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Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Erdogan, Part 3

Tayyip Erdogan

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: A major theme of the so-called “Arab Spring” was the belief that by allowing the Muslim Brotherhood unfettered access to the reins of political power, the resulting regimes would resemble the “modern,” “democratic” government of Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.

(The For The Record series on the “Muslim Brotherhood Spring” runs from FTR #733 through FTR #739.)

 In FTR #’s 737, 738, 739, we noted that Erdogan’s government was a direct outgrowth of the Bank Al-Taqwa complex and an extension of the Islamic fascism of the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, Erdogan’s regime has strong links to euro-fascists and the Underground Reich. We have documented this in numerous posts and broadcasts.

The Erdogan government appears to be an Islamic, Underground Reich entity, ultimately directed at the core of the Earth Island.

As civic unrest stemming from popular dissatisfaction with Erdogan’s governance have spread, he has responded with tactics and rhetoric precisely and eerily echoing the rhetoric of classic fascism. Borrowing from the rhetorical arsenal of Hitler and Mussolini, Erdogan has staged mass rallies of rabid supporters, used verbiage conflating the state and “the people” with himself, accused the opposition of being part of an amorphous conspiracy involving “foreign interests,” “speculators,” and the media–translation “Da Joos.”

With roots in the Bank Al-Taqwa milieu, it should come as no surprise that this government has played out in the fashion that it has. Although elected (so were the Nazis in Germany), Erdogan’s government is demonstrating a distinct, totalitarian bent, as evidenced by the results of what Paul Krugman termed “A show trial on the bosporus.”

Recent judicial rulings following on last summer’s civic unrest have given further evidence of the real nature of Erdogan’s governance.

“Turkey Moves to Silence Dissenters, but with One Eye on Its Image Abroad” by Tim Arango and Ceylan Yeginsu; The New York Times; 11/15/2013.

EXCERPT: They came away with a tentative agreement, but it was never accepted by the rank-and-file protesters, and so the movement was later crushed by the water cannons and tear gas of Mr. Erdogan’s police force.

Then last month, one of those leaders, Eyup Muhcu, was summoned by a local prosecutor and interrogated as part of a spreading investigation of those who led the protests. “There is no concrete charge, yet we were called in to give official statements,” said Mr. Muhcu, an architect and a member of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, a group of activists that played a central role in the demonstrations.

“For what?”

For the government, the answer seems clear, Mr. Muhcu said: to silence the opposition.

“It has come to a point where members can’t even tweet without fear of being investigated for their thoughts,” said Mr. Muhcu, one of the few activists still willing to offer a public critique of the government.

As the memory begins to fade of those sweeping protests, which began to save Gezi Park in central Istanbul from being razed and became the most serious challenge to Mr. Erdogan’s decade in power, the government has moved aggressively against its perceived adversaries. More than a thousand students, teachers, doctors and activists — even mosque imams — have been hauled in for questioning for their role in the civic unrest.

Dozens of journalists have lost their jobs for reporting on the demonstrations, and one of Turkey’s wealthiest families now has an army of tax inspectors digging through its accounts, apparently for giving refuge in a fancy hotel it owns to demonstrators escaping clouds of tear gas last summer. . . .

. . . . Turkey’s secular opposition, the Republican People’s Party, recently circulated a document titled, “Turkish government’s retaliation to Gezi,” in which it equated Mr. Erdogan to Machiavelli, and wrote, “the one-man government has initiated a ruthless campaign for retaliation against the persons involved in the Gezi movement.” Inside is a list of 77 journalists who were either fired or forced to resign, including Yavuz Baydar, who had been the ombudsman for the pro-government newspaper Sabah. . . .

. . . . Some critics and analysts say they have seen something more sinister: a rise in anti-Semitism, in a country with strained relations with Israel. In his fiery speeches during the protests, Mr. Erdogan blamed an assortment of foreign actors for the unrest, including the “interest rate lobby” — what many regarded as code for Jews — and “Zionists.” Some of Turkey’s Jews, a community of roughly 15,000, are emigrating because, according to a recent report in an English-language Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News, of “anti-Semitism, triggered by harsh statements from the Turkish government.”

Steven A. Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a longtime commentator on Turkish affairs, recently wrote, “Turkish political discourse is darker and the attacks on foreign observers of Turkish politics have become relentless.”

” ‘Unite Against Fascism’: Anti-Government Protesters Clash with Turkish Police” by Evrim Ergin, Humeyra Pamuk and Can Sezer; NBC News; 6/1/2013.

EXCERPT: . . . Crowds of protesters chanting “shoulder to shoulder against fascism” and “government resign” marched on Taksim, where hundreds were injured in clashes the day before. . . .

 


Discussion

13 comments for “Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Erdogan, Part 3”

  1. http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Internal-Islamist-feud-in-Turkey-threatens-stability-of-Erdogans-government-335671

    Internal Islamist feud in Turkey threatens stability of Erdogan’s government
    By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
    20/12/2013
    Rift between Turkish PM and US-based cleric weakens Erdogan, as the Gulen-dominated security forces he used to go after his enemies now target his allies.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is facing the greatest challenge to his rule since the protests that erupted in the summer in Gezi Park.

    Tensions from within his Islamist base have escalated and come out into the open.

    Istanbul’s powerful police chief was dismissed by the government on Thursday in what seems to be a response to an anti-corruption investigation striking at the heart of Turkey’s ruling elite and threatening the authority of Erdogan at home and abroad.

    Huseyin Capkin was the most senior commander so far to be sacked following the dismissal of dozens of senior officers on Wednesday over what Erdogan has termed a “dirty operation” to tarnish the government.

    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli spoke out against the dismissal of members of the police by the government, saying it demonstrated “panic” because of “feelings of guilt” by the government, as quoted by Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.

    Turkey’s judiciary and lawyers were upset when Erdogan’s government appointed two more prosecuters to take part in the investigation, saying the government was attempting to obstruct and interfere with the investigation, Today’s Zaman newspaper reported.

    The dismissal of senior police officers came after the police staged raids on Tuesday morning, detaining over 80 people.

    Scores of people including sons of three ministers and some prominent businessmen close to Erdogan have been detained in an action seen widely as symptom of a power struggle with a US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has set up a network of private schools stretching also to Europe, Asia and America and who wields influence in the police, judiciary, media, and within the Islamist AKP Party itself.

    Gulen’s Hizmet movement, long a close ally of Erdogan, has in recent months publicly fallen out with the prime minister over his plans to shut down private schools in Turkey, including those run by Hizmet.

    AKP member of parliament Hakan Sukur, a well-known follower of Gulen, quit the Party on Monday in protest over the prep school plans.

    Erdogan, still by far the most popular Turkish leader of modern times, said he would not tolerate corruption, but saw in the raids a conspiracy to “create a state within the state.”

    Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University, told the Jerusalem Post, “The Gulen movement has been critical of Erdogan for some time on issues such as growing authoritarianism, anti-Western orientation, and relations with Israel.”

    “The opening rift between them weakens Erdogan and the AKP. A big test is the upcoming municipal election in the spring,” said Inbar.

    If the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), along with other opposition parties, do well, they would be able to block AKP party initiatives.

    Erdogan will be ending his third term in 2015 and unless he has the numbers in parliament to extend the country’s term limits – beyond the current three terms – he may have to settle for running for president, a less powerful position.

    Erdogan’s party has been seeking to make constitutional changes that would keep him in charge of the country, but Gulen may throw a wrench into these plans.

    A coalition between Gulen’s more pragmatic supporters and the opposition, could force Erdogan to focus his energies and political capital on domestic politics, leaving less room for his aggressive neo-Ottoman foreign policy.

    “The events in Turkey suggest that what goes around comes around,” Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official told the Post.

    “Erdogan used the Gulen-dominated security forces to go after his enemies, but now that they’re targeting his allies, he’s whining like a toddler,” said Rubin.

    Rubin does not believe that the AKP Party will be toppled any time soon because they still have too many assets.

    “But the AKP-Gulenist rivalry might exacerbate splits in the party and lead Erdogan to face more internal challenges,” he said adding that “we already are seeing that with Bulent Arinc, his deputy, who is close to the Gulenist movement and is increasingly challenging Erdogan.”

    Rubin sees a chance that Erdogan ends up in prison or in exile in Saudi Arabia.

    “After all, Erdogan still has more than a dozen corruption cases against him pending, delayed only by his parliamentary immunity,” he said concluding, “What’s clear is that the illusion of invincibility that once surrounded Erdogan is crumbling.”

    Reuters contributed to this report.

    Posted by Vanfield | December 20, 2013, 9:39 am
  2. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/89647/Egypt/Politics-/Muslim-Brotherhood-Rabaa-channel-launched,-airing-.aspx

    Muslim Brotherhood ‘Rabaa’ channel launched, airing from Turkey

    Ahram Online , Saturday 21 Dec 2013
    New Muslim Brotherhood satellite channel opens hosting controversial Islamic scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

    The Muslim Brotherhood’s new satellite channel, “Rabaa,” launched Friday and is being aired from Turkey, reported Al-Ahram Arabic website.

    The channel is named after Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square, where hundreds were killed when security forces forcibly dispersed 14 August a sit-in held by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

    The channel’s sign is the four-finger Rabaa sign that Brotherhood and Morsi loyalists use in regular ongoing protests against what they describe as a “coup against the legtitimate president” in Egypt.

    Turkey has been a supporter of Morsi. Turkey and Egypt’s new interim authorities got into a row after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan flashed the Rabaa sign and made comments against the country’s post-Morsi administration. Egypt in response downgraded its diplomatic ties with Turkey.

    Morsi was ousted 3 July amid mass nationwide protests against his one year rule. General commander of the armed forces Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced in the presence of political party leaders and religious figures a new political roadmap to include amending the Islamist-drafted 2012 constitution followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.

    The Brotherhood’s January 25 channel, which was airing from Egypt, was closed by authorities upon Morsi’s ouster, together with several other religious channels, on allegations of incitement.

    The new Rabaa channel opened by hosting pro-Brotherhood Egyptian cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.

    Al-Qaradawi, a prominent Egyptian Islamic scholar close to the Muslim Brotherhood, has had a firm stand against the ouster of Morsi. He presented his resignation earlier last month from Al-Azhar’s Supreme Clerical Committee in defiance of what he considered as bias in the committee regarding political events in Egypt.

    Al-Qaradawi, who is currently based in Qatar, described Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb and other key leaders within the institution as supporters of “a military coup that raped the office of the Egyptian president.”

    Several Al-Azhar scholars had already called for his membership to be revoked after he made divisive comments attacking the institution and praising the Muslim Brotherhood.

    On 9 December, the Supreme Clerical Committee released a statement saying that its members had voted to accept Al-Qaradawi’s resignation. El-Tayyeb did not participate in the vote.

    Posted by Vanfield | December 24, 2013, 10:42 am
  3. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-gulen-set-for-battle-until-end-investigative-journalist.aspx?pageID=238&nID=59876&NewsCatID=339

    AKP, Gülen set for battle until end: Investigative journalist

    ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News December/20/2013
    Print Page Send to friend »

    The power struggle between Turkey’s ruling party and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement will not be stopped until one of them is brought down, prominent journalist Nedim Şener has said. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

    The power struggle between Turkey’s ruling party and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement will not be stopped until one of them is brought down, prominent journalist Nedim Şener has said. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

    Vercihan Ziflioğlu Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr

    The power struggle between Turkey’s ruling party and Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement will not be stopped until one of them is brought down, prominent journalist Nedim Şener has said.

    Dozens, including three ministers’ sons, a mayor and a state bank CEO, were detained as part of a gripping bribery and corruption investigation that became public on Dec. 17, in what is believed to be another chapter in the clash between ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Gülen movement (Cemaat).

    Following the investigation, the government shied from naming the Gülen movement, which has key members in Turkey’s justice and police system, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called it “a dirty operation” against his party and pointed the finger at “some circles inside and outside of Turkey.” Some pundits called the source of the operation as “a parallel state,” but Şener rejected the claim.

    “This is not a parallel state, but there is a secret entity within the state. The prime minister is also part of this entity, so is the Gülen movement. The two sides share the power,” Şener said.

    “This will not be an easy process,” the journalist said. “Either Cemaat will finish off the AKP, or the AKP will finish off them.”

    Şener, the writer of a 2009 book titled “Fethullah Gülen and Cemaat in Ergenekon,” was arrested in 2011 as part of the case of the OdaTV, online news portal known for its fierce criticism of government policies. As part of the case, which started during the police’s Ergenekon coup plot case investigations, Şener and another prominent journalist, Ahmet Şık, spent a year behind bars under arrest, drawing criticism from public.

    Şener claims his and Şık’s imprisonment were a result of the Gülen movement’s influence in the judiciary system, and that has also created a rift between the two sides.

    Şener says the clash between the AKP and the Gülen movement emerged after a raid on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla by Israeli soldiers in May 2010. It mounted with an investigation on the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) on Feb. 7, 2012, and blew into the open with the “dershane” crisis. The government wanted to close the private prep schools, called dershanes, many of which are owned by people with close links to the Gülen movement.

    “The dershane row was just a trigger. This operation officially started the war between the AKP and the Cemaat,” Şener said. “The Gülen movement wants to finish off Erdoğan, because they want an AKP without Erdoğan. The Gülen movement wanted to have a word in power. So far, Gülen and the AKP had a ‘united fate,’ as they call it. Together they made many injustices and they are indebted to each other. Once, the prime minister said, ‘We gave them whatever they wanted.’ The prime minister should explain this.”

    December/20/2013

    Posted by Vanfield | December 26, 2013, 9:55 pm
  4. http://www.dw.de/turkeys-parliament-adopts-controversial-internet-controls/a-17411213

    06.02.2014

    Turkey’s parliament adopts controversial internet controls

    Turkey’s parliament has approved controversial legislation that would tighten government control over the internet. Critics say it will limit freedom of expression, but the government insists it is to protect privacy.
    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government

    Turkish lawmakers adopted the new internet legislation late on Wednesday following hours of debate involving fierce objections from the opposition.

    The new law would allow a government agency, the Telecommunications Communications Presidency (TIB), to block websites without a prior court decision, if they are believed to violate privacy or contain content considered insulting.

    It would also force internet providers to keep retain users’ data records for two years. They would then be obliged to provide authorities with that information upon request without a court order and without notifying the user in question.

    The measures build upon existing internet restrictions introduced in 2007 that, according to a Google transparency report published in December, make Turkey equal to China as the world’s biggest web censor.

    Under the 2007 law, websites including blogging tool WordPress and video-sharing services DailyMotion and Vimeo have been blocked temporarily. YouTube was also blocked for two years until 2010.

    ‘Fascist’ measures

    Turkey’s parliament approved the draft bill in December, further angering anti-government protesters who have been out in force for several months in response to a corruption scandal that has drawn in several top political figures.

    Opposition politicians and critics have branded the latest legislation as censorship. They claim it is a fresh assault from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government on freedom of expression, press freedoms and access to information, particularly in light of recent protests.

    “When you came to power you talked of enhancing democracy in Turkey, Now you are trying to implement fascism,” opposition lawmaker Hasan Oren said as the debate opened on Wednesday.

    “Remember that Adolf Hitler used the same methods when he rose to power,” he added.

    Meanwhile the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists argued that the measures would “compound” Turkey’s already “dismal” lack of press freedoms.

    ‘No censorship’

    Erdogan’s government has dismissed opposition claims, however, asserting that the legislation is designed to protect privacy and does not amount to censorship.

    There is “no such thing as internet censorship. We are freer compared to many other countries and have freedom of press,” said Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.

    The new legislation is part of a package due to be approved by parliament on Thursday and signed into law by the president.

    Posted by Vanfield | February 6, 2014, 1:48 pm
  5. Erdogan just announced a purge:

    Turkish PM Erdogan tells enemies they will pay price after poll

    By Humeyra Pamuk and Ralph Boulton

    ANKARA/ISTANBUL Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:36pm EDT

    (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in local polls that had become a referendum on his rule and said he would “enter the lair” of enemies who have accused him of corruption and leaked state secrets. “They will pay for this,” he said.

    But while Erdogan’s AK Party was well ahead in overall votes after Sunday’s elections, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appeared close to seizing the capital Ankara.

    Erdogan, fighting the biggest challenge of his 12-year rule, addressed supporters from a balcony at AKP headquarters at the end of a long and bitter election campaign in which he has labeled his opponents “terrorists” and an “alliance of evil”.

    The harsh tone of his balcony address suggested he felt he now had a mandate for strong action against his enemies. “From tomorrow, there may be some who flee,” he said.

    The election campaign has been dominated by a power struggle between Erdogan and a moderate U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of using a network of followers in police and judiciary to fabricate graft accusations in an effort to topple him. Erdogan has purged thousands of police and hundreds of judges and prosecutors since anti-graft raids in December targeting businessmen close to him and sons of ministers.

    “We will enter their lair,” he said. “They will pay the price, they will be brought to account. How can you threaten national security?”

    NATO member Turkey, under Erdogan, was long held up as a model for a Muslim democracy and indeed the prime minister carried out many reforms that eased human rights and drove the economy. But since a crackdown on anti-government protests last June he has been accused of intolerance.

    “CLEANING UP”

    With more than two thirds of votes counted, AKP, in power since 2002, were winning between 43-47 percent of the vote, the opposition CHP trailing with 26-28 percent, according to Turkish television. If borne out, the result would be on the upper end of what Erdogan might have expected, although the race for Ankara was going down to the line.

    The CHP, Erdogan said, must look at itself in the mirror.

    “The old Turkey is no longer. The new Turkey is here,” he said, to cheers from supporters who shouted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest) and “Turkey is proud of you”. “Today is the victory day of the new Turkey, 77 million united…as brothers.”

    Erdogan, lacking his own trained personnel, filled government departments with Gulen supporters when he first was elected in 2002. Gulen, who runs a huge network of schools and businesses, is widely credited with having helped him break the army’s political power using his people in police and judiciary.

    But in recent years friction has grown between the two men and came to a head when Erdogan moved to curb his influence and close the schools that are a key sort of income and influence.

    Erdogan seems likely now to step up his drive against the followers of Gulen, who denies any wrongdoing. Criminal investigations and arrests could follow, especially after last Thursday’s leak of the meeting between spymaster Hakan Fidan, a close Erdogan confidante, and military and civilian chiefs.

    “Let me tell you, Erdogan’s response is coming,” said Tesev think-tank chairman Can Paker, seen as close to Erdogan.

    “He will harshly and fully clean up the police and judiciary. And he will purge the press that supported the leaks. He will most certainly do that. He will say ‘I was elected to eliminate them,’ he is not going to soften.”

    BLOW TO OPPOSITION

    The strong showing could embolden Erdogan to run in what will be the first popular election for the presidency in August. In doing so, he would take over a role that has been largely ceremonial, but with the aim of extending its powers.

    There would be some risks involved. Erdogan has described audio recordings anonymously posted on the Internet implicating him in corruption as “montage”, a manipulation. But he must reckon with further such postings in the run-up to the presidential race.

    His government has blocked access to both the social networking site Twitter and YouTube in moves condemned by Western governments and rights groups.

    He could also choose to run for a fourth term as prime minister in parliamentary elections next year.

    Sunday’s results will come as a bitter blow to the CHP.

    “It’s already clear from his speech this evening that he’s basically threatening society,” said Gursel Tekin, CHP Vice President. “This shows his state of mind isn’t to be trusted, and these obvious threats are not something that we can accept.”

    Erdogan formed AK in 2001, drawing nationalists and center-right economic reformers as well as religious conservatives who form his base. Since his 2011 poll victory he has moved more towards these core religious supporters he sees as having been “looked down upon” over generations by an urban secular elite.

    Whatever the scale of Erdogan’s victory, he will awake on Monday to a huge task in restoring control over the security apparatus of the country. Even in purging members of the police force he considers unreliable, he cannot be sure that the replacements he brings in are loyal.

    It will be interesting to see how this situation pans out.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 30, 2014, 5:23 pm
  6. http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news/cleveland-fbi-leads-investigation-of-charter-school-chain-1.494782#.U5dGYApKRCU.blogger

    Cleveland FBI leads investigation of charter school chain

    By Doug Livingston
    Beacon Journal education writer
    Published: June 10, 2014 – 12:51 PM

    Federal agents have raided 19 charter schools, including three in Ohio, where an FBI criminal investigation in Cleveland has led to search warrants in Indiana and Illinois over the past week.

    The 19 schools are managed by Concept Schools, a charter school operator headquartered near Chicago.

    Concept Schools, which emphasizes math and science, has been investigated previously by the U.S. Department of Labor for its use of foreign workers. Ohio audits found that public money for the schools had been used improperly for visas. Concept received more visas for immigrant workers than Google in 2009, and many of the school’s employees are of Turkish descent. Most of the nonprofit schools’ board members in Northeast Ohio are male and of Turkish descent.

    The company manages 19 charter schools in Ohio, second only to Texas with 44 such schools. There are nearly 140 charter schools, spread across 26 states, associated with Turkish Cleric Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric exiled from Turkey, living in Pennsylvania.

    The raid began last week as unmarked vans and agents seized documents from an Indiana charter school. The search warrants have been sealed.

    “Last Wednesday afternoon we executed some search warrants in conjunction with the [U.S.] Department of Education and the FCC [Federal Communications Commission],” said Vicki Anderson, a special agent with the FBI Cleveland office.

    “It is in regards to an ongoing white-collar crime investigation,” Anderson said, declining to divulge further details. “It’s a criminal ongoing investigation.”

    Anderson confirmed that raids on Concept Schools in Indiana and Illinois were “all based on the investigation in the Cleveland Field Division.”

    Katherine Beckwith, a spokesperson for Concept Schools operations in Indiana, released the following statement in response to the raid last week.

    “Earlier this week we were asked to provide information to U.S. Department of Education officials as part of a larger federal audit of e-rate technology grants. Those officials indicated they are auditing the funds dispersed to various schools to verify that work paid for with e-rate grants was completed as reported.”

    Anderson could not speak to the nature of the Indiana raid, or whether the audit also is part of the white-collar criminal investigation.

    She also could not confirm or deny any connection with previous investigations, which date back to 2011.

    A request for comment with Murat Efe, superintendent Concept Schools’ North Ohio Regional Office, was not returned Tuesday.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 11, 2014, 11:53 am
  7. If you are interested, please check on the link and check out the outlandish graphic that was posted on the Austrian FM’s website.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/austrian-fms-website-hacked-after-warning-erdogan.aspx?pageID=238&nID=67860&NewsCatID=338

    Austrian FM’s website hacked after ‘warning’ Turkish PM Erdoğan

    VIENNA – Anadolu Agency

    Turkish pro-government hackers have defaced Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz’s website, following his “warning” to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his upcoming visit to Vienna.

    “I warn Prime Minister Erdoğan explicitly: he should not introduce splits into Austrian society,” Kurz had told daily Österreich on June 13.

    Hacker group Cyber-Warrior Akıncılar (Raiders) attacked Kurz’s website on June 16, proceeding to post photos of Erdoğan alongside 16th century Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. The group also posted a message in three languages:

    “Austria foreign minister! Who do you think you are kiddy! You cannot decide how to talk to our prime minister! Erdoğan the prime minister is the grandson of ancestors who reached Vienna, the soil you’re walking on now! We are Akıncılar [Raiders], We are Ottomans, We are Turkey!.”

    Born in 1986, Kurz is Europe’s youngest foreign minister.

    Erdoğan is due in Vienna – home to many of Austria’s 250,000-strong Turkish community – on June 19. The visit is seen by many as a bid to win overseas votes for an expected run for the presidency in August.

    June/16/2014

    Posted by Vanfield | June 17, 2014, 2:13 pm
  8. Doesn’t Erdogan realized he’s not supposed to express admiration for Hitler until after he’s granted additional powers? Apparently not. Oops. It’s time for some bureaucratic bluster:

    The New York Times

    Turkey Says Hitler Comment by President Erdogan Was ‘Distorted’

    By CEYLAN YEGINSU

    JAN. 1, 2016

    ISTANBUL — Turkey issued a statement on Friday saying that comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — in which he cited Hitler in response to a question about whether a strong presidency was possible in Turkey — had been misinterpreted.

    Mr. Erdogan, who is pushing to imbue the largely ceremonial presidency with sweeping executive powers, told reporters late Thursday that “there are already examples in the world.”

    “You can see it when you look at Hitler’s Germany,” he said.

    Mr. Erdogan did not elaborate, but his comparison to Hitler drew immediate criticism because of what many view as his increasing authoritarianism. His comment also raised the issue of how the leader of one of the world’s most influential countries, an American ally and member of NATO, would mention Hitler in the context of his own tenure.

    On Friday, the office of the presidency said that “Erdogan’s ‘Hitler’s Germany metaphor’ has been distorted by media outlets and has been used in the opposite sense.”

    It said Mr. Erdogan had used the example to demonstrate that an executive presidency does not depend on a federal system of government.

    “If the system is abused, it may lead to bad management resulting in disasters as in Hitler’s Germany,” the statement said. “The important thing is to pursue fair management that serves the nation.”

    Mr. Erdogan became Turkey’s first popularly elected president in August 2014, having dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade as prime minister. Since assuming the new post, he has aggressively campaigned to rewrite the Turkish Constitution and establish an executive system of government.

    His consolidation of power has had a potent effect on Turkish society. Critics say Mr. Erdogan’s divisive rhetoric, in which he has denigrated opponents as terrorists or traitors, has helped polarize the country.

    A government crackdown on dissent — including a growing campaign of intimidation against the opposition news media, with a mob of his supporters attacking newspaper offices ahead of the November election — has raised concerns domestically and abroad about Turkey’s commitment to democracy.

    To change the Constitution, Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, which regained its parliamentary majority in November, needs support from opposition parties, who fear that such a system would consolidate too much power in Mr. Erdogan’s hands.

    Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, that a presidential system would not lead to a dictatorship.

    “What is right for Turkey is to adopt the presidential system in line with the democratic spirit,” he said in a television interview this week. “This system will not evolve into dictatorship, but if we do not have this spirit, even the parliamentary system can turn into this dictatorship.”

    In Turkey, reaction to his remarks was strong on social media.

    “now let’s do a close comparison of hitler and Erdogan,” one person wrote on Twitter. “The difference is that Hitler was a bit shorter.” That remark later appeared to have been deleted.

    People also shared an animated image of Mr. Erdogan’s face changing into Hitler’s.

    So Erdogan brings up Hitler’s government as an example of how his vision for a powerful presidency could operate. And following the uproar, the government issue statements about how Erdogan was actually referencing Nazi Germany as a warning of the potential abuses of power that could emerge from the constitutional changes Erdogan wants to happen.

    So, at best, Erdogan’s Hitler reference was an argument against the constitutional overhaul he’s long championed. At, at worse (and more likely), Erdogan actually things Hitler’s Germany is a great model to emulate. Well, Turkey can’t say it wasn’t warned.

    With that disturbing incident of foot-in-mouth syndrome in mind, it’s going to be extra interesting to see what happens to the people who shared an animated image of Mr. Erdogan’s face changing into Hitler. After all, the trial of Bilgin Çiftçi, the man who shared images comparing Erdogan to Gollum from the Lord of the Rings, is currently adjourned so experts to study whether or not being compared to Gollum actually qualifies as an insult (it’s a surprisingly nuanced question). So will the Hitler comparisons result in more trials for those that dare to insult Turkey’s wannabe Führer? Or, given Erdogan’s apparent attitudes towards Hitler’s Germany, would he even consider it an insult?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 1, 2016, 4:49 pm
  9. Here’s some good news/bad news for world travelers: If you’ve ever publicly insulted Erdogan and you’re planning a holiday in Turkey, the tickets should be a lot cheaper. You’re not going to need to buy return tickets. It’ll be a one way trip:

    Reuters

    Dutch journalist who criticized Erdogan held in Turkey: official

    ISTANBUL/AMSTERDAM | By David Dolan and Thomas Escritt
    Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:10am EDT

    A prominent Dutch journalist has been detained by Turkish police while on holiday, Dutch officials said on Sunday, a week after she criticized President Tayyip Erdogan in print for clamping down on dissent.

    Columnist Ebru Umar, who is of Turkish descent and an outspoken critic of Erdogan, was detained by police overnight in Turkey where she was on holiday. She tweeted on Sunday that she had been released but was not allowed to leave the country.

    In the free newspaper Metro last week, Umar called Erdogan a “dictator” and criticized a Turkish consular official in the Netherlands for asking all Turks there to report incidents of insults against Erdogan in the country. The call was widely criticized and later withdrawn.

    Erdogan is known for his readiness to take legal action over perceived slurs. At his behest, prosecutors in Germany are pursuing a comedian for mocking him. Critics say Erdogan uses the courts to stifle dissent.

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who joined the criticism of the Turkish official’s call, said he had spoken with Umar after her arrest. “Had telephone contact with Ebru Umar last night,” he said on his official Twitter account on Sunday.

    A Dutch foreign ministry spokesman said of her detention: “We are aware of this and we are following the situation closely. We are in contact with her.”

    “NO JOKE”

    On her official Twitter account, Umar tweeted overnight: “Police in front of the door. No joke.” She later tweeted that she was being taken to a police station in Kusadasi, a resort town on Turkey’s Aegean coast.

    “Free but under country arrest,” she said in a tweet on Sunday afternoon, her first since her arrest 15 hours earlier.

    Umer’s Twitter feed showed she had recently engaged in spirited exchanges with her critics on Twitter. She reposted a tweet from someone claiming to have reported her to the police.

    Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in jail, but the law had previously been invoked only rarely. Since Edogan became president in 2014, prosecutors have opened more than 1,800 cases against people for insulting him, the justice minister said last month.

    Those who have faced such suits include journalists, cartoonists, academics and even school children. Erdogan has said he is open to criticism, but draws the line at insults.

    Germany has decided to allow prosecutors to pursue a case against a German comedian who mocked Erdogan. This decision has angered many Germans, who see it as a sop by Chancellor Angela Merkel to an authoritarian leader.

    Born in The Hague to Turkish parents, Umar has been an outspoken critic of militant Islam, first in columns for the website of Theo van Gogh, who was murdered by a radical Islamist in 2004 after making films critical of the religion.

    Writing in Metro and the critical website GeenStijl, she has denounced headscarves, excessive noise from mosques and what she sees as excessive Dutch tolerance, attracting bulging bags of hate mail from furious critics.

    “In the free newspaper Metro last week, Umar called Erdogan a “dictator” and criticized a Turkish consular official in the Netherlands for asking all Turks there to report incidents of insults against Erdogan in the country. The call was widely criticized and later withdrawn.”
    Turkey is now an Erdogan-insult snitch state. That should do wonders for tourism. So does someone suffering from Hubris Syndrome consider it an insult to point out that they’re suffering from Hubris Syndrome? That seems like a medically relevant question at this point.

    And since the answer is probably “yes, they would consider that an insult and want you arrested”, you might want to keep any plans to finally discover and photograph Erdogan’s golden toilet of legend during your next trip to Turkey, you’ll probably want to keep that on the down low.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 24, 2016, 4:47 pm
  10. Here’s a development that sort of bodes well for Turkish and EU journalists fear prosecution over insulting Erdogan. But it also might end up making things worse: The European Commission agreed to a far-reaching deal granting Turkey’s citizen’s visa-free access to the Schengen Area in exchange for Turkey agreeing to take in a large number of refugees currently residing in the EU. But the Commission had also given Turkey a list of 72 conditions that had to be met before such a deal could be agreed to, and thus far Turkey hasn’t met five of those conditions. And one of those unmet conditions is an end to the persecution of journalists. So the EU is threatening to rescind this new agreement if Turkey doesn’t meet all of 72 conditions, but Turkey is threatening to unleash the refugee floodgates without the deal. And Erdogan obviously doesn’t want to end the persecution of journalists. Just imagine the mockery he’s earned at this point. It would be unrelenting and he’d probably have a psychological meltdown. And that’s just one of the conditions the EU set that Ankara just can’t bring itself to meet and it’s very possible that, in Erdogan’s mind, he’d rather just spitefully ditch the deal and send back the refugees than meet any of the unresolved EU demands.

    So it’s looking like the EU might soon find itself forced to choose between defending journalists and seeing a renewed refugee crisis, or throwing the journalists overboard in the hopes of avoiding a refugee flood. In addition, the EU Commission has a new scheme for ensuring that refugees will be distributed between EU states fairly in the case of a new crisis: EU countries that refuse to accept their refugee quotas will be fined €250,000 per refugee, which will be paid to one of the nations taking in more than its quota. And refugees that refuse to go to their assigned countries will also lose their refugee benefits. So if Erdogan does drop the deal over the Commission’s demands and the crisis surges again, the inter-EU conflicts over which member states will accept which refugees could take on a very different dynamic than the prior showdowns.

    So while it was hoped that this big EU/Turkey visa deal was going to have the effect of dissipating tensions within Europe and between the EU and Turkey, it’s looking like the opposite could end up happening. :

    The Telegraph

    Migrant deal at risk as MEPs cry foul over Turkish visa ‘blackmail’

    Matthew Holehouse, Brussels

    4 May 2016 • 5:36pm

    The EU’S fragile deal with Turkey to halt migrants is at risk of collapse on the eve of Britain’s referendum, after officials said the country should be awarded visa-free travel despite failing to pass major legal reforms.

    Members of the European Parliament reacted with fury and threatened to block the radical loosening of travel rules to grant free access to the Schengen zone for up to 75 million Turkish passport holders from June.

    The European Commission buckled under intense pressure from Ankara, which has threatened to “open the gates” and flood Europe with migrants during negotiations, and made the recommendation despite Ankara failing to meet five out of 72 long-standing reform conditions in time.

    In issuing the recommendation, the Commission said it “expects” Turkey meets the remaining goals that require new legislation. They include no longer designating opposition journalists and academics as terrorists, clamping down on corruption and preventing police forces from abusing personal data.

    If the travel deal is sunk, then Turkey is poised to immediately terminate a deal that has cut migrant boat crossings over the Aegean to a few dozen people a day. “The clock is ticking,” said an official.

    Manfred Weber, the leader of the biggest conservative bloc in the European Parliament, said it was “hard to understand” how the Commission could propose the move. “There must be no watering down of the rules.”

    Guy Verhofstadt, the liberal bloc leader, said he would oppose the deal until President Erdogan ends a “brutal clampdown” on journalists, including ending 1,800 Press prosecutions including that of German satirist Jan Boehmermann.

    “We have made ourselves dependent on Sultan Erdogan, which isn’t in Europe’s long term interests,” he said.

    Nigel Farage, who runs the eurosceptic EFDD group, said it was a “huge error of judgement” to cave to “blackmail”.

    Martin Schulz, the Parliament president, said no vote would happen until he had a written guarantee from the Commission that the reforms were passed.

    The Commission also unveiled a vast and draconian new regime to distribute migrants around the EU, that would be triggered if a country was overwhelmed in a new crisis.

    Countries that refuse a quota will be hit with fines of €250,000 per refugee, which will be paid to the overwhelmed country. Frans Timmermans, the first vice president, admitted it would be a “hell of a job” to get backing for the plan after fierce rows over quotas last September, led by eastern European states hostile to Muslim immigration.

    That quota scheme flopped, in part because many migrants are determined to reach Germany over poor eastern Europe, and so the new system proposes stripping entitlements to housing, food vouchers, schooling and work from refugees who refuse to go where they are allocated – a phenomenon Mr Timmermans dubbed “asylum shopping”.

    EU officials dismissed warnings the policy could violate the Charter on Fundamental Rights: “We are confident of the legality of the proposal.”

    The EU’s asylum computer database, which is used by Britain, will be overhauled to take biometric facial scans of all asylum seekers after it emerged some were deliberating ruining their fingertips to avoid registration during the scramble to reach Germany. The age for Eurodac scans will be cut from 14 to 6, amid growing concerns about young children becoming separated from their parents.

    Donald Tusk, the European Council president, fears the Turkey deal is an invitation to blackmail – and yesterday Niger asked for €1 billion from the EU to halt the flow over its border to Libya, a departure point for journeys to Italy.

    “We’ve solicited the help of the European Union, France and Germany,” said Ibrahim Yacoubou, the foreign minister.

    “In issuing the recommendation, the Commission said it “expects” Turkey meets the remaining goals that require new legislation. They include no longer designating opposition journalists and academics as terrorists, clamping down on corruption and preventing police forces from abusing personal data.”
    Those are the expectations. Whether or not they’re realistic expectations remains to be seen, although it’s not looking good

    Daily Sabah

    Turkey expects EU visa liberalization with absolutely no strings attached

    SENA ALKAN
    ISTANBUL
    Published 5/4/2016

    The European Commission is expected to declare today that Turkey has met all criteria for visa liberalization, but some EU sources say conditional approval is on the table. In comments to Daily Sabah Turkey’s EU deputy minister, said that Ankara will not accept conditional approval under any circumstance

    The European Commission is expected to declare today that Turkey has met the 72 benchmarks for visa liberalization that will allow Turkish citizens to travel in the Schengen zone without obtaining a visa now that all the EU’s criteria have been discussed and approved by Parliament. Touching on possible results of today’s European Commission report, Turkey’s EU Deputy Minister Ali Sahin said that Ankara will not accept conditional approval from the European Commission under any circumstance after speculation has circulated in some media outlets coming from EU sources. “We stated that Turkey does not accept conditional approval in various platforms.

    There is only one condition in this process, which is the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement signed in 2013 and approved in Turkish Parliament,” Sahin said, adding that Turkey has fulfilled all the criteria and the ball is now in the EU’s court. “Turkish people want to trust and believe in the EU. The process functions as a confidence vote in the EU. In the event of an unexpected result by the European Commission, Turkish people’s trust in the EU will be shaken.” When asked what the process would be if the European Commission approved visa liberalization, Sahin said if the commission finds that Turkey has met all the criteria, the approval process by European parliaments and EU member states will officially start.

    “The report by the commission will determine and shape the results from European Parliament and the European Council,” he said.

    He said that Ankara does not expect any failure in the process, stressed that even though there are some voices against visa liberalization and asserted that EU figures have complete clarity on the issue.

    When asked what will happen if the European Commission decides against dropping the visa requirement, Sahin said: “We never think of a negative decision, but it should not be forgotten that the EU needs Turkey as much as Turkey’s needs to the EU.”

    Referring to his meeting with the chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Elmar Brok, over irregular migration in Brussels, Sahin said: “I told Mr. Brok that if the EU accepts 3 million Syrian refugees, Turkey can immediately deliver financial aid that amounts to around 3 billion euros to the EU with no obligations or conditions attached.” He added that Turkish-EU relations are bilateral, not one-sided.

    Visa liberalization is part of a broad migrant deal between the 28-nation bloc and Turkey. Following the deal, Europe has seen a dramatic decrease in illegal migration and human trafficking. On some days, the Greek islands have reported that not a single migrant had arrived in the country from Turkey. Turkish officials warned their European colleagues several times that the migrant deal with the EU will fail if visa liberalization is not carried out.

    “Touching on possible results of today’s European Commission report, Turkey’s EU Deputy Minister Ali Sahin said that Ankara will not accept conditional approval from the European Commission under any circumstance after speculation has circulated in some media outlets coming from EU sources. “We stated that Turkey does not accept conditional approval in various platforms.
    Hmmm…it sounds like Turkey’s government isn’t interested in hearing any criticisms. At all. But we already knew that.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 4, 2016, 1:19 pm
  11. Turkeys Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigned follwing a surprise move by his AKP party strip him of powers to appoint provincial-level party officials in the midst of a deepening conflict between Davutoglu and Erdogan over Erdogan’s desires to overhaul Turkey’s constitution to give the President, current Erdogan, much more power. Davutoglu cited that move as the reason for his resignation, but also promised to not mention one negative word about Erdogan going forward. And observers are already declaring that Erdogan is basically the de facto one-man ruler of Turkey now, even without those constitutional changes in place. So it looks like Erdogan’s hubris syndrome is going to be a lot more difficult to manage going forward:

    The Washington Post

    Turkey’s prime minister resigns amid high-level rifts and deepening crises

    By Erin Cunningham
    May 5 at 2:31 PM

    ISTANBUL — Turkey’s prime minister resigned Thursday after a public rift with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, throwing the country’s politics into turmoil and paving the way for Erdogan to consolidate power at a time of domestic and regional crises.

    In an otherwise defiant speech in Ankara, the capital, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he would bow out of upcoming elections for leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The decision meant he would also step down as premier.

    “I decided to step down from my post,” Davutoglu said at the televised news conference, following a meeting with AKP’s central committee. The party, which Erdogan founded, has governed Turkey since 2002. Davutoglu has served as prime minister since 2014.

    “I have never negotiated or bargained with anyone” for any of my positions, Davutoglu said, hinting at recent divisions within the party. But “I am not planning to become a candidate in the upcoming [party] elections” on May 22.

    The move marks another potential step by Erdogan to weaken the country’s parliamentary system and establish a strong presidency, further cementing his authority. Erdogan has taken an increasingly hard line against perceived opponents, and the president’s relationship with Davutoglu also grew strained.

    Davutoglu, a former professor and foreign minister, reportedly was less enthusiastic about the push toward a stronger executive. And the two disagreed over many issues, such as economic policy and pretrial detention for dissidents. Erdogan has prosecuted scores for the crime of “insulting the president.”

    In a surprise move last week, the AKP stripped Davutoglu of his power to appoint provincial-level party officials. On Thursday, Davutoglu cited the blow as a key reason for his resignation, saying it was “not behavior I would expect from fellow colleagues.”

    “Having mandated [Davutoglu’s] resignation . . . Erdogan is now head of state, but also de-facto head of government and head of the AKP,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    Davutoglu was seen as a largely compliant AKP party chief and prime minister, but “that does not seem to have satisfied Erdogan’s urge to consolidate political power in his hands,” Cagaptay said.

    In addition to the latest political turmoil, Turkey faces numerous and overlapping crises, including a raging Kurdish insurgency, attacks from Islamic State militants and negotiations with the European Union over how to handle migration flows over the Aegean Sea. Turkey is a key U.S. ally in the war against the Islamic State.

    Davutoglu led the discussions with E.U. leaders to secure a deal under which migrants would be returned to Turkey in exchange for aid and visa-free travel for Turks in Europe. Turkey is now hosting nearly 2 million refugees, most of them from Syria.

    “It’s a bit too early to define if it will have implications and, in that case, of what kind,” E.U. foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, on a visit to Kosovo, said of Davutoglu’s resignation, the Reuters news agency reported.

    The Obama administration, too, saw Davutoglu as more of a collaborative realist than the prickly Erdogan.

    Davutoglu on Thursday said he will remain loyal to Erdogan and stay in the AKP as a deputy. “You will not hear one negative word from me about our president,” Davutoglu said, warning against “speculation” over deepening rifts.

    “Never before in this system has one person amassed so much power in his hands as Erdogan has,” Cagaptay said. “The risk that looms for Turkey here is the hollowing out of all institutions.”

    Erdogan’s consolidation of power will “render the country so brittle politically that when Erdogan leaves office one day, there will be nearly no institutions left standing to keep the country together,” he said.

    ““Having mandated [Davutoglu’s] resignation . . . Erdogan is now head of state, but also de-facto head of government and head of the AKP,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.”
    Yep. So now one of the countries that will be critical for any sane handling of both the crisis in Syria or the related flood of EU refugees is poised to become even more insane. And don’t forget that Erdogan’s ambitions go far beyond Turkey’s borders. A neo-Ottoman Empire is also on his to-do list. It’s all a highly unfortunate reminder that the Ring of Power isn’t casual wear.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 5, 2016, 1:10 pm
  12. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2016/07/20/50000-arrested-fired-suspended-in-Erdogans-post-coup-crackdown-in-Turkey/8981469009834/

    50,000 arrested, fired, suspended in Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown in Turkey

    By Andrew V. Pestano UPI July 20, 2016 at 6:57 AM

    ANKARA, Turkey, July 20 (UPI) — The Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now arrested, fired or suspended a total of more than 50,000 people in its post-coup d’etat attempt crackdown.

    Turkish media report that 15,200 teachers and other education staff have been fired; 1,577 university deans have been forced to resign; 8,777 interior ministry employees have been suspended or fired; 1,500 finance ministry staff have been fired; 257 employees of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s office have been fired; over 6,000 military personnel have been arrested; 9,000 police officers have been fired; and 3,000 judges have been suspended.
     
    The Turkish government has blamed Friday’s failed coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania in self-exile. The coup attempt left more than 232 people dead and 1,541 injured.

    The Turkish media regulation agency on Tuesday revoked the licenses of 24 radio and television channels on accusations of having links to Gulen.
    Turkey is increasing pressure on the United States to extradite Gulen, who said the accusations that he was behind the failed coup are “ridiculous.”

    “I urge the U.S. government to reject any effort to abuse the extradition process to carry out political vendettas,” he said in a statement.

    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Monday said any decision to extradite Gulen would be made under a shared treaty between the United States and Turkey.

    Meanwhile, state-run Anadolu Agency reported Wednesday that pro-coup soldiers who attacked a hotel where Erdogan and his family were vacationing said they were ordered to “capture an important terrorist leader.” About 40 special forces soldiers were airlifted into an airbase with the order to attack a resort where Erdogan was staying, anonymous security sources told Anadolu. Sources said the soldiers began to fly away from the base but were told of the coup attempt during the flight. It is unclear how many soldiers continued on with the attack.

    Posted by Anonymous | July 20, 2016, 3:55 am
  13. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36835340

    Turkey coup attempt: Who’s the target of Erdogan’s purge?
    By Paul Kirby July 20, 2016
    BBC News

    After the failed coup, the crackdown. The numbers of people arrested or thrown out of their jobs are eye-watering.
    From judges to teachers, civil servants to soldiers, the list is enormous.
    There are very real fears among Turks about what will come next.

    So who is being targeted and why?

    As soon as it became clear that the coup had failed, the crackdown began – first with the security forces, then spreading to Turkey’s entire civilian infrastructure. In the words of one Turkish columnist it was a “counter-coup” – a cleansing of the system, in the style of a coup, that had taken place in the past.

    The express aim of the president is to “cleanse all state institutions”. And the target is what he calls “the parallel state” – a movement headed by an arch-rival in self-imposed exile in the US, accused of plotting the coup.

    No-one really knows how extensive that movement is, but followers of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen are suspected of infiltrating some of the posts closest to the president, including chief military aide Ali Yazici and air force adviser Lt Col Erkan Kivrak,
    A “Gulenist clique” in the army was behind the coup, officials say. And they came so close, says the president, that they were within 10 or 15 minutes of assassinating or kidnapping him. More on the Gulenists later.

    Erdogan – Turkey’s ruthless president
    Who is being purged?

    The purge is so extensive that few believe it was not already planned. And there seems little chance that everyone on the list is a Gulenist.

    The sheer numbers are sobering. Some 9,000 people are in custody and many more are out of a job. Although accurate details are difficult to come by, this is the current list:
    7,500 soldiers have been detained, including 85 generals and admirals
    8,000 police have been removed from their posts and 1,000 arrested
    3,000 members of the judiciary, including 1,481 judges, have been suspended
    15,200 education ministry officials have lost their jobs
    21,000 private school teachers have had their licences revoked
    1,577 university deans (faculty heads) have been asked to resign
    1,500 finance ministry staff have been removed
    492 clerics, preachers and religious teachers have been fired
    393 social policy ministry staff have been dismissed
    257 prime minister’s office staff have been removed
    100 intelligence officials have been suspended

    The list may be incomplete because the situation is constantly changing. But it is clear that the purge has affected well over 58,000 people.

    Turkey’s purge
    Why education?
    President Erdogan has seen the rise of Islamic education in Turkey’s schools and universities as a personal mission.

    Since his Islamist-rooted party came to power in 2002, the number of children educated in segregated religious schools known as “Imam-Hatip” has soared by 90%. He has repeatedly said he wants to raise a “pious generation” and has reformed state education accordingly.

    Mr Erdogan sought to reverse the many closures of religious schools that came in the wake of Turkey’s last coup in 1997, which he compared to the cutting of an artery.

    They virtually severed our carotid artery. Can a person live when his artery is cut? No he cannot” – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
    Reuters
    He has also moved to shut down Gulenist-run schools outside Turkey. Reports from Romania say Turkish officials have told 11 to close, but the schools argue they fall under Romanian rather than Turkish jurisdiction.

    What is less clear is why university deans are also being targeted. The officials told to leave their posts are unlikely to be Gulenists. There is some suggestion that a revamp of Turkey’s 300 universities is being prepared.

    On Wednesday, Turkey’s higher education authority banned academics from travelling abroad and said anyone currently outside Turkey should return home.

    The curious case of Erdogan’s degree
    And why so many civil servants?

    This could hark back to a 2010 cheating scandal in Turkey’s civil service exams. When 3,227 were suspected of cheating because they scored top marks, the government suspected Gulenists.

    The post-coup purge may be the time to get rid of the suspected cheats.
    Another possibility is that the government is also weeding out opponents from Turkey’s Alevi community, which numbers some 15 million.

    Turkey’s ruling AKP is predominantly a Sunni Muslim party which gains support from an Islamist base. The Alevi sect combines elements of Shia Islam with pre-Islamic folk customs.

    What will Erdogan do next?
    There are deep suspicions and widespread fears of what the president is planning next. He is expected to make a major announcement on Wednesday.

    Some have compared the crackdown to the fallout of the military coup of 12 September 1980. But that resulted in executions and 600,000 detentions, so current events are far less dramatic.

    There seems little chance of martial law being declared, as the army is so deeply damaged by the botched coup.

    But emergency measures could be on the cards. Detention without charge could be extended and firing civil servants could be approved without the need for parliamentary approval.

    Will there be curfews? That seems unlikely when it suits the government to have supporters on the streets at night.

    Will the death penalty be reinstated 12 years after its abolition?

    Will Erdogan bring back death penalty?

    So who is his arch-rival anyway?

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declared aim is to root out followers of a former ally, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who became his arch-rival and went into self-imposed exile in the US in 1999.

    Fethullah Gulen has made a lot of enemies but he also has a large number of followers and they are accused of plotting the coup. Gulenists, who espouse a tolerant form of Islam, are thought to donate up to 20% of their income to the movement. They have roles in all sectors of Turkish society and local reports say some Gulenists have confessed to involvement in the attempted coup.

    The order, one follower was quoted as saying, came from a civilian teacher known as Big Brother.

    Exactly who is a Gulenist is very hard to assess, but President Erdogan blamed the movement for damaging corruption allegations that entangled the sons of several Turkish ministers in 2013.

    Posted by Anonymous | July 20, 2016, 4:03 am

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