This Sunday, July 15th, Turkey commemorated the second anniversary of the attempted coup against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it left 248 defenders of the regime dead and nearly 2,200 wounded, at least 35 coup plotters were also killed.
Ali Erbas, the head of religious affairs, prayed for the defenders saying they stood against “traitors who are the pawns of foreign powers”, states Japan Times.
After his victory in the election on July 8th, immediately after being sworn in with extended powers, President Erdogan issued a decree firing 18 632 state employees for allegedly being connected to terrorist groups, they will also be forced to reside within Turkey due to their passports being rescinded. With his swearing in Turkey officially transitioned from a parliamentary model to an all-powerful presidency.
These firings come after a still ongoing state of emergency which has left around 110,000 people fired by emergency decrees in the two-year period. The larger crackdown the firings are part of has led to the arrest of nearly 50,000 people. Many of the arrested are still awaiting trial for relations to terrorist groups connected to the coup. Almost 9,000 police employees have been fired, with army soldiers coming second with nearly 3,100, the Air Force and Navy has also lost more than 1,900 and 1,100 employees respectively, whereas more than 1,000 civil servants in the Justice ministry have also lost their jobs and finally the academic staff that has been let go is almost 200 people. These statistics are accurate as of July 8th 2018, and their source is Mail and Guardian.
According to Anatolia, Turkey’s State News Agency – more than 1,600 people have been sentenced to life in prison for their perceived role in the coup, while more than 140 000 civil servants have so far been fired.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey has “cut off the arms of the octopus the cursed in Pennsylvania grew with hypocrisy, tricks, lies and within big secrecy,” quotes the Washington Post from the lunch organized for the families of the victims of the coup. The president’s statement refers to Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Islamic preacher blamed for standing behind the coup. Furthermore, Erdogan claims that the government has deconstructed Gulen’s network within the country’s public and private sectors.
Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül has come out with a statement that Turkey’s two-year state of emergency has come an end, Hurriyet daily news reports. Furthermore, the reports dubs July 18th as the date of lifting, however a confirmation of the specific date is yet to happen. Gül also said that “the state of emergency will end within a few days. However, ending the state of emergency should not be deemed as ending the struggle [against terrorism.] The fight against terrorism, the most persistent and determined fight against all kinds of terrorism, especially the Fetullahist Terrorist Organisation [FETÖ], will continue till the end.” This proclamation happened at the International Struggle Against Coup and July 15 Symposium held in Istanbul on July 16th.
Regarding the commemoration of the anniversary U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauer, despite disagreeing about Gulen is quoted by Radio Free Europe that the coup was “an attack on democracy and a stark reminder that the preservation of democracy requires perseverance and safeguards for fundamental freedoms.”
At the commemorative lunch Erdogan said that they remembered who their friends were at difficult times and that the Turkish people have a good memory. “We might not keep talking about what happened, but we will never forget” he also stated.
Early Sunday morning Erdogan issued seven decrees to reshape several public institutions such as – placing the army’s General Staff under the National Defense Ministry and him personally appointing Hulusi Akar, the chief of general staff as National Defense Minister.
This anniversary marks the beginning of “New Turkey” which will be much more Islamist, nationalist and authoritarian. Turkey is not very united at the moment, just as the presidential vote showed, as well as the protests preceding it. President Erdogan won with 52.59%, which put him in a large lead ahead of his biggest competitor Muharrem İnce, who had 30.64% of the electorate. That is a large difference, however keeping in mind that the other 4 candidates share the remaining 16.77% it shows that nearly half of the people who voted in Turkey are not represented in the face of the elected President. This may provide grounds for future political instability within the country.