Turkey shrouded in fear with thousands arrested and claims of torture in wake of failed coup

Turkey shrouded in fear with thousands arrested and claims of torture in wake of failed coup, by the ABC. 125,000 public servants have been dismissed, and 40,000 arrested since last year’s failed coup.

First it was military officers suspected of involvement in trying to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but it soon ballooned into a massive purge that still continues.

US-based Islamic cleric Fataleh Gulen is blamed as the instigator, and his followers, as well as teachers, journalists and judges — in fact anyone accused of holding independent views — have been sacked or arrested. There are frequent claims of torture. …

Independent thinker calling for political reform:

Three years ago “Deniz”, a 26-year-old philosophy graduate, was an active voice in Turkey’s political reform movement. … I last saw Deniz in 2014 hobbling on crutches after protests in Gezi Park calling for political reform. A police car moved slowly forward over her, breaking her leg in three places. …

“At Gezi Park people were hopeful, brave, ready to sacrifice. We saw the power of our unity. We saw that we could win,” she says now. “But so did the Government. So they changed everything.”

Her world is shattered. Her father and uncle, both university professors, were fired and now scratch a living selling fish by the river. Deniz’s fiance languishes in prison. He was a journalist working in an independent newsroom that was raided by police, and closed. All but government sponsored media has been shut down, and internet sites are restricted. …

The all-powerful state destroys those with whom it disagrees:

With no assistance from police, Asuman eventually found her husband Eyup in hospital, undergoing surgery for a ruptured intestine.

He had been stripped naked, blindfolded, and tortured. Eyup documented the police beatings in a statement: “They beat me on the soles of my feet, on my stomach, then squeezed my testicles, saying they would castrate me,” he says, going on to detail extremely brutal assaults.

After three weeks in hospital, he is now back in the over-crowded prison with the rest of the men in the Ozdemir family awaiting trial. …

Another man, speaking in Ankara, detailed the 13 days of torture his 66-year-old father endured, including having his toenails pulled out. His trial is scheduled for February 20.

The man fears for his own safety, and knows many who have been arrested and tortured, including his brother-in-law. “It’s always the same. Everyone is taken for interrogation and tortured for at least the first few weeks,” he says, wanting to remain anonymous.

Turkey is sliding from being officially secular back to a brutal totalitarian Islamic state. Horrible horrible story. And Turkey wants acceptance into the EU? And is in NATO? The veneer of civilization is so thin.

hat-tip Joanne