Erdogan leads rolling, auto-coup d’etat in Turkey, key NATO ally


Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, following the anti-corruption investigations, arrests, and indictments of a number of his closest supporters and their relatives, apparently including an investigation of his own son, has responded by firing or reassigning thousands of police officials, prosecutors and judges, while ordering that all officials report to their superiors any such investigations underway, and before arrests are made or indictments are issued. He is currently pushing through legislation that would give him unprecedented authority over the appointment of judges.

These officials are apparently not being reassigned or removed from their offices in accordance with established procedures, pursuant to legal proceedings aimed at an impartial determination of the facts regarding any allegations against them. Moreover, Erdogan has unleashed a climate of intimidation which is hardly conducive to impartial decision making by anyone legally required to reach an unbiased judgment based on an impartial finding of the facts in cases of removal or reassignment.

What is taking place appears to be a clear attempt by Erdogan to overthrow the legal order in Turkey, so that it becomes subservient to his will. In burying the corruption scandals in this grotesque manner, he is increasingly assuming the mantle of one-man authoritarian rule.

In short, Erdogan has launched–from within the highest level of the state itself–a coup d’etat. The rule of law, under a constitutional government, is being overthrown.

Yet very few foreign reporters and statesmen address the issue directly. The fact that Turkey is a NATO member and aspires to membership in the European Union highlights both the risk to NATO, and the immense cost the Turksh people could eventually pay as and if aaccession to the EU utterly recedes from the realm of possibility. In acession discussions this week, Europe has stressed the importance of democracy for accession to occur.

But what is going on in Turkey deserves much greater and louder attention from the democracies of NATO and the world. The first thing that is needed is a clear denunciation of the coup d’etat that Is cuurently underway–without mincing words, and without wrapping this cold, hard truth in diplomatic niceties.

Would it be nonsensical to ask, what is America’s position, and what concrete steps has it taken to get Erdogan to reverse his current ruinous course?

Has the issue even popped up on Barack Obama’s radar screen?

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.