German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged Erdogan’s government to react in a restrained way to last week’s failed coup and end the three-month state of emergency as quickly as possible.
“Only provable involvement in illegal acts, not suspected political leanings, should trigger governmental action,” Steinmeier said.
It was in Turkey’s interest to “keep the state of emergency only for the duration that is absolutely necessary and then immediately end it,” he said.
‘Increasingly authoritarian traits’
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said Turkey’s ambassador had been summoned to explain whether Ankara was directly behind pro-Erdogan demonstrations by thousands of Turkish residents in the alpine republic last weekend.
“We’re worried that Turkey is now developing increasingly authoritarian traits,” Kurz told Austrian public radio Ö1. “The coup attempt needs to be condemned but it’s not a free license for such [re]actions.”
In Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by allied foreign ministers, said that while “we condemn this coup,” it was important that the response to it “fully respects that democracy that we are supporting.”
Emergency rule gazetted
declared the state of emergency late on Wednesday after a five-hour meeting of Turkey’s National Security Council and his ministers. It was published in Turkey’s official gazette Thursday morning, making it effective.
It assigns the cabinet chaired by the president the power to issue decrees with legislative power that cannot be challenged before Turkey’s constitutional court.
Rejects Western criticism
Erdogan rejected Western criticism that he had already gone too far in
suspending or arresting some 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers.
Government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus blamed a “parallel structure” led by the US-exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has denied involvement.
Erdogan vowed to clean what he termed the “virus” from all state institutions.
‘Very alarming signs’
Gulen spokesman Alp Aslandogan said events in Turkey resembled “the pre-genocidal periods in fascist Europe.”
“These are very alarming signs and we are very concerned,” he said.
No backsliding, claims deputy PM
Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek asserted Thursday there would be no backsliding on human rights or a free press, and claimed life would go on “un-impacted, with “business as usual.”
On Tuesday, authorities shut media outlets deemed to have links with Gulen.
Residents deactivating social media accounts
The German news agency DPA said while Istanbul locals continued to celebrate the coup’s failure it quoted a resident as saying that “many people” were deactivating their social media accounts, fearing a further clampdown.
“Three people were dismissed in my company yesterday, and there are rumors of 15 more on the list,” the source told DPA.
Mobile users across Turkey received text messages sent by “RTErdogan,” early Thursday, urging people to stay in the streets to resist “the terrorists.”
Last Monday, the state-run news agency Anadolu said Ankara’s police had demanded that social media users disclose suspected putsch supporters by storing and sending screenshot images from their devices. Anadolu provide numerous police email addresses.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing a civilian counter-coup, said pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party lawmaker Ziya Pir.
Many opposition factions were “afraid of being lynched,” Pir said.
The newspaper Hurriyet Daily said Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas had told a crowd in Taksim Square that he had reserved a burial plot to be called “the graveyard of traitors.”
Mustafa Sentop, a senior figure in Erdogan’s right-wing Justice and Development Party (AKP), reiterated calls Wednesday for the restoration of the death penalty in Turkey for crimes aimed at changing the constitutional order.
‘Last chance’ for EU
The governments of the European Union, which in March struck a refugee deal with Turkey, faced what could be their “last opportunity” to insist on press freedoms, freedom of expression and the rule of law in Turkey “before the country possibly really becomes a dictatorship,” said German opposition Greens foreign affairs spokesman, Omid Nouripour.
“Therefore [they] must speak loud and clearly, and not just about the death penalty,” Nouripour told German Deutschlandfunk public radio.
Excessive reaction, say Germans
A YouGov survey among Germans published Thursday found that four-out-of-five viewed Erdogan’s actions as excessive. Two-thirds regarded the detention of soldiers and judges as “very inappropriate.”
Despite Turkish denials, speculation that last Friday’s coup was stage-managed by Turkey’s government was endorsed by 34 percent of Germans interviewed.
A further 32 percent regarded that scenario as “rather probable.” Every third German surveyed viewed Turkey as a “very dangerous” tourist destination.
YouGov said its sample involved 2,137 persons interviewed between Monday and Wednesday.
ipj/kms (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)