it’s the 4th day of the purge.  the turkish purge of 2016, in its fourth day, finally surpassed the installments of the purge series, and, is far, far more bloodier and terrifying: as of today, the body count hit 49,321.  let’s round it up to 50,000.  50,000 people lost their jobs, were forced to resign, etc, and are about to get persecuted.  i am not saying all were innocent– i am sure there were some bad apples in the basket, but 50,000?  imagine the US government purging 50,000 government employees overnight?  the number is mind boggling.

the 50,000 allegedly has links to the gulen movement– a movement designated as a terrorist group by the turkish government.  now, purging 50,000 potential “terrorists” is a good soundbyte and makes sense in first blush.  but, when you look at who was purged, it is not only the suspected gulen followers, but, anyone and everyone who doesn’t support the erdogan government.  from religious minorities (not talking about the jews– they were purged long ago), but, different sects of islam, ethnic minorities, anyone with dissenting voices or anyone affiliated with them.

let’s look at the ramifications of this humongous purge:  at least 15,200 of the purged were in education, including 1,500 university deans.  15,200 teachers (including private school teachers who had their teaching licenses yanked), deans, professors, administrators, and everyone in between.  as with all the other purges in the AKP and erdogan regime, those 15,200 will be replaced with their “people”.  then the 2,000 judges and prosecutors that were purged over the weekend.  the list goes on and on.  after this last purge wave, the entire turkish government and education, will be one huge and happy erdogan cadre.

moreover, until the vacancies are filled, and the new appointments gain sufficient experience (presuming that they have the minimum qualifications– after all, how can you fill up a 50,000 vacancy overnight with qualified candidates?), the infrastructure may crumble, the economy could tank, and, the country’s security is susceptible at best.

but, mr. erdogan and AKP are confident.  they know what they want and they are getting it.  as mr. erdogan said immediately after the coup attempt, the revolt “was a great gift from allah” to him and his followers”.

and the purge is nothing but another solid step towards a totalitarian islamic state (slight oxymoron here) after the first official flirtations with mr. erdogan’s new and emerging revolutionary guard.

democracies work with checks and balances– with checks and balances, dictatorships, capricious administrations, corruption, favoritism, discrimination, persecutions of minorities may be prohibited or at least minimized.

the most traditional way of checks and balances stem from the separation of powers– judiciary, legislative and executive bodies should work independently and check each other’s actions.

if one person or persons take control of all three powers, ie. judiciary, legislation and the executive branch, then, there can be no democracy, no due process of the law, no equality, no liberty, no pursuit of happiness or no justice for all, except a select few.

and, this is precisely the threat of these purges.  as well as their perceived raison d’etre.

the question begs itself:  how did 50,000 gulen followers (actually probably the double or triple of that, given the past and future purges) were placed in the turkish government, under the micromanaging nose of mr. erdogan and his executives?

first of all, we should discount this number a little– with the presumed gulen followers, all the other undesirables, ie. those who refused to drink mr. erdogan’s kool-aid, those with “undesirable” ethnicities, religions, etc., those who had the courage to express opinions against the erdogan administration, those who were photographed with other undesirables and had those photos posted on facebook, etc. were also purged.   as if someone had a wish-list of “undesirables” and they were folded in with the rest…

discounting the “undesirable” that still leaves a huge chunk of “how on hell did they get into the government in such big numbers under erdogan’s nose?”.

the answer is obvious and not pleasant:  mr. erdogan placed them there.  or, at the very least, he was complacent and conspiring in their placement.

you see, mr. erdogan and mr. gulen used to be allies.  until they fell apart in 2013.  up to that point, their interests were aligned, and, the gulen movement was mr. erdogan’s lifeline.   the largest turkish civic and military purges of recent history, before the purge of 2016, ergenekon and the sledgehammer (balyoz) operations were the illegitimate love children of mr. gulen and mr. erdogan, with the premise of purging “dissidents” and placing them with gulen and erdogan followers.  mostly the gulen followers benefited.

but, don’t take my word for it– according to the 600 page criminal complaint filed by mr. erdogan’s prosecutors in turkey, “Harp okullarından en çok öğrenci 2007-2013 yılı aralığında atılmıştır. Bu tarih aralığı FETÖ’nün TSK’nin içerisine en fazla öğrenci yerleştirdiği dönem olmuştur” which translates to: “2007-2013 marks the years when highest number of students were expelled from military academies.  during that period FETÖ (the gulen movement) placed the highest numbers of replacement cadets”.

2007 to 2013 also happens to be the strongest AKP administration in history (their votes and parliamentary power decreased consistently since 2013).   hence, the fact that AKP and mr. erdogan were complacent, if not outright responsible, for placing the gulen followers in the military, according to the AKP prosecutors themselves.  and, they would have stayed there happily after if not for the nasty divorce between mr. gulen and mr. erdogan.

but, like all love relationships between two alpha males, they fell apart- the details are still murky as to how, and even murkier as to the why.

but, forget the why and the how, the split was internecine.  both sides suffered immensely.  the scandal of december 17 for erdogan, and the ensuing purges and the persecution of the gulen movement were vicious.

after the divorce, mr. erdogan played the part of the betrayed partner, the strong and democratic world leader, who will clean up his country no matter what (without mentioning cleaning it up from the “monster” he helped create), and, mr. gulen assumed the part of the misunderstood peace loving borderline hippy religious leader, with peace and freedom awards to show for it.   but, behind the scenes, their infighting grew more vicious and internecine.

now, 4 days after the coup attempt, allegedly by a handful of military officers under the control of mr. gulen, mr. erdogan is inches away from convincing his followers that this 50,000 gulenists infiltrated the ranks of the government, military, judiciary, and education without his knowledge, and, he, the hero is swiftly dealing with them.  kudos to mr. erdogan for selling such myth and fiction.  and i am serious in my congratulations– never thought someone would sell such a hoax.  and i am equally awed by mr. erdogan’s followers– never thought the turkish people would be this gullible.  but, nevertheless,  to give credit to my people, given that it is a time of crises and desperation, perhaps blind faith may be excused and understood.  as they say, the bigger the lie…

in the meantime, both the US, EU, and NATO are warning mr. erdogan for his undemocratic measures, purges, and his calls for executions (and, the prerequisite calls for the resurrection of the death penalty in turkey), and implying, very explicitly that turkey may lose its NATO membership and any and all hopes of joining the EU if he proceeds in this trajectory.

and, finally, reporting from the trenches of the turkish social media, his emerging “revolutionary guard” is on a rampage under the hashtag #turkiyemeydanlarda, meaning, turkey (or turkish people) in the plazas, with all forms of calls of violence and mayhem:  twitter and facebook are full of “good riddances”, “we’ll kill ’em alls”, “we will burn thems”, etc. from his emerging revolutionary guard to the rest of the turkish people, who beg to differ with mr. erdogan, and are living in fear.

to be continued (unfortunately) in this vein..