Failed Turkish Coup Accelerated a Planned Erdogan Purge Years in the Making
President Tayyip Erdogan ordered the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup. The first decree signed by Erdogan authorizes the closure of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions over suspected links to the Gulen movement, the Anadolu agency said. Turkish authorities have suspended, detained or placed under investigation more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, teachers, civil servants and others in the past week.Critics of Erdogan in Turkey and abroad fear he is using the failed coup to wage an indiscriminate crackdown on his opponents. Critics say that the purges risk sweeping up innocent people too and that some institutions being shut down may have little or no connection to Gulen's movement, and Erdogan can lock up anyone he doesn't like without due procces simply by stating that "he's a Gulen traitor". Many have wondered how the government could so quickly identify so many thought to be traitors. The answer, Turkish officials say, is that they had been preparing for this for years. Government officials have been candid on that point, saying that before the attempted coup, they were already compiling lists of military officers and other officials who were suspected of loyalty to Mr. Gulen. But since the government officials did not have sufficient evidence to convict them in court, they planned to sideline them over time. “We knew a lot, but either we didn’t have enough legal basis or the time” to remove the Gulenists from government, Mr. Simsek, the deputy prime minister, told reporters on Thursday. And the failed coup attempt has provided the AK party and president Erdogan the perfect excuse to execute and accelerate their long planned purge of Turkey's institutions and society.