On July 15, 2016 the government of Tayyip Erdoğan suffered an attempted coup. Since that time Turkey lives in a continuous state of emergency, which is concretized with a series of limitations of individual liberties, but which seems to be experienced by the average citizen with a certain indifference that in the eyes of Westerners could be perceived as something incredible. In Our perception, however, lacks the awareness, that for the Turks it is almost normal, that after a coup or an attempt at political upheaval, like that of July 2016, there is the suppression of certain liberties. The state of emergency allows arrests with summary counts, precautionary cases that are protracted for weeks if not months, prohibitions to leave the territory. During this last year Turkey has experienced moments of great internal and international tension. The April 2017 referendum reinforced even more the political power of President Erdoğan. This result, with its sequel of controversies, triggered a whole series of reactions. The opposition parties, and first the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the oldest party in Turkey, heir to Kemalism, today represent the country’s main secular political force, in opposition to the AKP. The People’s Party led by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in June 2017 organized a peaceful march from Ankara to Istanbul to put to the attention of national and international public a serious problem: the use that is made of the law, used as Instrument of oppression. The party leader stated that «we must unite this country around the right to justice and on the democratic values». The march ended in Istanbul with a great popular participation on July 9, 2017. The opposition party condemns the state of emergency in which, according to their point of view, democracy has been suspended. For this initiative, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has been awarded the Democracy Award 2017 (Medal for Democracy 2017), a prestigious international award that is assigned annually by the International Association of Political consultants to those who have distinguished themselves in the world for the promotion of democracy.
Every day in Turkey dozens of people are arrested accused of being linked in some way to what the the government of Ankara considered the creator of the attempted coup: Fethullah Gülen. The latter is a preacher and leader of the Gülen movement, also known as Hizmet. Gülen has been allied for years with the Turkish president Erdoğan, since 2013 this close relationship has been severely broken. The alliance broke after the scandal about corruption, Erdoğan accused Gülen of being behind the accusations of corruption that had, according to the president, the sole purpose of damaging and weakening the government and its political figure. In December 2013 the government decided to close many of the private teaching facilities created in Turkey by Gülen. Not only the network of Gülen is under strict supervision by the police, but after the coup are numerous university professors, the leaders, the military, the members of the public administration, the journalists who were arrested for connivance with Gülen, or with the accusation of having participated in the organization of the attempted coup. Many of them, after a more or less short period of detention, were released and some also reinstated in their respective job roles. Others, however, are still in jail waiting for a trial.
In addition to journalists, important exponents of amnesty International have been arrested in recent months, among them Taner Kılıç, president of Amnesty Turkey, who is in detention since 6 June.
Another excellent name dropped under the axe of government surveillance is that of Osman Kavala, entrepreneur and leading exponent of Turkish civil society. He is the promoter of important political and social initiatives in favour of human rights and against minorities discrimination (Armenians and Kurds in particular). After the military coup d’etat of 1980 he founded with Murat Belge, intellectual and scholar of Turkish cultural and political processes, the publishing house Iletisim. The circumstances of his arrest are not very clear: Osman Kavala was in Istanbul, returning from Gaziantep, city in southern Anatolia, where he had gone to carried out a project in collaboration with the Goethe Institut, when he was stopped by the police, and He was detained for 13 days. After a hearing in court, last 1 November was finally arrested with the accusation of conspiring to overthrow the Turkish government by abolishing the constitutional order. Essentially Osman Kavala is accused of having had a decisive role in the attempted coup d’etat of July 15, 2016 and to have contact with Fethullah Gülen.
In conclusion, we can say that, although it has been more than a year since the attempted coup, the situation in Turkey has not yet reverted to normal and the government still carries out a series of actions limiting personal liberties in order to strengthen itself more and more. These limitations in most cases affect the political opponents, the information workers and the representatives of institutions who have been fighting for human rights for years. In The latter case, a reflection runs fast: we must, in fact, remember that one of the reasons why Turkey was not admitted in Europe was precisely the poor Turkish propensity to respect human rights.