Turkish government directs arrest of 42 journalists, academics in wake of failed coup

uni1469462620ANKARA, Turkey – On Monday, Turkey ordered the arrest of 42 journalists in continuation of a crackdown that targeted more than 60,000 people after an attempted coup failed.

According to reports, the clampdown, including arrests or suspensions of soldiers, police, judges and civil servants, has invoked the European Union’s ire, as well as that of activist groups.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called Turkey’s long- standing desire to join the EU into question, and said, “I believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to become a member any time soon and not even over a longer period.”

Turkey’s increased inclination towards reinstating capital punishment, after its abolishment in 2004, was also questioned.

Juncker warned that if the death penalty was reinstated, it would stop the EU accession process immediately.

In response, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Europe cannot threaten Turkey regarding the death penalty.

The government added that the steps were required to weed out supporters of the coup, and will not infringe on the basic rights of Turkish citizens, despite the state of emergency.

Cavusoglu warned that Turkish-U.S. relations could be affected if Washington refused to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen who Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of being behind the July 15 coup.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said he was sure that “U.S. President [Barack] Obama, the U.S. intelligence and Secretary of State know this coup [attempt] was made by Gulen.”

He added, “The U.S. government does not have any justification in defending and keeping Gulen.”

Meanwhile, Erdogan invited leaders of Turkey’s main opposition parties to the presidential palace in a show of gratitude for their stance against the coup attempt.

The invites, in the form of letters, were addressed to the head of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, head of main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli.

The letter stated, “The armed coup attempt by the FETO terrorist group aiming to demolish the democratic state ruled by a constitution, fundamental rights and liberties and the Republic of Turkey was prevented by the brave resistance of our people who strongly adhered to its democracy.”

It added, “The Turkish people encumbered important responsibilities on all of our institutions by their decisive stance against the coup attempt and now expect our political parties to carry out the same responsibilities in this extremely critical period when we need to be in solidarity.”

The meeting is being regarded as “historic” given that it is the first time all three main parties in the Turkish Parliament put up a united front, and also Kilicdaroglu’s first visit to the palace.  Culled From BNN Online

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About Cholo Brooks 14304 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.