Tag Archives: Turkey

Turkey Descends Into Dictatorship

Totalitarianism is advancing as democracy retreats.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s push for an executive presidency succeeded with 51.4% voting for it.

The win was met with both celebrations and protests across Turkey.

[…]

What’s in the new constitution?

  • The president will have a five-year tenure, for a maximum of two terms
  • The president will be able to directly appoint top public officials, including ministers and one or several vice-presidents
  • The job of prime minister will be scrapped
  • The president will have power to intervene in the judiciary, which Mr Erdogan has accused of being influenced by Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based preacher he blames for the failed coup in July
  • The president will decide whether or not impose a state of emergency
Grey line

Mr Erdogan says the changes are needed to address Turkey’s security challenges after last July’s attempted coup, and to avoid the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The new system, he argues, will resemble those in France and the US and will bring calm in a time of turmoil marked by a Kurdish insurgency, Islamist militancy and conflict in neighbouring Syria, which has led to a huge refugee influx.

Critics of the changes fear the move will make the president’s position too powerful, arguing that it amounts to one-man rule, without the checks and balances of other presidential systems such as those in France and the US.

Ruling Party In Turkey Continues to Consolidate Power

Sad to see this happen.

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s parliament has approved key measures allowing the president to be a member of a political party and issue decrees, part of a constitutional reform the opposition says will fuel authoritarianism.

The ruling AK Party, backed by the nationalist MHP, is pushing through legislation that President Tayyip Erdogan says will bring strong executive leadership needed to prevent a return to the fragile coalition governments of the past.

The three articles approved overnight set out parliament’s supervisory role, enable the president to retain ties with a political party and detail the president’s executive powers as head of state, including the power to issue decrees.

Turkey Continues Crackdown

I remain convinced that the July coup was staged as an excuse for the government to move to dictatorship.

Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey on Saturday ordered the dismissal of almost 8,400 civil servants and the closure of over 80 associations, including sports clubs, in the latest round of purges after the July failed coup.

More than 100,000 people have already been suspended or sacked in a crackdown on those alleged to have links to coup-plotters in a relentless purge that shows no sign of slowing.

According to three new decrees published within the state of emergency imposed after the coup, 8,390 more civil servants are to lose their jobs from 63 different state institutions.

They include 2,687 police officers, 1,699 civil servants from the justice ministry, 838 health officials and hundreds of employees from other ministries.

Another 631 academics and eight members of the Council of State were also dismissed.

The dismissals are authorised by the cabinet and require no parliamentary approval under the state of emergency, which has twice been extended and is now due to last until April 19.

Turkey Purge Continues Apace

The purge is proving far more destructive than the coup. As I said before, it’s looking more and more like the coup was staged as a pretense for what is happening now.

Ankara (AFP) – Turkey faced fresh accusations it was flouting the rule of law with its purge of 50,000 people after an attempted coup, as the president gathered security chiefs Wednesday for the first time since the putsch.

Authorities have rounded up or sacked tens of thousands of police, judges, teachers and other civil servants from across the state bureaucracy in the aftermath of Friday’s failed bid to seize power by disgruntled elements in the military.

But the purge has sparked an outpouring of global concern with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman saying: “nearly every day we are seeing new measures that flout the rule of law and that disregard the principle of proportionality.”

Alleged Coup Leader Denies Role

Hmmmm

A former air force commander has denied being a ringleader of Friday’s attempted military coup in Turkey.

Gen Akin Ozturk and 26 senior officers were charged with treason and remanded in custody by a court on Monday, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

But in a statement to prosecutors, the general insisted: “I am not the person who planned or led the coup.”

Anadolu had earlier quoted him as telling interrogators that he had “acted with intention to stage a coup”.

Officials have blamed the unrest, which killed at least 232 people and wounded 1,400, on the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and the “parallel structure” they say he has formed to topple the government.

“I don’t know who planned or directed it. According to my experiences, I think that the [Gulen movement] attempted this coup,” Gen Ozturk was quoted as telling prosecutors by Anadolu before appearing in court in Ankara.

“But I cannot tell who within the armed forces organised and carried it out. I have no information. I have fought against this structure.”

This alleged coup attempt is smelling stranger and stranger. Since when is there a coup without a leader proclaiming his or her cause to attract support? And it was crushed so quickly… I’m beginning to suspect that the whole thing was staged by the government as an excuse to purge their opposition. Then again, maybe it’s just late and time for me to go to bed.

Turkish Coup Fails. Purge Begins.

Look for the Turkish government to use this to purge all opposition and take Turkey further toward totalitarianism.

Some 2,839 soldiers, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested after an attempted coup that is now over, says Turkey’s PM Binali Yildirim.

The attempted coup was a “black stain on Turkish democracy”, he said, with 161 civilians killed and 1,440 wounded.

Those held include two army generals, Turkish media say.

Explosions and firing were heard in key cities on Friday night and thousands heeded a call by President Erdogan to rise up against the coup-plotters.

It is unclear who was behind the coup.

The authorities also said 104 suspected coup-plotters had also been killed.

Some 2,745 Turkish judges have also been dismissed in the wake of the coup, state media say.

Revolt in Turkey

Oh my

(CNN)Some Turkish military units have attempted an uprising that will be not allowed to succeed, the country’s prime minister said late Friday in a phone interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber.

A report from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said military-appearing jets had been flying low over the city and over Istanbul for about an hour.
Two bridges in Istanbul are closed in one direction by the military.
More fuel to the fire in the Middle East.

Putin Attacks Turkey

Rhetorically… for now.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has used crude language in a furious new attack on Turkey over the downing of a Russian combat jet last month.

The incident on the Syria-Turkey border was a “hostile act” but Russia was “not the country” to run away, he told his annual news conference.

“The Turks”, he said, had “decided to lick the Americans in a certain place”.

There was, he said, a “creeping Islamisation of Turkey that would have Ataturk rolling in his grave”.

The remark appeared to be aimed at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose AKP party, with its Islamist roots, has been accused of seeking to dismantle the secular state founded by Kemal Ataturk.

Turkey Failing to Control Borders

Does anyone else think it is a wee bit hypocritical for the U.S. to criticize Turkey for failing to control its borders?

US defence secretary Ashton Carter later said Turkey had to do more to combat Islamic State militants , saying it had not effectively controlled its borders to stop the movement of IS fighters.

Perhaps Turkey should be offering IS fighters a path to citizenship. Aren’t they just looking for a better life?

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Fighter

Well, that escalated quickly.

ANKARA/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday after repeated warnings over air space violations, but Moscow said it could prove the jet had not left Syrian air space.

It was the first time a NATO member’s armed forces have downed a Russian or Soviet military aircraft since the 1950s and Russian and Turkish assets fell on fears of an escalation between the former Cold War enemies.

A Kremlin spokesman said it was a “very serious incident” but that it was too early to draw conclusions.

Footage from private Turkish broadcaster Haberturk TV showed the warplane going down in flames in a woodland area, a long plume of smoke trailing behind it. The plane went down in area known by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”, it said.