The echos of July 20th – by Waseem Altaf



The bomb plot of July 20th,1944 to assassinate Adolf Hitler failed. As a consequence,7000 people were arrested by the Gestapo out of which 4980 were executed-only to prolong Hitler’s stay in power for another 288 days.

The plot to overthrow Turkey’s Erdogan has also failed.In the aftermath of the failed coup some 18000 government officials have been sacked, whereas 7500 people mainly from the armed forces, have either been arrested or detained. Hundreds of judges have also been fired.I wonder what was their role in a military revolt.Some local media outlets put the numbers of those dismissed or detained at some 50,000 people.So far, the broadcasting licenses for at least two dozen Turkish radio and TV channels have been canceled for alleged links to Fethullah Gulen,the US based Turkish cleric alleged to be behind the coup. Academics have also been banned from traveling abroad in what a Turkish official said was a temporary measure to prevent the risk of alleged coup plotters in universities from fleeing. State TRT television said 95 academics have been removed from their posts at Istanbul University alone. Around a third of Turkey’s roughly 360 serving generals have also been detained since the coup bid.

The Turkish government says those who are believed to be involved won’t be allowed a religious burial, according to Turkey’s state news agency. And Turkey can decree this — because the Religious Affairs Directorate employs all 75,000 imams in Turkey’s mosques. It is worthwhile to mention that mosques also played a significant role in mobilizing the people.

As members of the armed forces,the upholders of secular tradition in Turkey are being rounded up and tossed in jails and civilian institutions are being purged of perceived enemies,the Islamists are chanting slogans and dancing in the streets.It appears the solitary winner in this entire episode is political Islam.Though secular and liberal Turks generally opposed the coup,the supporters of Erdogan including women in headscarves were chanting not pro-democracy but religious slogans. Now either Erdogan can take this opportunity to curb all forms of dissent,resort to autocracy and redesign all institutions to his own advantage or he can reciprocate the cooperation extended to him by opponent parties by establishing the rule of law and allow dissent.

But in view of Erdogan’s past history we can safely assume that in the wake of the failed coup it appears that he would further strengthen his power and make dissent very difficult.And it appears that prospects of a secular/liberal Turkey are bleak in the coming days and a brutal resurgence of political Islam is about to determine the future course of events.

However,how long will it last? Nobody has the answer!