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Treason becomes routine accusation in Turkey

After Erdogan’s harsh accusation of treason to anyone critical of his policies, a daily Cumhuriyet columnist calculates that half of the population is acting treacherously.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses to supporters during the celebrations of his election victory in front of the party headquarters in Ankara August 10, 2014. Erdogan secured his place in history as Turkey's first directly elected president on Sunday, sweeping more than half the vote in a result his opponents fear heralds an increasingly authoritarian state. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)   - RTR41W94

Treason is a loaded word, but new Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it a habit over the years to accuse anyone critical of his policies with treason. He did the same Aug. 27 in his farewell speech to his Justice and Development Party (AKP) members and used the word “treason” 12 times, accusing the opposition, the Gulenists and the judiciary.

Making insinuations against former Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin, former Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay and AKP founding member Abdullatif Sener, Erdogan said: “We witnessed in our recent history those who betrayed their cause, their party, and engaged in treason against their nation. You should know too well that no one remembers them and no one will ever do so.” Erdogan also pointed at Hakan Sukur, a former AKP deputy and a follower of US-based Sunni cleric Fethullah Gulen: “You should also know well that no one will ever remember those who resigned from the party via one telephone call coming from overseas, or those who believed the messages brought by those in favor of a coup in the country.” Sukur resigned from the party after the December 2013 graft probe surfaced and Erdogan began an open battle against the Gulenist establishment in Turkey's security and judiciary bodies, accusing it of setting up a parallel state aiming to overthrow the government.

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