The White House announced this week that President Trump called Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on winning a sinister referendum that will lock-in his autocratic rule over the country and further erode Turkey’s democratic institutions, which are already on life-support, or maybe not even that. It is reported that 140,000 Turkish citizens have had their passports canceled. More than 100,000 people are at risk of imprisonment or worse for being suspected of complicity in the recent the attempted coup: so far 71,000 of these have been detained, and 41,000 have been arrested. Six thousand academics have lost their jobs, 4,000 judges and prosecutors, 24,000 policemen and security personnel, and 200 governors and their staff members. Seven thousand military personnel have been relieved of their posts. Fifteen universities, 1,000 schools, 28 TV channels, 66 newspapers, 19 magazines, 36 radio stations, 26 publishing houses and five news agencies have been shut down.
Erdogen has also imprisoned moderate Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas on the charge of inciting violence with his criticisms of the regime, and thousands of members of Demirtas’s political party, H.D.P., have been detained or arrested.
Our President’s irresponsible official response, if indeed he is aware of these developments (it is all a mouse click or briefing paper away) was, in essence, “Hell of a job, Ergie!” Continue reading