A month has passed since the failed military coup in Turkey. The nightly demonstrations against the attempted coup culminated in pro-government rally in Istanbul a week last Sunday, where hundreds of thousands of flag-waving supporters were addressed by the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Following the coup, the government launched a sweeping crackdown with Erdoğan accusing Fethullah Gülen, the US-based cleric, of masterminding it. Nearly 18,000 people have been detained or arrested across Turkey, including 42 arrest warrants for journalists, and the sacking of 15,000 education workers.
Fethullah Gülen, blamed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the failed coup in Turkey, has said the uprising by members of the country’s military could have been “staged” by the government.
We heard from our readers across the country on the mood in the country one month after the abortive coup.
‘My fear is that this turns into blood-shed’
We are living a post-coup era. The number of purges, arrests and restrictions are probably unseen. My fear is that this turns into blood-shed! God forbid. Which Erdoğan openly said “people want it, and I want it.”
I’m from a secular Turkish family, orginating in Istanbul. I feared Gülen people when I was at high school probably because of a video clip where I saw someone shaking hands with a rabbi and a pastor. Now I began to believe, he is a good believer. Maybe the best one I know living today.
My dad put two Turkish flags on my car so I am less likely to be get harassed like his friend who was beaten up by democracy guards for not joining their car convoy by honking. Where is the right to choose? Where is democracy?
I have not seen a single news agency that does not repeat what government says about the coup. If in you are in Turkey and a Turkish citizen, you have to blame Gülen movement for everything. Just yesterday, Melih Gökçek the mayor of Ankara, said “Fetullah Terrorist Organisation – referred to widely as FETO – is planning an earthquake on 14 August.”
If you have a public disagreement the AKP police unquestionably arrest you. There are countless examples over the twitter, including an example recently where a blind boy was arrested.
Erdoğan is a man of vengeance. Looking back at his history, he always fought against someone and made himself essential to his supporters for their survival. It’s very clear that his supporters fear an artificial enemy in Turkey; which makes them fanatically connected to Erdoğan.
‘It’s a witch hunt’
The mood is terrible in my community. The coup attempt created devastating effects for me and my family. After Erdoğan accused Fethullah Gülen movement as the mastermind of the coup attempt with no evidence, we suffered greatly since my father was leading a Gülen institution.
Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people are in similar situation. I was lucky enough to leave Turkey since I have a US visa. My brother was a government official and he got suspended with no reason. He’s literally waiting to be imprisoned with his bag prepared, even though he didn’t do anything wrong. My sister’s passport has been revoked with no reason. My uncle is in prison and we can’t track him. No information is provided on his whereabouts. And no lawyer wants to defend him since they’re afraid to defend someone who is a brother-in-law of a person who works for a Gülen institution.
We had nothing to do with the coup and we condemn it. But we are being oppressed with no evidence whatsoever. This is how people who have some connection to Gülenist network suffers in Turkey right now. It’s a witch hunt.
Mulat, currently living in New York
Europeans have a lack of sympathy for the Turkish people
Turkish people resisted and blocked the attempted coup at a risk of losing their lives. This is the fact which should be applauded and praised by the West, Europe in particular, who are consistently claiming democracy as a European value.
Yet, there hasn’t been one high-level visit from Europe. Even worse, instead of strongly condemning the coup attempt, and expressing condolences for those who lost their lives, some chose to condemn the purge that occurred after that.
This behaviour proves the Europeans have a lack of sympathy for the Turkish people. Turkish people are angry which is, I believe, one hundred percent right.
Although there are stories of unjust dismissals, I see these as minor given the depth of the investigation, they can be tolerated.
‘The despair of the pre-coup times is replaced with tentative hopes’
There was an air of alarm among the Turkish opposition during the immediate aftermath of the coup, but it waned to some extent as the government started to carry out a normalisation process with the opposition. It is sad that this process excludes the pro-Kurdish HDP, which is a sign that the government will not return to the peace process and the Turkey-PKK conflict will continue.
However, in general, the despair of the pre-coup times is replaced with tentative hopes, as Erdoğan seems less aggressive and has been making concessions to some of the opposition. It is also perceived as a positive development that the Gülenist infiltrationist network in the state is getting dismantled, which has been seen as a threat by most of the society, given that diverse socio-political groups, from secularist soldiers to Kurdish activists, have been the target of operations by Gülenist policemen, prosecutors and media in the past decade.
The reports of torture are horrible and prison conditions are worsening in general due to State of Emergency measures. The possibility that the death penalty might be re-instantiated is worrying. The purges should be carried out more carefully, making a clear distinction between members of the Gülenist network and people who are mere sympathizers of Gülen.
‘I am happy normality has returned so quickly’
There is some tension because of the ongoing arrests but generally people are bored of the whole subject and want to get on with their lives and enjoy the summer.
I am happy that normality returned so quickly. I am not happy that Erdoğan has increased his power base. I am saddened that those who were murdered by the lynch mobs have not been permitted proper funerals and burial, I feel for their families. I fear the reintroduction of the death penalty.
I am surprised that everyone seems to have accepted that Gülen was the organizer of the coup, even those who are poles apart from Erdoğan and the AKP seem to hate and fear Gülen even more. I cannot decide if this is mass brainwashing or if there is some clear evidence that has passed me by.
The rallies every night to celebrate the overthrow of the coup were generally festive occasions involving all types and ages of people but they prevented any other sort of gathering in what is usually a very busy public space. I am glad they are over.
‘Even if people were against Erdoğan, they got angry’
My part of Turkey is called the “castle of secularism” because the main opposition party has never lost elections here. After the coup attempt, my city’s people got angry because [the attempted coup] against the president and shut down of democracy is not acceptable. Even if people were against the ruling party AKP and Erdoğan, they didn’t support this action and they stand with democracy and the government.
The president’s holiday hotel is in my city and tourism is the main income. The attempted coup has damaged our pockets due to plotters’ attack on hotels
Behlul Cetinkaya, Muğla
*Editor’s note: Hizmet Movement Blog reaffirms its non-endorsement policy of the various viewpoints expressed throughout the articles that are solely shared for the convenience of the readers.
Published on The Guardian, 15 August 2016, Monday