07/14/2017, 15.36

One year after the "coup" arrests and purges continue under the reign of "Sultan" Erdoğan

The repression campaign that began after the coup d'état of 15 July 2016 continues. More than 50,000 people have been arrested, 120,000 detained, and 170,000 investigated. The pilot who saved the president on the night of the coup lost his job. The government launched official celebration centred on nationalism and the cult of Erdoğan personality.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – One year after Turkey’s failed coup on 14-15 July 2016, when the power President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wavered, the campaign of repression against real or imaginary plotters and supporters continues.

According to Turkey’s Justice Ministry, some 50,510 people have been arrested on coup charges, more than 120,000 have been detained, and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings since the failed coup a year ago.

According to data released by the Justice Ministry on Thursday, there are outstanding detention warrants for 8,087 individuals, including 152 military officers, 392 police officers, and 3 governors. Among the arrestees are 169 generals, 7,089 colonels and 24 governors.

A total of 2,431 members of the Turkish judiciary are among those arrested, whilst 265 of them are at large. A total of 4,521 judges and prosecutors were dismissed from their jobs.

No segment of Turkish society has been spared by the repression that followed the coup: journalists, intellectuals, professors, soldiers, government officials, judges, doctors, athletes, business people, and ordinary citizens.

The usually spurious accusations behind the arrests or investigations include membership in Kurdish "terrorist" groups or affiliation with the movement led by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, currently in exile in Pennsylvania (United States).

According to Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the latter masterminded the coup in which 270 people were killed and thousands wounded.

Once an Erdoğan ally, the Islamic leader has always denied any responsibility and has called for an international probe to shed light on the coup and the forces that inspired it.

Meanwhile, in recent months, the president – who has called the coup attempt “a gift from God” – won a referendum making Turkey a presidential republic with a slim majority and under the cloud of electoral fraud. Today he sees himself as the nation’s strongman.

At least 78 people were detained in an Antalya-based operation against the Gülen movement on Thursday. In fact, they were raising money for the relatives of people who had already been arrested for allegedly membership in the now banned movement. Hundreds of arrest warrants were issued for people in other eight provinces.

According to the Turkeypurge website (which documents arrests and repression in the country), Barış Yurtseven also lost his job. He is the pilot of the plane that saved President Erdoğan in the mad night of the failed coup, taking him from Dalaman to İstanbul.

The pilot was fired in February by Turkish Airlines after 20 years of service over alleged links to the Gülen movement, but the story came to light recently when he applied for a job at another airline.

His fault was that he tried to deposit money in a bank that the authorities had recently closed because of suspected of ties to the plotters.

Because he left on the transponder of the presidential plane the night of the coup, allowing its detection, he was thoroughly investigated, but no evidence was found linking him to the Gülen movement.

On Tuesday, Turkish authorities kicked off a week of celebrations to mark the coup, with an opening ceremony and a presidential visit to two figures who lost their lives that night (Sergeant Ömer Halisdemir and Erdoğan’s adviser Erol Olçok).

Lectures, exhibitions, and meetings are planned for the week. A special prayer will take place in 81 mosques throughout the country.

President Erdoğan will close the week of remembrance with a speech to Parliament. A "vigil for democracy" will be held in Istanbul, followed by a "march for national unity" on the Bosphorus and the inauguration of a monument dedicated to resistance.

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