(LRB blog) Since the failed coup attempt on 15 July, two distinct narratives about Turkey have emerged. Talking to Turks and non-Turks about the coup increasingly resembles travelling between parallel universes.
Outside Turkey, most observers have focused on the way President Erdoğan and the AKP government have handled the aftermath of the coup, rather than the coup attempt itself. The indiscriminate violence of the coup, the killing of hundreds of civilians, the bombing of parliament have all quickly faded from view. Instead, opinion pieces in newspapers around the world have drawn attention to the likelihood, if not the inevitability, of Erdoğan’s taking the opportunity to eliminate his opponents and move the country towards full-blown authoritarianism.
A three-month state of emergency was declared the Wednesday after the coup, giving Erdoğan the power to issue decrees with the force of law. He has already said that the state of emergency may be extended as necessary. The first emergency decree closed (and confiscated the property of) 15 universities, 1043 primary and secondary schools, 1229 civil society associations, 35 medical centres and 19 labour unions. The second emergency degree dealt with military personnel and shut down 131 media outlets. So far, 18,044 people have been detained, 9677 have been arrested and 49,211 have had their passports revoked. About 1700 military personnel have been dishonourably discharged; 134 generals and admirals are under arrest. Tens of thousands of government workers have been fired. All university deans were forced to resign and 2239 academics are under investigation. […]
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