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As Democracy Dwindles in Wake of Turkey Coup, Leftists Critique West's Hypocrisy

Western leaders have been quick to condemn Erdoğan's autocratic crackdown while ignoring, allying with other dictators, critics say

A Turkish soldier stands guard in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Saturday. (Photo: Sedat Suna/Epa)

As the dust settles in the wake of Friday's attempted military coup in Turkey, Western media and leaders have been nearly unanimous in condemning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his autocratic crackdown on supposed dissidents.

Observers have pointed out that such condemnation looks like hypocrisy, as the same leaders have allied themselves with autocratic regimes elsewhere in the world and in the Middle East, in particular.

As Common Dreams reported, many leaders such as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini have emphatically warned Erdoğan to respect human rights in the wake of Friday's failed coup.

Indeed, when Erdoğan announced on Sunday that he would reinstate the death penalty, the international outcry was swift. Mogherini emphasized that Turkey would jeopardize its chances of joining the EU if it did so: "No country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty," she said, according to the Guardian.

Syrian writer Rime Allaf pointed out the hypocrisy of Western leaders' outrage on Facebook:

And other foreign policy commentators joined in:

It also didn't escape notice that the U.S. didn't publicly comment on the coup until it became clear that it had failed. As Middle East Eye editor-in-chief David Hearst wrote:

If you want to know why Europe and the US are a busted flush in the Middle East, why they have lost all moral authority, indeed any authority at all, and why they are no longer the candle bearers of democratic change, look no further than the three hours of silence as they waited to see which way the wind was blowing in Istanbul and Ankara.

Meanwhile, others pointed out the United States' own lack of democratic processes and unconstitutional detentions when it comes to so-called "suspected terrorists":


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Indeed, the U.S. announced Monday that it had resumed its ongoing, controversial air strikes on ISIS targets from a Turkish airbase:

Meanwhile, many Turkish people continued to decry Erdoğan's autocratic crackdown while also shooting down a conspiracy theory that the coup was staged by the Turkish leader as an excuse to grab power.

As Zeynep Tukefci, a Turkish professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, wrote on Twitter:

Indeed, many English-language journalists have been providing context for the situation in Turkey by recapping Erdoğan's history of authoritarianism and the concomitant rebellion against it in some political and military circles.

It appears Erdoğan's push to quell dissent has risen to new heights following the failed coup: as of Monday, nearly 8,000 police officers had been fired and over 8,000 people had been detained for alleged involvement in the coup.

"So numerous are those detained that a sports stadium is being used to hold some of them," the Independent reported Sunday.

And on Monday, the Turkish government warned the U.S. that it would sacrifice good relations if the country refused to extradite the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, a longtime political opponent of Erdoğan who currently lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and oversees a controversial network of U.S. charter schools. Erdoğan has blamed Gülen and his followers for orchestrating the coup.

As the Guardian's Ranj Alaaldin wrote, "As with many coups around the world, the aftermath will be bloody and repressive. It will be rule of the mob, rather than rule of law that will shape Turkish politics and society[...] Darker days lie ahead for Turkey."

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