Five Years After Failed Coup, Turkey Languishes in Doldrums

Five years after a group in the military tried to overthrow President Erdogan’s government, democracy and rule of law are in decline – as is the economy – while the young flee the country.

Five years ago, a coup attempt was stopped by loyalist soldiers and ordinary people in Turkey.

“July 15 was the victory of the nation, the nation’s will and democracy. With their resistance, our nation stopped a coup attempt but also an invasion attempt, which aimed to take over our country,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 15 at a ceremony in parliament marking the fifth anniversary since the failed coup attempt.

On July 15, 2016, a group of soldiers tried to overthrow the government. They are accused of being part of the so-called Gulenist Movement, a socio-religious group led by the preacher Fethullah Gulen who has lived in exile in the US since 1999. Gulen denies any links, however, and has repeatedly called for an international commission to investigate the failed coup attempt.

Since then, Ankara has called Gulen Movement the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation”, or “FETO” for short.

There are still many questions about that night of terror in which 251 people died and more than 2,000 were injured. But an international commission has never been established and even the Turkish parliament’s report on the coup has never been published.

However, one thing is certain; President Erdogan has become an absolute ruler, first under a state of emergency and later under a new presidential system.

Since then, according to experts, democracy has declined, a crackdown on every critical group has intensified, the economy has faltered and the country has undergone various international crises – despite Erdogan’s promises to make life better with his strengthened powers.

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