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  Attempted coup in Turkey

  10 Debates

In Turkey the trial against 486 people who allegedly took part in a failed coup orchestrated by preacher Fethullah Gülen in the summer of 2016 is under way. The prosecution wants life imprisonment for many of the accused - and crowds outside the court are calling for the death sentence. The expectations of the press regarding the trial vary considerably.

Turkey has marked the one-year anniversary of the failed coup of 15 July 2016 with mass rallies. Tens of thousands gathered to hear a speech by President Erdoğan in which he once again advocated the reintroduction of the death penalty. What do Europe's commentators think about the ways in which Turkey has changed since last summer?

Turkey's head of state Recep Tayyip Erdoğan plans to have the parliament vote on the reintroduction of the death penalty. He said on Saturday that he was confident that the MPs would vote in favour of a law to this effect and announced that he would ratify it. Most commentators are harshly critical of the plan, but there are also those who claim this step is indispensable.

According to a Human Rights report published on Tuesday prisoners were tortured and abused after the failed coup in July. The state of emergency declared by the government after the coup is still in force today. Commentators observe a climate of fear in Turkey and criticise the EU's failure to exert pressure on the government.

Roughly three million people gathered in Istanbul on Sunday for a rally against the attempted coup, according to Turkish media. Prior to the speech by President Erdoğan, the Kemalist and nationalist opposition parties also addressed the crowd. Commentators condemn the fact that the pro-Kurdish HDP wasn't invited to the event. Many view this show of unity with distrust and some even fear that Turkey could be drifting towards civil war.

In view of Erdoğan's reaction to the failed coup Austrian chancellor Christian Kern has called for the EU membership talks with Turkey to be broken off. An end to the negotiations would be counterproductive, some commentators warn. Others lament that the EU is not putting serious thought into sanctions against Ankara.

A leaked confidential report from the German government describes Turkey as a "central platform for Islamist groups" and concludes that Ankara has been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and opposition forces in Syria for years. Berlin should nonetheless steer clear of confrontation with Turkey, commentators warn, while some argue that the criticism of Ankara is hypocritical.

Turkey's President Erdoğan has blamed his former ally Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric currently living in exile in the US, of orchestrating the attempted coup. Gülen has roundly rejected the allegations. While some commentators say Erdoğan himself was behind the coup others pin the blame squarely on Gülen and his followers.

After thousands of arrests and suspensions of suspected putschists above all in the country's military and education system, the Turkish government is now taking action against media and journalists. The Gülen movement provides Erdoğan with an ideal target that is enabling him to extend his power unhindered, commentators observe.

Erdoğan and Putin are due to meet in Moscow at the beginning of August, according to media reports. During the failed coup in Turkey the Russian president was the first head of state to show solidarity with Ankara. Commentators see Turkey turning its back ever more firmly on Europe and fear a new Moscow-Ankara axis.