east and a bridge to Europe. Not so much anymore, it looks like.

This is going to get worse before it gets better.

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