The Turkish government has detained 11 members of parliament from the leftist, feminist and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP),including the party’s co-chairs. This step is intended to give Erdogan the majority in parliament he needs to make himself president for life, and to give Turkey (currently a parliamentary government) an imperial presidency on the Egyptian model. The pretext was that these MPs declined to testify in a witch-hunt inquiry. I.e., this is precisely McCarthyism. Since the failed July 15 coup, the Turkish government of President Tayyip Erdogan has fired 110,000 people–10,000 of them just last weekend– from the police, judiciary and other government offices. He has had 12,000 professors fired. Some 15 private universities have been summarily shut down on the grounds that they have some Gulen link. If all of them were involved in the coup, that action might be understandable. But manifestly, all were not. It is true that the rightwing religious Gulen cult has seeded covert agents throughout the Turkish government and business sector. But surely there are hundreds of them, not 110,000. Among the authoritarian steps he has taken is the lifting of parliamentary immunity, setting the stage or his current coup d’etat. Erdogan has also closed down 45 newspapers, 16 television channels and all told, 130 media organizations. Some were accused of having Gulen tendencies. Others are pro-Kurdish. Still others are secular. Many are just sometimes critical of Erdogan, which apparently is no longer going to be allowed.
Friday, November 04, 2016
Not so long ago...
...it looked like the world was experiencing an impressive democratic wave, similar to but even more widespread than the one that took place around 1905. Things don't look too good now. It is discouraging how in the name of democracy the republican tradition of Turkey, never completely secure in regards to its democratic practice, is being throughly trashed. Juan Cole has a rather detailed summary of recent developments. Read 'em and weep.