In the Nicole Kidman movie The Interpreter, it turned out at the end that the plot to assassinate the tyrannical president Edmund Zuwanie -- whom the U.N. was considering to indict to stand trial in the International Criminal Court -- was only a false operation created by Zuwanie himself to gain credibility that his rivals are terrorists and to deter potential supporters of his removal.
I don't know why this scene popped into my mind when I read the news about the attempt of Coup d'Etat in Turkey. Some stories suggested that this coup might have been staged by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself. A theory that may or may not be true, but even when ruling it out, Erdogan seems to be the ultimate winner in this failed coup.
On the very next day of the coup attempt, there were news that thousands of "traitors" were arrested, a thing that was very surprising because it makes you wonder when exactly did investigations take place to reveal all the names of the traitors. Or was it perhaps a ready-made list? Johannes Hahn, The EU commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, had doubts on the speed the arrests were made.
What was more disturbing is that the list of the traitors grew monstrously big that at the end it made 60,000 soldiers, judges, civilians suspended, detained or are under investigation. 21,000 teachers were sacked from their jobs, 1,600 university deans were asked to resign from state and private universities. Turkey also banned academics from leaving the country for academic purposes. 42 journalists were subjected to arrest warrants. While Turkish Airlines fired more than 100 employees, including management and cabin crew. Additionally, Erdogan ordered the closure of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 foundations and associations, 35 medical institutions, 19 unions, and 15 universities that are claimed to be linked to Fethullah Gülen, the exiled cleric blamed for the failed coup. But the list of traitors appear to include anyone the Erdogan government views as a potential threat to its power and not only those related to Gülen.
The widespread crackdown made Human rights group Amnesty International says it received evidence of Turkish detainees being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape.
My way or high way
"Has nothing to do with democracy. He killed thousands of his own people." These were the words of Erdogan about the Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, but these words seem only true about Erdogan himself who made a recent statement saying: "Democracy, freedom and the rule of law... For us, these words have absolutely no value any longer. Those who stand on our side in the fight against terrorism are our friend. Those on the opposite side are our enemy".
When Egypt was suffering many terror attacks by islamists related to the Muslim Brotherhood -- strong allies of the Turkish president -- and Ansar Bait al-Maqdis group that claimed allegiance with ISIS, Erdogan was issuing fiery statements attacking Egypt and the crack-down on Islamists. Now he has no problem doing the very things he claimed to criticize in the past. Not only that, he shamelessly allows the arrest of those who "insult the president" -- a crime that carries a penalty of up to four years in prison - and says out loud that he doesn't respect court ruling that denounces the detention of journalists.
Seems that democracy to Erdogan is what is of benefit for himself, his authority and his allies only.
"An almost-assassinated leader gets so much credibility, so he can stay in power and gets to stick around to enjoy it" -- The Interpreter.
Replace almost-assassinated with almost-toppled and the sentence can be valid for Erdogan's current situation.