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Turkey crosses new thresholds in descent to autocracy

As Ankara has expanded its crackdown on opposition quarters and crossed some critical thresholds in what now seems a drive to lay the foundations of an autocratic regime, is the country at the ultimate breaking point with democracy?
Police detain Sebahat Tuncel, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP), during a protest against the arrest of Kurdish lawmakers, in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, November 4, 2016. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar - RTX2RWQJ
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Watching the state of affairs in Turkey, one cannot help but wonder whether the country weathered a coup attempt in July or fell victim to a successful one. This alarming question is fueled by three patterns of action the government has followed after the botched coup, using extraordinary powers made possible by its declared state of emergency.

The first is a purge of the opposition. The judicial and administrative clampdown after the July 15 coup attempt has had as a target not only the putschists, but increasingly the media, opposition groups and the Kurdish movement as well. It's now as clear as day. Writers and intellectuals of various stripes have landed behind bars on arbitrary and trivial grounds. Twenty-four Kurdish mayors have been removed from office and replaced with government-appointed public servants.

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