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Erdogan shows his true, authoritarian colors

Turkey took a dangerous turn toward autocracy with the arrest of journalists critical of the government.
Protesters, who are supporting soccer fans on trial, shout slogans outside a court in Istanbul December 16, 2014. Thirty-five fans of Istanbul soccer club Besiktas go on trial accused of attempting to stage a coup during last summer's anti-government protests, in what rights groups say is a blatant abuse of criminal justice system and another sign of Erdogan's desire for revenge. Evidence cited against the fans supporting the idea they were engaged in criminal activity include them buying pizza and meatball

Early on the morning of Dec. 14, while waiting at an Istanbul airport for my flight to Amsterdam, my phone rang. It was Hasan Cemal, a colleague and a prominent veteran of Turkish journalism. He said he was on his way from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, where he had delivered a speech on the occasion of the Armenian edition of his book, “1915: Armenian Genocide.” He was on his way to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to catch a flight to Istanbul.

He asked if I had heard “the big news.” I was still in Istanbul, and I did learn the news of a police operation directed against 31 people, among them Ekrem Dumanli, editor-in-chief of the country’s largest-selling daily, Zaman, and the head of Samanyolu TV. Both are affiliated with Fethullah Gulen, the religious personality in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania for more than 15 years now, who has been turned by his former ally, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, into “public enemy No. 1.”

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