What in the world is happening in Turkey?July 22, 2016
What in the world is happening in Turkey?
Last Friday, an attempted military coup in Turkey failed. In response, Turkey’s President Erdogan is working to consolidate power and snuff out political dissent. He and his allies are “purging” the government of anyone he thinks supported the coup or sympathize with its organizers. So far that means some 50,000 military brass, government workers, police, educators have lost their jobs or been suspended. They’re censoring the media and forbidding foreign travel. A state of emergency has been declared and today they announced that they’ve suspended the European Convention on Human Rights.
There are questions about the stability of Turkey, and how this unrest will impact the fight to stop ISIS spreading in the region.
Joseph Loconte, professor at King’s College and Providence Magazine shed some light into the situation. Some excerpts of our conversation, edited for clarity. Listen to entire show below.
What should we know?
We can expect the increasing fracturing of Turkish society. For the last 14 years, Turkey’s President Erdogan and the AKP party has taken a toll on the country, on the civil liberties. We’ve seen the erosion of the rule of law even before this coup attempt. We’ve seen a clamp down on critical media, demonization of political enemies and the increasing Islamization imposed on Turkey’s secular democracy.
Why should we care?
Now with this coup attempt failing it gives President Erdogan the perfect opportunity to eliminate any possible or suspected political opposition, democratic or otherwise. It is a a very difficult and dangerous situation for an extremely important NATO ally, which is critical to the US and our fight against ISIS.
This is a strategical nation in NATO, bordering Syria. The US has used their air base to launch airstrikes against ISIS.
But the good news is, democratic institutions have taken root in Turkey, and those who have seen the process work, are not ready to go “quietly in the night” with the latest clampdown by Erdogan.
Listen to entire interview (begins at 25:00 point):
Photo credit of Istanbul: Pedro Szekely