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Ankara accused of weaponizing pandemic measures against opposition

The Turkish government is accused of abusing pandemic restrictions to suppress the opposition and advance its own political agenda.
TOPSHOT - People clash with Turkish police ahead of the funeral of Turkish lawyer Ebru Timtik in the Gazi District of Istanbul on August 28, 2020. - A Turkish lawyer seeking a fair trial after being charged with membership of a terrorist organisation has died in an Istanbul hospital on the 238th day of her hunger strike.  Friends said Ebru Timtik weighed just 30 kilogrammes (65 pounds) at the time of her death late August 27, which has sparked condemnation from opposition parties in Turkey as well as from a
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The efficiency of Turkey’s measures against the coronavirus remains questionable, but they have clearly become a new government tool to fuel political tensions and polarization. Ankara has banned opposition protests and other politically inconvenient events while the ruling party has no trouble mustering crowds to promote its own agenda.

On Aug. 30, the government banned celebrations of Victory Day, marking Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s decisive defeat of invading Greek forces in 1922 before his proclamation of the secular Turkish republic the following year. Heavy-handed police greeted those who took to streets in defiance of the ban. A parliament member from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said he was kicked by the security forces. Police sealed off streets leading to Ataturk’s mausoleum in Ankara. The only group allowed to the mausoleum were supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, flouting the solemn atmosphere of the edifice, chanted slogans in support of the president as he laid a wreath at Ataturk’s tomb. 

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