How the failed coup has changed Turkey

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?

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

The republic of the avenger

Erdoğan is trying to construct a brand new Turkey, the Tages-Anzeiger explains:

“The avenger is using the attempted coup to create a new national founding myth. Upon the ruins of the pro-Western republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk he wants to build up an ultra-conservative, Islamist and chauvinistic Turkey. The foundations have already been laid: the Theory of Evolution is not for Turkey's youth; instead the schools will have prayer rooms, police officers and soldiers will recite oaths and critical spirits will be gagged. The wave of repression is no longer aimed only against members of the Gülen movement but also against secular Turks, Kurds, left-wingers and liberals.”

Sabah (TR) /

Turkey has reinvented itself

The pro-government daily Sabah applauds the profound changes that have occurred since the failed coup:

“Both the state structure and society's perception of politics and the state have changed fundamentally - so drastically that you would think we had already been living in this new system for a hundred years. The main thing is that the armed forces are no longer regarded as if they were a Kemalist party. … In foreign politics vis-à-vis so-called friendly and allied states we are now acting according to the motto 'get out of our way, that's all we want'. … And since the recent changes to the constitution we know that the underlying structures of this new system now apply. … In short, from now on nothing is as it was before.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Democratic resistance forming

Democratic resistance to the Turkish government is growing, exiled journalist Can Dündar observes in Le Monde:

“The social democrats who until now sought to move closer to the centrist parties for strategic reasons have now taken to the streets. The other leftist movements have been quick to join them. One can speak of a democratic front that has formed spontaneously on the streets of Istanbul. The demonstration's slogan 'justice' appeals to a need that is strong enough to gather everyone under its banner. It's a rally cry with a fundamental significance, because it shows that society refuses to be oppressed despite all the pressure. The fate of Turkey and Erdoğan will be sealed by a street-based protest movement.”

Duma (BG) /

Europe's insight comes late

And Duma is delighted that the EU is rethinking its stance vis-à-vis Turkey:

“A year ago people still thought that after the attempted coup and the subsequent brutal persecution of his opponents Erdoğan would gradually loosen his stranglehold on Turkish society in order to appease the situation. But he opted to do the opposite and expanded his brutal dictatorship. … For us Bulgarians and Europeans this development is worrying. … Turkey is moving away from Europe, [EU Commission President] Juncker has also said, albeit a little too late in view of the many attempts at blackmail and unprincipled compromises that Europe has made with Turkey during the refugee crisis. But better late than never.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Upholding democratic culture

Turkey has come a long way since the attempted coup, Daily Sabah notes with satisfaction:

“The state's fight against the Gülenist Terror Group (Fetö), which had been blacklisted as a threat against national security long before the coup attempt, is currently ongoing and gaining momentum. The cases regarding the coup attempt are also ongoing in accordance with the principles of a democratic state of law. ... Despite this struggle made under extraordinary circumstances, the main opposition party were given the opportunity to organize a march that lasted 25 days and gathered around 175,000 people. In other words, the culture of democracy in our country is being upheld.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

No cause to celebrate

Cumhuriyet takes a very different view:

“After 15 July 2016 the AKP cracked down furiously on the Fetö and arrested tens of thousands of suspects. We don't deny it! But things got out of control. Thousands of academics, artists, journalists, Kurdish politicians, opposition members from all sections of society were also locked away even though they have no connections to the Fetö. After July 15 we could have started a new chapter of democracy in our country. But that didn't work out. All Turkish society could have celebrated tomorrow's anniversary together. But that won't happen. Our party mood has been spoilt, unfortunately!”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Erdoğan system built on sand

Der Tagesspiegel doesn't believe the concentration of power in the hands of President Erdoğan and his AKP will lead to lasting stability:

“Erdoğan can no longer backtrack. Shifting his course in the direction of reform and the rule of law would undermine his personal power. So he's obliged to continue restricting the rights of his citizens, pointing the finger at new scapegoats with every setback and consolidating state affairs in his own hands. That may work for time, but in the long term the president is doomed to failure: his every move is aimed at concentrating his power. The Erdoğan system is certainly not a model for Turkey's future.”