David Goldman (Spengler) had an appalling update on what’s going on in Turkey on Facebook:
What is happening now makes me shudder.
The government is expected to announce a portmanteau or â€˜packageâ€™ law after its Wednesday cabinet meet, in a bid to rush enabling legislation through parliament. President ErdoÄŸan told his followers on Monday evening that the government is to undertake a major initiative. Guesses at what the new law might contain include the restoration of the death penalty, the easing of arms controls for persons resisting coups, lengthening of the period without trial (which at present conforms to the standards for an EU candidate), and perhaps event the reintroduction of martial law and states of emergency.
Turkey will have to move carefully on the death penalty issue, though President ErdoÄŸan said yesterday that the issue was confined to the EUâ€”Russia, China, and the USA all carry out executions. But there were warnings from the EU parliament today that the resumption of executions might also abrogate the 1996 customs union agreement. Any restriction on the working of the customs union would have dire effects on Turkish industry and investment.
The purge of members of the armed forces and other public servants continued on Tuesday, suggesting an administrative upheaval on a revolutionary scale in the coutry. One estimate says that 125 of Turkeyâ€™s 375 generals are now under arrest. The sweep has moved on into other areas. In the Ministry of Education, 15,200 teachers have been suspended from their posts on the grounds that they may have links with the GÃ¼len movement and a further 21,000 in private teaching institutions have had their qualifications cancelled. In both state and private universities, all Deans, a total of 1577 academics, have been told to resign their posts.
In the Presidency of Religious Affairs, 492 imams have been suspended, including three muftis, the head imam of a province. 257 people have been dismissed in the Prime Ministry. No names or details have so far been published. 34 journalists have had their press cards cancelled and RTUK (the state radio and TV watchdog) has unanimously withdrawn the licenses of several minor news sites and TV channels. Benjamin Harvey of Bloomberg puts the number of persons either suspended or detained since Friday at 59,644 nationwide.
News reports of the sacking of the teachers hit the Turkish Lira in the money markets, causing it to fall straight from US$1=TL2.983 to US$1=TL3.04. At the start of the month, it stood at US1=$2.90.
The Department of Religious Affairs has announced that there are to be no religious facilities available for the burial of persons who took party in Fridayâ€™s putsch. It seems to be the first time such a sanction has been introduced. Former president Kenan Evren, leaders of the 1980 military coup, was buried with full honours despite having been tried and sentenced to jail while in his 90s. It is normally assumed that the Diyanet, like the Church of England in the UK, cannot refuse burial to anyone belonging to its religion. Refusal to bury also involves the Diyanet (or the government) making a presumption of guilt or innocence.
British newspapers are reporting, and in the absence of any official statement, Turkish ones are repeating the claim, that 25 sailors of the Turkish navy, fourteen vessels and two helicopters, have gone missing since the Friday night coup. However Numan KurtulmuÅŸ, deputy prime minister, has denied that any naval vessels or personnel are unaccounted for.
77% of respondents to a poll of readers by Daily Sabah, the pro-government newspaper, say that they believe that the United States or indirectly supported â€˜the failed GÃ¼lenist coup attemptâ€™ in Turkey.
The airforce planes which bombed several points in Ankara on Friday including the parliament and the outskirts of the presidential palace, took off from an airbase outside Diyarbakir. The southeastern regional capital has emerged as one of the main focal points of the coup with the Second Army Commander, Adem Huduti, as the most senior serving officer arrested afterwards. 142 military personnel are currently being helded including three colonels, 5 lieutenant colonels, 98 other officers, and 98 military judges and prosecutors. General Huduti by the way appears to be a Bosnian born in former Yugoslavia at Kosova.
In Istanbul the number of soldiers being held has now risen to 437. Several of the detainees turn out to be known for other things: the two pilots who shot down the Russian airforce Su24 in November have been arrested, so has the commander of Incirlik Airbase (he is believed to have tried to seek asylum from the US) and the airbase itself is being searched for further evidence of coup activity. President ErdoÄŸanâ€™s military aide de campe is also under arrest. If he really is guilty, this would raise questions about how he was unaware of the presidentâ€™s whereabouts last Friday.
Postscript: There was a very loud explosion around 18hrs followed by a fire and a pall of smoke apparently rising from AltÄ±ndaÄŸ, a lower middle class district of Ankara immediately north of Ulus. The reason for the fire and details of any casualties has so far not been revealed though it is suggested that it may have been caused by a single building in flames.