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.