While it doesn’t attract all that much press attention in the rest of the world, there is still (somehow) an active and vocal opposition group in Turkey which opposes the rise to absolute power and tyrannical control of the population being demonstrated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That’s a dangerous line of work these days as we’ve seen repeatedly, but there are still politicians out there taking a stand. This weekend one of them concluded a walk of nearly three hundred miles to Istanbul which took almost a month and his supporters gave him a warm greeting. (Time)
Addressing huge throngs of people at a rally in Istanbul on Sunday, the leader of Turkey’s mainstream opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, issued a thunderous demand for an end to an ongoing government crackdown under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The rally represented the largest public display of opposition to the clampdown Erdogan’s government since he survived a failed military coup attempt nearly a year ago. More than 47,000 people have been detained since the government suppressed the attempt seize power by a faction of the armed forces on July 15, 2016.
“This the era of dictatorship. This is the era of 1940s Germany,” said Kilicdaroglu, addressing a huge throng of demonstrators at a parade grounds along the Sea of Marmara. “With this rally we witness that we are not alone. Each one of us represents hope,” he also said.
Comparisons to Hitler are frequently overblown (particularly on social media) but in this case the analogy is rather apt, at least to a degree. Time Magazine also provides this brief video which includes a number of shots of not only the march, but the unrest and government abuse which has been going on. (You don’t need the sound on for this one as it has subtitles.)
One might think that with this level of public protests and calls for the release of political prisoners, including policemen, judges and educators at major universities, that the Tyrant of Turkey might ease up a bit with the iron fist. If so, one would also be ignorant of Erdogan’s style to date. In fact, he turned around and doubled down, arresting nearly fifty more university professors who were deemed enemies of the state. (Associated Press)
Turkey’s official news agency says police have detained 42 people, including academics, for alleged links to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric less than a week before the anniversary of the failed coup.
Anadolu news agency said the operations Monday targeted people working at Turkey’s Bogazici and Medeniyet University. Prominent Bogazici academic and government critic, Koray Caliskan, and 19 professors from Medeniyet’s medical school are among the detained.
And what was the pretense offered to explain these arrests? Once again, the professors were found “guilty” of having an encrypted mobile messaging application on their cell phones. The government isn’t even claiming that they’re able to break the encryption or spy on the messages, but the very presence of the app on the phone is apparently “proof” enough that they are communicating with agents of Fethullah Gulen, who is still living in Pennsylvania last I checked.
We’re not seeing any signs of progress on the part of the resistance in Turkey. At this point there seems to be little that will slow Erdogan down unless he runs out of room in his dungeons. But even then, the “detained” clerics, police officers, professors and soldiers will likely just be put to work building more.