Regrettably, some of the representatives of European Union, have been giving a bad account of themselves regarding the recent developments that are still unfolding especially after the bloody coup attempt in Turkey. Particularly, in the recent times, three different names and their statements on Turkey are thought-provoking; Carl Bildt, Elmor Brok and Kati Piri.
Make Nothing of Turkey’s Trauma
Even a casual observer of contemporary Turkey’s history may argue with ease that the days of July 15 and 16 have marked one of the most critical and significant landmarks in the country’s history. It is obvious that a small group in the army attempted a coup primarily against the President Erdoğan, and the AKP government. It was a teaser attempt for a country which had been suffered by military tutelage periods and number of different types of military regimes. Despite the fact that having averted the coup attempt is perceived as an important accomplishment today, it must still be noted that about 265 people lost their lives and 2797 wounded which is an absolute tragedy for any country in 2016.
Moreover, five days after the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared the state of emergency. Under the extra-ordinary state of emergency situation, fifteen private universities, thousands of NGOs, media institutions and many private enterprises were shut down and nationalized. Interetingly enough some twenty-five thousands of teachers’ professional licences were cancelled, more than hundred thousands of passports were nulled, a large number of of people, including journalists, scholars, judges, bureaucrats and state officials were suspended and/or arrested on the grounds that they contributed to the coup attempt to succeed.
From the very beginning of the bloody coup attempt, President Erdoğan and the government have been establishing a narrative which imposes that the coup attempt was organised by the Gülen Movement. Although, every single day, Turkish media, which is under full control of president Erdoğan and his political cadre, has been tendering new cliams about the direct relations of the Gülen Movement with the failed coup, most probably it will be possible to comprehend the reality after the litigation process. From my personal view, the Gülen Movement’s para-political structure is one of the actors of the coup attempt, but it could not be the only actor.
Despite these complicated political situations, one thing is crystal clear; the coup attempt targeted to the entire country that barely could retreat back from the threshold of a civil war. But almost none of the political and bureaucratic representatives of European Union could understand the impact of the coup on Turkish government and Turkish society. The mainspring of the bizarre and refractory statements by European officials were to address the authoritarian policies of President Erdoğan against any dissident segment of the society. Indeed, president Erdoğan has been implementing one of the most authoritarian policies in Turkey’s history and re-formulating the political system and social orders according to his desire, but this could not be an excuse for the EU officials not to establish an empathy with Turkish government after the failed coup attempt.
The Unreasoning Statements during the Witch Hunt
Two mounts after the failed coup attempt, president Erdoğan has been strengthening his position as an “exceptional” leader, under the state of emergency, and post-coup crackdown has become a witch hunt. For instance, Canan Badem, teaches history at a university in southern Turkey is a socialist, but he lost his job and was hauled in by the police and accused of being a loyalist to Gülen. The evidence against him: A book written by, Gülen, was found in his office. He is also one of the signatories of Academics for Pease that makes the situation much more complicated.
Moreover, Turkey’s Interior Ministry appointed trustees to 28 local municipalities across the country on Sept. 11 on the grounds that they allegedly provided support to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Gülen Movement. Many teachers, state officials, journalist, scholars and intellectuals are being accused of having link with the coup attempt. Despite it is very possible to give great many examples about the unfair and irrational implementations by government under the state of emergency conditions, to cut it short, one may easily argue that Erdoğan and his political cadre are openly purging the segments of democratic society in Turkey. This is a very clear trend that even government officials state it publically. But again well-known political figures in Europe feel fine to throw a blind eye to such tragedies that happen each and every single day in Turkey.
For instance, Carl Bildt, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, he has been constantly expressing his thoughts about the actors behind failed coup attempt with a very similar tone of Turkish government. Actually it is not a big surprise for those who know his amicable relations with Turkish government. Secondly, after his visit to Ankara, Elmar Brok, the chair of Foreign Affairs Committee at the European Parliament, defended the actions the Turkish government is applying after the failed military coup – saying those who criticise the Muslim nation like Turkey do not understand the situation regarding the coup. In fact Elmar Brok used to be one of the most critical names in the EP. Many now wonder about what is the motive behind his recent softening of his critics for Turkish government. Finally, Kati Piri, the Turkey at the European Parliament mentioned that both herself and Brussels had been quick to criticize Ankara’s post-coup crackdown but were wrong to not to mention about the fact that more than 200 people were killed by coup plotters on the night of July 15 where Turkish parliament was also bombed.
Although these three important political actors claim that the coup attempt was masterminded predominantly by the Gülen movement, they underlined that they have not seen any evidence from the government. They only got the testimonies of some soldiers as the only evidences.
At this point, as a scholar, some questions to these politicians appear in my mind; what is the main reason of these huge sift of narrative in favour of Turkish government? Is the refugee issue the only motivation behind this change of attitude? As an objective political actor why you did not listen to the victims of the state of emergency rules? What are your potential expectations from Turkish government?