CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 19 August 2017

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Coups have no place in Turkey

HONG KONG (SE): In the early hours of July 15, international newswires were clogged with reports of a coup d’état in Turkey in which a section of the military took over Istanbul airport and declared itself a peace council with the aim of restoring democratic rights that the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has trampled over.

A statement released on July 16 by the Hong Kong-based Pearl Institute condemned the coup in the strongest terms, stressing that there is no place for violent coup d’ états in a democratic state.

“Turkey has long suffered from the anti-democratic reflex of the military. The achievement of free and fair elections where governments are accountable to the public and power changes hands through the ballot box has been Turkey’s most valuable achievement, which should be protected and cherished at all times,” the statement from the Pearl Institute reads.

It notes that Erdogan was quick to lay blame on the Hizmet movement, which it describes as predictable, as he attributes almost all opposition to his rule to the movement, on what it calls a pretext to purge civic society.

The Hizmet movement is inspired by Fethullah Gülen, who is now resident in the United States of America.

The Pearl Institute, which was founded by Hong Kong people in 2015 under the name of the Anatolia Dialogue Centre to promote the teaching and example of Gülen, says of him, “As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link with such an attempt.”

The institute says that the only positive way forward is to try those accused of plotting to overthrow the government in court and make this coup a source of motivation for strengthening the democracy of Turkey.

The short-lived coup fizzled out in as much confusion as it began some 24 hours later, after which an airborne Erdogan, who had failed to stitch up an asylum deal with either Germany or Britain, was eventually able to land in Istanbul.

It is reported that at least 265 soldiers died and some 6,000 have been arrested.

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