The beginning of the purge in Turkey didn't take long at all

It seems like only yesterday when we were pondering whether or not Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would use the recent, failed military coup as an excuse to begin a purge of dissidents who oppose his administration. (Oh, wait… it was only yesterday.) If any of you felt that this was needless hyperbole at the time, wonder no more. It appears that the purge was underway before the state run media could even get their cameras turned back on. (CNN)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made clear he will show no mercy.

Just days after a failed military coup that broke out into deadly violence, talks of reintroducing the death penalty have revived and more than 7,000 people have been arrested, many of whom were detained in horse stables, stripped to the waist in humiliation.

Erdogan is wasting no time to “cleanse” the country’s security forces of “viruses,” as he put it, vowing that those behind the attempt to overthrow his government “will pay a very heavy price for this act of treason.”

Since a picture is worth a thousand words (or in this case, far more) here’s a peek at some of the more than 7,000 people who were rounded up in the first 36 hours.


Does that look familiar to any of you who saw the evidence dragged out of the regimes of previous tyrants after they were overthrown? This is apparently “justice” in the democratically elected government of Turkey which Barack Obama, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton were so eager to make sure you all supported. Of course, our Secretary of State was quick to point out to Erdogan how important it was to maintain democratic principles after the coup, so I’m sure that will cool his jets completely.

It’s not just the military that Turkey’s president is going after, nor even rank and file civilians who may be on record as disagreeing with him. Erdogan quickly moved to take out members of the police who he didn’t feel were sufficiently enthusiastic about his control of the country. (Washington Post)

Turkey intensified a crackdown Monday on people allegedly linked to a failed coup plot, sacking more than 8,000 police in what U.S. and other Western officials fear could be an all-out purge by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Thousands of military officers, soldiers and other alleged conspirators have already been detained and fired amid concerns of chaos in Turkey’s powerful military following an attempt to overthrow Erdogan’s government late Friday. The country is a NATO member and important player in a U.S.-led international military coalition against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

That’s not one or two cops who may have been causing trouble. That’s eight thousand police officers. In a country of that size, that’s a significant subset of their law enforcement officers. Now ask yourself the following question: in just 36 hours, how much of an investigation could have been done to identify individuals who were actively involved in the attempted coup, assuming that there were any civilians plotting the overthrow in league with the dissident military units? The answer is, virtually none. These were all individuals and groups who were already on Erdogan’s radar long before this as potential troublemakers who weren’t going along with the program. The coup may not have been the president’s own idea, but he was certainly ready to take advantage of it.

As was noted in the Wall Street Journal (among other outlets) this weekend, Erdogan is endangering whatever remaining chance he had of getting into the European Union. (Lucky for them if you ask me.) The newest sticking point is that the president is talking about bringing back the death penalty to deal with the dissidents. His claims that “the will of the people” can’t be ignored on this point ring rather hollow. How many rank and file citizens are eager and willing to see a person with this much power and obvious paranoia given the keys to reinstating the gallows?

Keep that picture of Erdogan’s “suspects” stripped to the waist and bound on their knees in mind as the next days and weeks roll by. If they begin showing up dancing on the end of a rope in huge numbers you’ll have a much clearer picture of exactly who this ally of ours is. Erdogan is little more than a better equipped Saddam Hussein with more powerful friends in the west.

Erdogan yelling

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David Strom 8:01 AM on March 27, 2023