B2 High-Intermediate 116 Folder Collection
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In November 2016, more than a decade after negotiations began, the European Union temporarily
halted talks over Turkey’s accession into the bloc, citing concerns over the Turkish
government’s alarming response to the failed military coup.
Between July and November 2016, more than a hundred thousand people were purged, arrested
or jailed, in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ongoing struggle to restore power.
So, months after the failed coup, we wanted to know, what’s life like in Turkey?
Well, on July 15, 2016, a faction of the Turkish Military attempted, and failed, to overthrow
the President and his ruling party.
According to coup leaders, the act was an attempt to restore Turkey’s democracy and
secular foundation, which, they said, was increasingly threatened under President Erdogan.
Since becoming Prime Minister in 2003, then President in 2014, Erdogan has cracked down
on free press, passed Islamic reforms and pushed for constitutional amendments that
would expand his presidential powers.
Erdogan blamed the failed coup entirely on followers of Fethullah Gulen, an influential
Sunni Muslim Cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania.
Gulen and Erdogan were once political allies but had a massive falling out in 2013.
Erdogan claims that Gulenists in the military are behind the coup, however Gulen claims
that it was actually staged as a way for Erdogan to seize more power and further crackdown
on opposition.
Whether or not Erdogan staged the coup is still unknown, but he has used the events
to consolidate power.
Since July, the Turkish government has purged more than 125,000 people, namely judges, politicians,
academics and members of the military, and another roughly 36,000 are in jail awaiting
trial.
The ongoing ‘state of emergency’ has been used to shutter countless institutions, including
small businesses, charities, legal organizations, more than 130 media outlets and more than
2,000 educational facilities.
Erdogan has also used the failed coup as a means to drum up nationalism and promote his
own party.
Government-affiliated television, newspapers and Twitter accounts have all reinforced the
narrative that Gulen is behind the coup.
In the name of preventing another uprising, the government has directly encouraged people
to flood the streets of Turkey’s two biggest cities, Istanbul and Ankara.
According to news reports, these pro-government protests morphed into nationalist street parties,
and persisted for nearly a month, emboldened by calls from local mosques and mass texts
from Erdogan himself.
In October, Turkish parliament declared July 15th an official holiday, called the “Day
of Democracy and National Unity”.
Much of the government and the public has consolidated behind the president, nationalist
sentiments are at record highs, and the ruling party now has sweeping powers to go after
its opponents—Gulenists and otherwise.
Many Turks have described the failed coup as “intense”.
President Erdogan, however, calls it “a gift from God”.
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The Aftermath Of Turkey’s Failed Coup

116 Folder Collection
BH published on December 13, 2016
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