The purge in Turkey continues:
Turkey’s authorities have issued detention warrants for 42 journalists, local media say, as part of an inquiry into the failed coup on 15 July.
Prominent commentator Nazli Ilicak is said to be on the list. Ankara has not publicly commented on the claim.
The authorities have already detained or placed under investigation thousands of soldiers, judges and civil servants.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to purge state bodies of the “virus” he says caused the revolt…
Speaking of journalists, I’ve been impressed by how little journalists seem to know about what’s going on in Turkey at this point. It’s not that I know what’s going on there, either; it’s just that MSM journalists often seem to ignore the many successful grabs for increased power that Erdogan has been making during the past few years, as though none of it has much importance and all of this is presently occurring in a vacuum.
Very often the story reads that Erdogan is the “democratically elected leader” of Turkey, and ignores the fact that he was barred from running for the powerful PM office because of term limits, and then got around that rule by running for the figurehead president’s office and then took on greatly increased powers that are not supposed to go with that position. Erdogan’s forcing out of the actual PM and replacing him with a figurehead who is under Erdogan’s thumb—how many MSM articles even mention any of that at this point?
And then there’s the question of the origins and purposes of the coup. This BBC article is so tentative and speculative about who was behind the coup that you can’t help but think they’re just guessing. And that’s not just the BBC, either; most of the articles on the subject don’t seem to know a thing more than this:
It looks as if the coup attempt of 15 July was staged mainly by the gendarmerie and air force personnel.
Key parts of the military fiercely condemned the coup attempt. The chief of the armed forces and two generals from the naval forces were reportedly taken hostage by the junta.
The armed forces chief has reportedly been released, but the whereabouts of the naval generals is still unknown.
There are several theories as to who was behind this failed coup attempt.
One theory suggests it was a “false flag” event staged by President Erdogan to gain more power, but common sense dictates the event went too far to be a false flag.
Another theory embraced by the Kurdish movement is that Kemalists – secular followers of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – in the army tricked the Gulenists into staging a coup. They knew it would fail and that it would lead to a long-awaited cleansing of Gulenists from the military.
Another theory stems from a police source, who said that the AKP government had been planning to arrest Gulen-supporting army officials on 16 July. The source claims that when the coup-plotters learned about this, they went ahead and initiated the coup earlier than planned – hence the sloppiness.
President Erdogan and his ministers blame the Gulen movement for the coup, and say that this attempt is the group’s last gasp.
He may be right, but there is a lot that does not add up.
Firstly, using violence – let alone staging a coup – is not the Gulen movement’s typical modus operandi.
There’s a lot that doesn’t add up, all right.
What does appear to be true is that the Erdogan government had purged the military even before any of this happened, and did it with the help of the Gulenist group that Erdogan now accuses of engineering the coup against him. With the military gone, now the Erdogan faction and the Gulenists may be fighting for the right to control the leavings.
This has a familiar ring. Purges are what the left does when it ascends to power. It’s also what the Nazis did, what Saddam Hussein did, what Khomeini did, and on and on and on. Hitler’s Knight of the Long Knives is an especially famous and bloodcurdling example:
The Night of the Long Knives…was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political extra-judicial executions intended to consolidate Hitler’s absolute hold on power in Germany. Many of those killed were leaders of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Nazis’ own paramilitary Brownshirts organization; the best-known victim was Ernst Röhm, the SA’s leader and one of Hitler’s longtime supporters and allies. Leading members of the left-wing Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), along with its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were also killed, as were prominent conservative anti-Nazis (such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Adolf Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in 1923).
Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power. Hitler also wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the official German military who feared and despised the SA—in particular…
At least 85 people died during the purge, although the final death toll may have been in the hundreds, and more than a thousand perceived opponents were arrested.
In terms of numbers, Erdogan is going Hitler one better, although it’s possible he won’t go the fully bloody killing route (don’t be surprised if he does, though, at least for some, and we don’t hear too much about it).
As for Khomeini:
In a talk at the Fayzieah School in Qom, 30 August 1979, Khomeini warned pro-imperialist opponents: “Those who are trying to bring corruption and destruction to our country in the name of democracy will be oppressed. They are worse than Bani-Ghorizeh Jews, and they must be hanged. We will oppress them by God’s order and God’s call to prayer.”
The Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his family left Iran and escaped harm, but hundreds of former members of the overthrown monarchy and military met their end in firing squads, with exiled critics complaining of “secrecy, vagueness of the charges, the absence of defense lawyers or juries”, or the opportunity of the accused “to defend themselves.” In later years these were followed in larger numbers by the erstwhile revolutionary allies of Khomeini’s movement—Marxists and socialists, mostly university students—who opposed the theocratic regime. Following the 1981 Hafte Tir bombing, Ayatollah Khomeini declared the Mojahedin and anyone violently opposed to the government, “enemies of God” and pursued a mass campaign against members of the Mojahedin, Fadaiyan, and Tudeh parties as well as their families, close friends, and even anyone who was accused of counterrevolutionary behavior.
Sound familiar? Such up-and-coming dictators consolidate their power by either engineering a crisis or using an already-existent crisis (the anti-Erdogan coup might have been either) to justify conducting the purge. And then there’s the dictator’s goal—which in Erdogan’s case is Islamist and personal domination of the once-secular republic [sic] of Turkey.
[NOTE: After I completed writing this post, and just as I was about to publish it, I saw this post at Legal Insurrection, which goes into some of the details about the detainees:
So far [Erdogan] has shut down 131 media outlets and purged 50,000 people. Authorities have arrested 18,044 people.
The post quotes Reuters thusly:
“…[T]he list includes journalists, such as Sahin Alpay, known for their leftist activism who do not share the religious worldview of the Gulenist movement. This has fueled the concerns that the investigation may be turning into a witch-hunt of the president’s political opponents.”
“May be turning”? That would be funny if it weren’t so serious.]