How to avoid being labelled a fascist in Turkey
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Ankara has banned any form of political expression in a country where the right-wing nationalist, anti-government party known as Fethullah Gulen has been accused of running a network of schools, hospitals and mosques that allegedly instigated and directed the 2016 coup attempt.
The ban, part of an effort to rein in a growing tide of anti-democratic and anti-religious sentiments in Turkey, came into force on Monday, after a government committee approved it by a two-thirds majority.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators staged protests across Turkey’s largest cities in the aftermath of the coup attempt, and dozens of people were killed during the protests.
The ban applies to any organisation that advocates, directs or attempts to influence the political affairs of a country’s people, the state broadcaster TRT television reported.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the ban would “protect freedom of expression and democracy” and was necessary to protect national security.
“The Turkish people’s right to voice their opinion has been violated and the people of Turkey will not be silenced,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page.
“This will not stop us from achieving our aims, and we will not tolerate any attempt to subvert the democratic process.
Turkey is an open society, a place where the rights of every citizen are protected.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has long been accused by the US of running an intelligence operation that led to the failed coup.
Erdogan has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses supporters during a rally to mark the 15th anniversary of the failed July 2016 coup in Istanbul on October 5, 2018.
Turkey has a history of authoritarian rule, with the military junta that overthrew the country’s first democratically elected president in a 1953 coup, and a state of emergency enacted after the failed putsch.
A number of pro-government media outlets have been shut down since July, and hundreds of thousands have been detained, including thousands of political activists and journalists.
Many have since been released.
Ankara has banned any form of political expression in a country where the right-wing nationalist, anti-government party known as Fethullah…