July 14, 2017
It is now a year after Turkish democracy survived a military coup, but fell victim to another, which it was not familiar with.
On the fateful night of 15 July, 1.5 percent of the Turkish military tried to topple the democratically elected Turkish government with a planned coup that seemed doomed to fail from the very beginning. However, 250 innocent souls lost their lives.
Seasoned observers of Turkish politics were trying to understand why on earth an army as experienced as the Turkish military in staging coups and toppling governments would choose 10pm on a Friday night to block only one direction of the Bosporus Bridge and start a coup attempt.
Erdogan famously called the coup “a gift from God”. Right after the putsch, a quarter of Turkish judges and prosecutors were dismissed, and many ended up in jail.
The government is pushing ahead the greatest purge the Turkish republic has ever seen as of today, with no end in sight. Some 150 thousand people have been sacked from their government posts. Around 50 thousand people are in jail, of which 17 thousand are women and there have been at least 500 babies born in prisons.
According to Stockholm Center for Freedom – a rights advocate organisation created by exiled Turkish journalists in Sweden – there are currently 200 journalists behind bars in the country. This figure makes Turkey the champion of journalist jailers, well ahead of China.
Some 189 media outlets have either been seized or banned after the coup, while 35 percent of the journalists lost their jobs.
Most shockingly, the chief of staff publicly declared that only 1.5 percent of the Turkish army had joined the coup and most of them were privates.
According to chief of staff registry, there are currently 356 generals in the Turkish military. The number of generals who have been arrested after the coup is 167, which means 47 percent of the top brass is behind the bars. If only 1.5 percent of the military joined the putsch, why has almost 50 percent of the top brass been arrested?
And if 50 percent of the generals joined the coup, how come it collapsed so quickly?
These are still very legitimate questions that beg answers, while the wave of purges, arrests and detentions target not only Gulenists, but all those who dare to criticise Erdogan.