With the April 16 referendum, Turkey took its first step into a new era. It is a step toward institutionalizing a populist model of governance that will open new ground for violations and tensions in vital areas such as justice, freedom and the supremacy of law.
Since the botched coup in July 2016, Turkey has seen two distinct trends in this context. The first is the ongoing purge and punishment of the putschist group, that is, followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the accused mastermind of the coup. The second is the clampdown on the opposition and the media, which is carried out on the pretext of the coup attempt. Scores of government opponents have been arrested arbitrarily for alleged links to the putschists. Intellectuals and journalists who have nothing to do with the Gulenists and who have long stood up against military coups are now facing life sentences on incredible charges, including “subliminal” communication with the putschists via TV programs and articles.