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Erdogan readies for show of strength on anniversary of botched coup

The ceremonies planned for the anniversary of last year’s coup attempt in Turkey represent not only a condemnation of military coups but also a drive to sanctify the new political order that Ankara has sought to install since the putsch.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference to present the outcome of the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 8, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX3ANAV

Turkey is gearing up for a big spectacle on July 15, the anniversary of last year’s failed coup. As part of ceremonies planned by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), parliament will hold a special session and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will address the nation. Then at midnight, sala prayers will ring out from mosques across the country and people will take to the streets, re-enacting an episode from the night of the botched coup. What to make of this commemoration program? Is it simply a tribute to democratic resistance against military coups in Turkey or the harbinger of an AKP-sponsored ideological celebration? The question is closely related to the key trends swaying Turkey today, hence the clues to the answer lie in the big picture of national politics.

The putsch, blamed on followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the AKP’s former ally, has dominated almost all political developments and debates in Turkey over the past year. It has deeply affected the balances of the system and reshaped the government’s ideological narrative. The most crucial element of the coup aftermath is, no doubt, the purges at public institutions and universities and in the media and the business community; the purges have become a continuous process and are still ongoing.

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