Turkey’s Erdogan meets opposition as post-coup crackdown continues

Turquie Erdogan Opposition

Turquie Erdogan Opposition

Turkey’s government on Monday continued its crackdown on those suspected of supporting a failed coup last week as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made overtures to the political opposition.

Turkey ordered the detention of 42 journalists on Monday, broadcaster NTV reported, as part of a sweeping purge that began immediately after the unsuccessful military coup of July 15.

The crackdown has already targeted more than 60,000 people, drawing fire from the European Union.

The arrests or suspensions of soldiers, police, judges and civil servants have raised concerns among rights groups and Western countries, who fear Erdogan is capitalising on the failed coup to consolidate his grip on power.

The well-known commentator and former parliamentarian Nazli Ilicack was among the 42 journalists subject to arrest warrants, NTV reported.

Meanwhile, the state-run Turkish Airlines said it had fired 211 employees, citing suspected links to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has blamed for the attempted putsch.

Turkish Airlines said their contracts were terminated due to “the non-fulfilment of performance criteria and in line with the necessary actions we are taking against the FETO structure”, an acronym used by Ankara for Gulen’s movement. Gulen has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.

Erdogan nevertheless made overtures to Turkey’s political opposition on Monday, inviting some of their leaders to meet with him in the presidential palace.

He held a three-hour meeting with Kemal Kiliçdaroglu of the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP). In a rare show of unity, Kiliçdaroglu said it had been a “positive meeting”.

Erdogan also met with Devlet Bahceli of the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

He did not invite the leader of the left-wing pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, who Erdogan has referred to as a “terrorist” in the past.

The Turkish president has declared a nationwide state of emergency, which allows him to sign new laws without prior parliamentary approval and limit rights as he deems necessary.

The government has said these steps are needed to root out supporters of the coup and won’t infringe on the rights of ordinary Turks.