After the failed military coup attempt on 15 July, with the political decision of President Erdoğan, Justice and Development Party (AKP) government immediately declared “state of emergency” for three months in order to fight with the coup plotters.
To say at least they’ve announced to the world as if by giving a justification.
But two months after the declaration of the state of emergency, when we look at the political scene we see that it’s been used to suppress democratic, leftist and pro-Kurdish forces.
With by passing over the democratically elected parliament through statutory decrees, Erdoğan administration seized and appointed trustees to 26 Democratic Regions Party led (DBP, constituent of a Peoples’ Democratic Party - HDP) municipalities. According to arguments of the government spokesman and the Interior Minister this number of municipalities seized will rise. Even if they revoke after the strong reactions, the first decisions of the appointed trustees were to take down Kurdish and Armenian signboards of the seized municipalities. Yet they immediately close down municipalities’ kindergartens that provide education in Kurdish and Women’s Centers. Destruction of the residential areas of Nusaybin and Şırnak towns which are under round clock curfews still continues. As it seems thousands will be still in tents when the winter comes.
More than 10 thousand members of Eğitim-Sen, leftist teachers union, mostly work in the Kurdish region, were suspended from duty. Most schools in Kurdish region suffer from this situation. In the western regions of the country, the process of transformation of the regular high schools into religious high schools continues rapidly even in some places blocked by the struggle of student’s parents. Erdoğan administration sent circulars to the public administrators to make lists of civil servants that they think they are sympathizers of terrorist organizations. It’s expected that government is going to use these lists to suspend thousands of members of Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK, the leftist union confederation which Eğitim-Sen is affiliated with).
Pro-Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem is shut down by the Erdoğan government administration and the chief editor and the some members of the advisory committee have been arrested. Tens of journalists and intellectuals took over chief editorship for a day to show solidarity before the closure of the newspaper, have been on trial. Editors and reporters of other democrat and opposition newspapers that haven’t been closed yet are constantly on trial.
Last week more than 20 leftist, critical, Kurdish television channels and radio stations had all been taken off the air and their equipment handed over to TRT (state owned radio and television corporation). A Kurdish music channel and a Kurdish children channel were amongst them. Representatives of democratic, leftist and pro-Kurdish political parties are not invited to TV channels as participants and these opponents views are not reported in the news in the all kind of mainstream media.
Moreover, thousands of members and executives of HDP, the third party in the parliament, and its constituent DBP have been arrested. Co-Chair of DBP, Kamuran Yüksek, had been kept in prison for more than 4 months before taken to court and parliamentary immunity of almost all HDP MPs are lifted. Judges are taking decisions to get Co-Chairs and MPs of HDP to court rooms forcibly anytime soon. It’s thought that government will act in that way in the earliest time.
As a priority Kurdish region, all across the country, governors by using state of emergency conditions ban every kind of rights based on democratic demonstration and protest. They restrain workers from taking actions. Also democratic, leftist, secularist forces are constantly attacked by the police while struggling for secularism and protesting peacefully. Government prevents environmentalists and allows big construction and mining projects by using state of emergency decree.
In the meantime EU does nothing more than giving some poor press statements. EU turns a blind eye to deaths, right violations, oppression and destructions in order to make Turkey to hold migrants. In many EU countries, social democrats are in the government either by themselves or as a part of a coalition, and yet they do nothing more than saying a few condemning words. The right-wing and conservative parties are just fine with the situation and they use it as a proof that Turkey does not belong to Europe.
After the elections of June 2015, that HDP passed the election threshold and prevented Erdoğan to achieve his dreams, Turkey is increasingly becoming authoritarian. Democratic and leftist forces of Europe should do something more than press statements to stop this way of Turkey.