Erdogan gets revenge

Lord, do I feel sorry for the people of Turkey! Recep Erdogan is leading the nation straight back into the Ottoman Empire.  Here’s an email I just got from my CNN headline subscription:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking exclusively to CNN’s Becky Anderson through his translator, says he would approve reinstating death penalty if lawmakers approve the measure.

Guess who’s gonna get executed?

My friends in Turkey: if you think the failure of the coup is a success for democracy, think again. You’re about to be plunged into the horrors of a combination autocracy and theocracy.


  1. Cindy
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Now now, we cannot hold Islamists responsible for their actions. They have legit grievances against the West, which is why they will murder freethinkers within their own nations…

    And we all know of Turkey’s long history of victimisation by Westerners…just like Saudi Arabia…

    I understand that Saudi Arabia beheads Indonesian maids for the crime of ‘sorcery’ only because the West made them do it!!

  2. Posted July 18, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Erdogan has just accused Andy Murray, Usain Bolt and Bill Maher of planning the coup: he just phoned me, and my 3 cats Paddy, Elsa and Max are in the frame.

  3. Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    This time, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      That reminds me to put on some Alice Cooper!

  4. Heather Hastie
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Erdoğan has been slowly getting worse for some time. Within a few hours of the coup the list of judges and other officials to be arrested, who had taken no physical part in the coup, was over 2,000. That speaks of planning on Erdoğan’s part to me.

    • FiveGreenLeafs
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      By the Guardian, since Friday, 30 regional governors, more then 50 senior civil servants and 9000 policemen have been removed from office, and 7500 arrested.

      That includes a third of the military high command, (more then 100 generals and admirals), and arrest warrants are outstanding for 2700 judges…

      Mor info in the article,

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Bloody hell! He had that list ready! Especially the judges.

        • Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          It seems likely but there is an alternative explanation. Maybe Erdogan got the list from the plotters: that’s what Erdogan’s supporters are claiming. But that claim has only emerged in the day or so since it was clear that Erdogan was going after his enemies.

          Very early on in the coup, I remember an analyst claiming that the coup was probably an attempt by the military to preempt a purge which they expected to occur in a projected meeting with Erdogan in early August.

          If that’s true, then you would expect Erdogan to have a list of enemies in other areas of the state. And that he is using the counter-coup to go after them. I’d be very reluctant to claim this as a false flag operation by Erdogan himself unless a huge amount of contrary evidence comes in.

          I’ve just seen some poll numbers from (about whom I know very little) on opinions of Turks towards the coup and on social attitudes: they confirm wide support for democracy vs Islamism and look relatively good from the point of view of Turkish support for secularism. I only wish I could link to it but I can’t find it.

          If this post-coup poll is accurate, then Erdogan would have to move slowly in the medium term.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

            I agree it’s a stretch that he arranged the coup himself, and I’ll need proof to take that position definitively. It’s a suspicion that’s natural I think though since it’s done more harm than good for the cause of secularism.

            • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

              Erdogan was conveniently on vacation or somesuch when the coup started — except that he left early and was in the air, traveling, so the coup-meisters missed him. What government leader doesn’t let his military know where he is, when, so they can protect him? It’s just too convenient.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 18, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

                He’s presenting people opposing the coup as meaning they support him, which is problematic. Just because people don’t want coups doesn’t, of course, mean they want their government to become more oppressive and tyrannical. Most Turks prefer that their government is secular, including many Islamists – they believe in separation of mosque and state. Erdoğan is creating the circumstances for his own demise imo.

              • Posted July 19, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

                I agree.

          • FiveGreenLeafs
            Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            We might never reach the point where we have the full story of what happened this weekend in Turkey, but, what we can do, (and what we to my mind must aim for), is to closely observe what Erdogan does or doesn’t do now, and hold him to account based on this.

            Compare this to the Reichstags fire of 1933. Whether it was a Dutch communist acting alone or on instructions from the comintern, or the Nazis themselves who set the Reichstag on fire, is for example still debated 80 years later. What really mattered, were the actions and step taken afterwards, i.e. the emergency decrees, the mass arrests of communists, and the solidification of power in hands of AH and the Nazis.

            The fire took the form of a catalyst (or excuse) for the Nazi party (regardless of who started it), and that is what i fear is happening here as well.

            The lists (I believe) already existed within Erdogans organization, and, it is this possibility, and his following actions that are, to my eyes, what is of critical interest at this point.

            • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

              I appreciate your use of initials rather than naming that evil piece of pseudohuman.

            • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

              I agree, FiveGreenLeafs.

              There is another historical analogy: the assassination in 1934 of Kirov, the second most popular Commissar in the USSR. Stalin presented it as an attack on the state (even though many observers consider it likely that the Man of Steel himself ordered the killing) and the next few years saw the show trials and the consolidation of the bureaucracy’s power about which Trotsky had warned.

              To echo Orwell if there is any hope it lies with the proles. There is a culture of secularism in Turkey, a general adulation of the anti-theist Ataturk (which looks disturbingly like Soviet-style adoration of the great man) which may put the brakes on Erdogan’s Islamist project.

              Even when Erdogan spoke to the nation in the heat of the coup, and when it looked like he was regaining control, he had to sit in front of a photo of Ataturk to present the subliminal message that he was defending Turkish democracy. His Islamist project is not complete and has to move step by step.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          Why do you express surprise? I bet Trump (and Clinton II) have their own “little lists” already prepared. If their aides haven’t got them prepared, they’re not very good aides. Having a list of enemies who you’d rather take out of the equation if you get the chance is just plain sensible politics. Even Corbyn and Saunders have probably got lists of people whose demise would be greeted with joy.

          • FiveGreenLeafs
            Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            I am wondering a bit about your comment, (and not being overly familiar with all relevant US system), do you really claim that Clinton and Trump (I) can remove (sack) sitting judges, governors, high military commanders or local police officers? (II) are actively creating such lists of judges, high military commanders and police officers?

            To my mind, (in a functional democracy) that sounds very strange indeed?

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

              Any politician who doesn’t have a list of people they want to get rid of (to gardening leave, Florida, or to swim with Jimmy Hoffa, as the opportunity arises), isn’t sane. Some of the people you’ll be working with you’ll fight to keep in position because they’re useful ; some you’ll leave swinging in the breeze if they screw up because you’ve got a better candidate lined up for their position; some you’ll have the security forces looking for their financial, moral or legal errors, to get them out of post and replaced with someone more to your liking.
              Politics has been a dirty game since it was invented. And it will probably remain that way while it’s practitioners are recognisably human.

              • FiveGreenLeafs
                Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

                You really didn’t answer my questions.

                In Sweden, the democracy I am most familiar with, politicians can not arbitrarily sack or remove sitting judges, local police officers, prosecutors and so on.

                To my mind, this is actually part of a fundamental aspect of the checks and balances of power, and a foundation (and cornerstone) of democracy in my eyes.

                This makes the whole idea of even creating such lists, (not to say going through and actually removing said individuals), to my mind, highly noteworthy and a warning sign in and of itself.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

                I would be astonished if any significant Swedish politician didn’t have (somewhere, well buried) a list of people they want to “get rid of” because they’re inconvenient trouble makers. In Sweden the “getting rid of” might go no further than making sure that their habit of going to a swinger’s club on Saturday night gets into the Monday press, while Mugabe’s lists would mean “burn down their house and the three adjoining houses”. But it’s still in the nature of politics to try to destroy your opponents. Which means that you need a list of opponents.

              • Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink


                In the US, we have the Civil Service system, which was instituted to put a stop to the “Spoils” system, where every new President would fire all the existing administrative staff and replace them with his picks (he got the “spoils” of his victory — it’s been all men so far, hoping for a change to that this fall).

                The Civil Service only goes “so high” however. It’s meant to protect the functional people who actually do the work of the Federal government (where I once worked) and provide for continuity in that work when administrations change. Federal workers are now, nominally at least (and mostly in fact) hired based on merit, not political affiliation as was once the case.

                At the top of the Federal system are appointed cabinet secretaries (and some sub-secretaries). These are typically appointed by the new President shortly after taking office.

                On the military side, the Chairman, vice-Chairman, and military branch Chiefs are all appointed by the President. (We have a “strong” executive.) The chain of command is: President, Secretary of Defense (used to be “of War”), then the chiefs of each branch and on downwards.

                So, yes, the President has much power to shape the Federal government (by design in the US Constitution – this was much fought over during the constitutional debates).

                As someone who used to worked in a Federal Agency: The rank and file definitely follow the will of the administrators at the top of the heap.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

                Similarly, in the UK there is nominal separation of politics and administration. But again, it only goes so far up the tree. And at lower levels in the tree your political operatives can challenge or “make life difficult” for anyone looking for a public position if they’ve got “dirt” on an “undesirable”. Destroying your enemies, undermining them and damaging their careers is part of political life, as much as it was in Pericles’ Athens.

              • Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

                On the judicial side: US Federal judges have tenure for life. The President can only appoint to vacant seats (and they must be approved by the Senate (which the current GOP-majority one has been trying over the last 7+ years to prevent as many Obama appointments as possible).

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

                … and at levels below the Senate-approved appointments, you dish the dirt more locally.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

                US Federal judges have tenure for life. The President can only appoint to vacant seats

                Hmm. And just how could that seat be made vacant? Am I cynical or reaistic?

              • FiveGreenLeafs
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

                I deeply appreciate your response and explanations. It fills in many black patches and confirms and binds together many isolated pieces of information I have had laying about in dusty vaults in the back of my mind. Thank you!

                While I was seriously concerned early on, and then alarmed by the emerging reports of mass arrests and the removal of 1000s of judges and police officers, in light of the latest developments, there can no longer (in my eyes) exist any illusions whatsoever to what it is that we are witnessing unfolding in Turkey…

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

                What is that aphorism about the price of free speech being eternal vigilance?

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted July 19, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Another list has been activated : Turkey coup: 15,200 education staff suspended
            I’d guess that there are an awful lot of personal disputes (nothing to do with politics) being aired in lists of that size, while the current government is rewarding it’s party apparatchiks by inviting targets for retribution on the flimsiest of evidence. There are likely to be as many people on that list for competing with the apparatchik for a job as there are people who actually do have some sympathies with the coup organisation(s).
            What is that thing I see coming down the road towards Ankara? Is it a civil war?

  5. GBJames
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink


    • jimroberts
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


  6. Amy
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink


  7. Petrushka
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    It’s pretty obvious that the coup was anticipated, compromised by moles, and was allowed to happen in order to justify the complete takeover of the government by the elected tyrant.

    Democracy is a bus you ride until you reach your destination.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Weren’t too many people close to Erdogan killed for that to be true?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        “Collateral Damage”
        “My beloved colleague, sniff, dab eyes, whose life was so sadly cut short, will be avenged!” – I can almost set up a dubbing machine to dub the sound track over a scene from “Triumph des Willens” and make perfect sense. Given a dubbing machine.

    • Dick Veldkamp
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I am no believer in conspiracy theories, but in this case you might be right.

  8. Cindy
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    • Kevin
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Oh Lordy. It’s like staring into the eyes a bully.

      When a scientist points, they usually point at data with the caveat that with further research that data could get better.

      When a politician or religious person points, it usually means they really want to pop a cap in the heads of all who disagree with them.

    • Scientifik
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Then may Zika find its way there, and quickly.

  9. Eric Grobler
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    says he would approve reinstating death penalty

    Best news of the year!
    This means Turkey will not qualify to join the EU

    • Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Never a cat in hell’s chance of that, Eric. Cyprus, EU member, and illegally occupied by Turkey, would be betrayed if Turkey were given entry to the EU.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        Just recently Erdogan blackmailed Merkel to grant visa-free entry to Europe with rumours that Turkey plan to issue citizenship to thousands of Syrian refugees.

        • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

          Now I wonder how many of those traveling Turks reaching the EU countries will be Erdogan’s Islamist thugs!

          • Posted July 18, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            I try to keep track of the Islamists who are trying to get into Europe to commit atrocities, doc, but I cannot remember anybody asserting that Erdogan has tried to do that.

            ISIS has given carte blanche to any ‘lone wolf’ to act in its name: and indeed AMAQ, its news agency, praised Mohamed Bouhlel for the Nice murders. ISIS has probably set up cells in Europe to commit further attacks, sending the personnel from Syria.

            I tend to believe the information that members of Assad’s Shabiha, his rape and death squads, have infiltrated the refugee movements from Syria to Europe and are even now committing crimes and rapes in Sweden, Germany and Holland: even though that information comes from a semi-deranged Islamist (rather than a jihadist), I think his methodology is accurate, and on balance I think he’s right.

            • Posted July 18, 2016 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

              Oh, I don’t expect Erdogan’s thugs to be anything but sleeper cells, until Erdogan thinks he’s powerful enough to use them to spread his own caliphate. Give it awhile.

            • Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:56 am | Permalink

              The main weapon of Islamists is not terror but demography. This is why I consider insane to continue the policy of mass immigration from Islamism-infested countries, without any attempt to select secular immigrants because, as the dominant ideology says, all cultures are equal and religious fundamentalism just adds beautiful diversity to a secular society.

              • Eric Grobler
                Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:53 am | Permalink

                The main weapon of Islamists is not terror but demography.

                Exactly, few people understand it.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me or is 2016 turning into one of the most insane years in decades?

    This stanza by Yeats seems more like reality with each passing week.

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the post.

      I just saw that it was written in 1919 nearly 100 years ago!

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Nope, it is definitely not just you. I have been thinking this for a while now. “The Second Coming” has been running through my head almost constantly. I have been keeping these thoughts largely to myself. Nobody in my circle wants to hear or think about it. Too scary, I guess. What rough beast, indeed!

  11. Concerned Turk
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    It seems likely that the coup was a “false flag operation” by Erdogan himself. It certainly improved his political power. Now he’ll have a pretext to plunge Turkey into Islamic barbarism.

    • Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Best wishes and stay safe!

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 18, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Diverse “coup” analysts seems to agree on that it is a botched military coup. Partly because they were found out and had to press on before they were read, partly because they miscalculated on such things as support and public use of internet. Which would be good, as it may mean Turkey military has no longer the chops to act non-democratic.

      But it seems likely that Erdogan’s regime had arrest lists ready, and that is what the EU politicians have gone out with.

      They have also said that Erdogan has to kiss their ass, or his EU plans goodbye. The prime minister backed down and said that the parliament had to discuss the matter first. (Of course, no one can say if they will back all the way down. But it looks good so far.)

      [Sources: Sorry, too many read and closed windows during the last few hours. Reuters, I think.]

      Sorry for your looses of life and social circumstances, and good luck!

      • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        So Erdogan is removing thousands from civil service. Who do you think will replace them? I suspect Erdogan had the replacements at the ready, because he set this whole thing up.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Guess who’s gonna get executed?

    Sounds like Turkey doesn’t recognize a prohibition on ex post facto laws.

    • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Apparently not when Erdogan is their source.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 18, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        Actually, according to Wikipedia, Article 38 of the Turkish constitution contains an ex post facto clause. That being the case, absent a suspension of the constitution, any newly enacted death penalty law could not be applied to punish those involved in the failed coup d’état.

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          I’ll agree with “should not”, but “could not” seems overly optimistic to me, right now.

  13. jay
    Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    [There’s a bit of a personal connection here, my wife’s boss is currently stuck in Turkey}

    In the meantime, he’s angry at the US for not extraditing ex politican Gulen who is currently living quietly in Pennsylvania.

    I’m wondering if Obama will call BS on this considering that lots of US military strikes originate in Turkey, lots of military equipment is there including tactical nukes.

    Meanwhile there are reports that 40+ military helicopters have ‘gone missing’

    • Posted July 18, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Whose military helicopters?????

      • Jay T Holovacs
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        they were assigned to NATO forces.

        • Posted July 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          Whoa………….. I don’t know what this means, but it certainly comes across as very, very ominous.

    • Posted July 19, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Turkey is one of the big three US client states in the ME (Israel and SA being the others, of course.)

      I should look up Canada’s views …

  14. Cindy
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Free speech rebranded as terrorism by Erdogan

  15. Mike
    Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The great Ataturk must spinning like a Centrifuge.

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