“A climate of fear has been created in Turkey by the mass arrests of police, civil servants and those accused of opposition sympathies, according to the United Nations. Any state had to respond to violent attacks, but it must not violate human rights while doing so, the UN high commissioner for human rights said yesterday. It was, he added, highly unlikely that those arrested or suspended in the two purges ordered by President Erdoğan since the attempted coup last July would be treated with due process,” wrote in The Times’ editorial article.
Accusing the UN assessment on Turkey as an understatement, The Times wrote that “The figures alone indicate the paranoid reactions of a president determined not only to smash his enemies and eliminate any potential political opposition but to award himself such sweeping powers that there will be no future check on his personal authority or opportunity for dissent.”
Assessing the purge of 14,000 police officers just after April 16 referendum, The Times wrote that “Thousands are now in jail, joining teachers, army officers, judges, journalists and civil servants whose loyalty has been questioned and who have been arrested merely on suspicion of harboring Gülenist sympathies. Some people believe Mr Erdoğan wants to create a loyal corps of paramilitary police as a counterweight to the army, the target of repeated purges, with the conflict against the Kurds in the east being used as a training ground.”
Reminding that the use of a violent incident to instigate purge after purge, settle scores and intimidate independent voices is a tactic often employed by dictators seeking absolute power, the paper wrote that “Stalin launched his purges after the assassination of Sergey Kirov in 1934; Hitler rushed through the enabling legislation that saw thousands of opponents arrested after the burning of the Reichstag a year earlier.”