Turkey’s federal government has detained nearly 80,000 military, police and civil service employees after a failed coup attempt this summer that resulted in more than 270 deaths and the shutdown of more than 130 news outlets. The purge, ordered by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, included military, media, education and justice sectors, as reported by The Independent.
Officials with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) were quick to respond to Edrogan’s actions.
“While we understand the sense of crisis in Turkey, we are concerned that the government’s steps to limit a broad range of human rights guarantees go beyond what can be justified in light of the current situation,” they said in a joint statement.
“Turkey is going through a critical period. Derogation measures must not be used in a way that will push the country deeper into crisis.”
Erdogan accused Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric living in Pennsylvania, for instigating the failed coup attempt.
Turkey proclaimed state of emergency
Turkey proclaimed a state of emergency on July 20 and invoked Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). That article restricts public freedoms, and officials normally invoke the article when the life of a nation is threatened. UN officials said that Turkey had not met that standard, and that invoking Article 4 was an overreach.
Within a month, Turkish authorities extended the crackdown into the private sector and detained about 200 citizens, including many leading businessmen, seizing their assets, according to Reuters.
Erdogan’s objective with the wider crackdown is to “choke off” Turkey businesses that he believes have links to Gulen.
US officials have not complied with Erdogan’s extradition requests for Gulen, claiming the Turkish government has not provided sufficient evidence of his complicity.
Erdogan’s agenda appears to be the Islamization of Turkey, which has a Muslim majority. Meanwhile, Sunni imams are instigating waves of nationalism that have led to attacks on churches.
Thus far, the government has not shut down SAT-7, a Christian television ministry operating in the Middle East and North Africa.
Pray for political stability in Turkey and freedom for Christians there.
Independent: Turkey coup attempt: UN warns Erdogan government purges could violate international law after 40,000 detained
Reuters: Turkey seizes assets as post-coup crackdown turns to business
MNN: Turkey: search for hope in state of emergency and crackdowns