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OP'PRESS'ION | Turkey

Other | Wednesday 20th July 2016 | Arren

The failed military coup shocked the world on July 15th. On the midsummer night a faction from the Turkish army tried to overthrow the government. It came out of the blue, but in reality it was just the tip in on-going political tensions in Turkey.

Fear and anger has been rising in Turkey's political sphere. Whilst some Turks strongly back President Erdoğan, there are many who oppose him and his increasingly authoritarian style.

Shortly after Erdoğan's election into office the negotiations between Turkey and the PKY, the Kurdish militants, came to an abrupt end. A huge wave of nationalism swept across the country and those ainst Erdoğan's government took were forced underground. Problems have been rising in minority groups in Turkey as Erdoğan's increasingly authoritarian views and rhetoric is polarising the country and creating deeper ethnic tensions. 

This has seen the political and social spheres in Turkey becoming increasingly unstable. Over the past year several bomb attacks have crippled the country whilst Erdoğan clamps down harder and harder on anyone who oppose his government or ideology. 

These tensions hit boiling point in July as a faction from the Turkish army rolled into major cities across the country and declared martial law. They blocked the Bosphorus bridge, took brief control of Ataturk airport and bombed government offices in Ankara. They also stormed TV stations and media outlets and it's reported in some cases forced reporters to claim victory for the coup at gun point. 

The coup failed after civilians took to the streets, heeding Erdoğan's orders fight against the attempted takeover. After a long and bloody night the military stood down amid overwhelming support for government. 700 military officers  were arrested with Erdoğan saying the coup was a 'gift from God' so he could cleanse the army, adding that they'll 'pay a heavy price for the betrayal of the motherland'.

Pre-coup around 2,000 Turkish people have been arrested for 'insulting the president'. Within these are human right's activists, journalists, lawyers - even two teenagers have been detained in relation to anti-government messages posted on their Facebook accounts. Mean while the government has clashed a lot with LBGT activists - banning pride marches and using tear gas against them at demonstrations. 

There is now expected to be another wave of arrests from the government in relation to the coup and it's journalists and reporters who are mainly expected to be detained. A travel ban on academics has been imposed to prevent them meeting with coup plotters. 2,800 soldiers have been arrested since the coup, 2,700 judges dismissed. Even the death penalty is back on the cards after thousands of Erdoğan's supports were chanting for it.  It's feared now that the failed coup see Erdoğan really stamp his authority down by choking the press and arresting critics.

Has freedom of speech in Turkey become an act of terrorism against the state?

 

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