When I wrote an article about Turkey yesterday explaining the situation there right now, and especially for me personally, I knew Erdogan-supporting Turks wouldn’t respond kindly to it. After all, if there’s one thing they can’t tolerate it’s criticism of their Glorious Islamist Leader. Anyone who dares criticize him must be silenced and shouted down.
Although it took them a while to find the article, I wasn’t disappointed when I opened the page today and saw responses from Erdogan’s online base. They attacked me left and right, accusing me of lying, and saying there’s nothing whatsoever happening in Turkey.
Nope, all is fine, I’m just making it up.
Interestingly, while criticizing me, some of these Erdoganists (as I call them) accidentally showed their true colors. See for instance this comment:
The funny thing about this comment is that the (anonymous, of course) commenter doesn’t even realize that he makes himself look like an absolute fool — and a Jew hater to boot. To him, these kinds of insults and accusations are completely normal.
That tells you all you need to know about Erdogan’s most passionate supporters. These are the people who are supporting him, this is how they think. There’s a reason Mark Levin often talks about Islamofascism rather than “radical Islam.”
Some Turkish Erdogan supporters responded more politely, but they still accused me of lying:
In other words, I’m making everything up. Nothing bad is happening in Turkey, move along. As an aside, it’s rather funny that she does mention the possibility of me being arrested for yesterday’s article; she doesn’t even notice her own contradiction.
Erdoganism must do something to the brain.
Sadly for this commenter there’s another minor problem: the entire world knows what’s going on in Turkey because every single media outlet is on top of it. We all know that the Erdogan regime has declared war on everybody who does not toe the line, whether they be soldiers, police officers, government workers, teachers, academics or journalists.
Let me give you some examples. This is what was already happening before the failed coup:
Turkey deported an Azerbaijani journalist on Friday for “posting tweets against high-level state officials,” according to an Interior Ministry order obtained by his newspaper, the English-language daily Today’s Zaman.
The journalist, Mahir Zeynalov, was “put on a list of foreign individuals who are barred from entering Turkey,” the newspaper reported, one month after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against him for tweeting links to articles about a corruption scandal involving Mr. Erdogan’s government. According to the complaint, Mr. Zeynalov “committed a crime by exceeding the limit of criticism.”
A Dutch journalist was blocked from leaving Turkey on Sunday following her arrest on Saturday night for tweets deemed critical of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Police at the door. No joke,” wrote Ebru Umar on her Twitter account.
Fast forward to the coup. On July 15 a small part of the military tried to take over in Turkey. They failed. As a result, Erdogan unleashed a gigantic purge, the likes of which we have seldom before seen in Turkey if ever:
In addition to the large number of detentions, TRT reported the interior minister has said 8,113 individuals have been arrested. Turkish authorities have stripped the country’s security forces, arresting 5,226 military personnel, and seizing at least 151 generals and admirals — a third of the general-rank command of the Turkish military.
Additional arrests include 1,684 prosecutors and judges and 1,019 members of the police force.
Even academics, teachers and governmental workers aren’t safe:
In the latest developments on Tuesday, the government fired more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry, sacked 257 officials at the prime minister’s office and 492 clerics at the directorate for religious affairs. Additionally, more than 1,500 university deans were asked to resign.
In the span of a few days, more than 45,000 civil servants in the military and judiciary have been fired or suspended. Although there are ambiguous and conflicting media reports, it appears that some 15,000 staff members of the ministry of education also were fired, 21,000 teachers lost their professional licenses, and more than 1500 university deans were all but ordered to resign.
Then there’s this report:
The failed coup in Turkey that transpired last weekend was bound to result in a crackdown of opposition figures, as over 50,000 people have been arrested, suspended, or fired from their jobs…
The impending result has seen Erdogan use Gulen as the perfect strawman so that he can crackdown on any opponents — regardless of the actual extent of Gulen’s involvement.
As Max Hoffman, the associate director for the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress, explained:
The AKP is using this opportunity to eliminate all opponents and expand their educational foothold to do some long-term social engineering. Many appear to have no connection to the coup attempt. It’s sheer panic from the government mixed with a sense of opportunity to establish full societal control. The situation is very bad for those concerned with long-term stability, democracy, and the rule of law.
And, yes, journalists are also targeted. On a massive scale, even:
A court in Istanbul has remanded 17 Turkish journalists in custody as international concern mounts over the government’s targeting of reporters.
Twenty-one journalists appeared before a judge in hearings that lasted until midnight on Friday. Four were freed but 17 have been charged with membership of a terror group, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Arrest warrants were issued this week for 89 journalists, at least 40 of whom have now been detained. The Turkish government has used a state of emergency law to order the closure of at least 131 newspapers, television and radio stations, publishers and news agencies.
Some of those arrested used to work for the Zaman newspaper, which had close links with the Hizmet movement of the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.
Even satirical magazines are targeted:
Turkish satirical magazine LeMan, often compared to France’s Charlie Hebdo, said the government had prevented it — via a court order — from publishing its edition following the coup, adding it was also facing other threats.
The issue of LeMan that was banned from publication featured a cartoon on the cover of Turkish soldiers facing off against anti-coup protesters, pushed toward each other by giant hands.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Zafer Aknar, defended the cartoon on the banned issue.
“The cover says this isn’t a battleground for Erdogan or Fethullah Gulen — this is our country,” Aknar said.
When the cover was tweeted ahead of publication, protesters gathered at the magazine’s offices, saying, “Don’t you know what happened to Charlie Hebdo?” — apparently a reference to the 2015 gun attacks in Paris that killed 12 people.
Let me be very clear: Erdogan has used the failed military coup to stage a coup of his own—a civilian coup. He’s purging anyone deemed not loyal enough, and those openly critical of him have to fear for their liberty, their safety and for their jobs. No denials from Erdogan propagandists on the internet will make those facts go away. And they can accuse me of being a liar who works for “zionist bosses” all they want, but I’m not going to be silenced. The truth will get out there, whether they like it or not.
Scratch that: especially if they don’t like it.