YEREVAN. – A number of important events took place in Turkey last year, from which it’s worthy to mention the referendum on constitutional changes in April and persecutions against the Gulen supporters, political analyst Vahram Ter-Matevosyan told Armenian News-NEWS.am.
He believes the opposition in Turkey remains paralyzed.
“Though Erdogan succeeded in reaching his goal, and a part of society voted for the proposed constitutional amendments, still it was clear that it could hardly be called a victory. The slight difference between the for and against votes, the open dissatisfaction of a large part of society and the fraud that Erdogan and his team made in the election campaign showed that the split and polarization of the Turkish society continues”, the expert said.
He noted that during the months following the referendum, Erdogan’s step by step authoritarian manifestations became more obvious.
“As a result, the mechanisms of mutual counterweight between different branches of authority in Turkey became more formal, almost completely accommodated to Erdogan's will. Opposition continues to be paralyzed. The two co-chairs, nine deputies and 80 mayors of the Pro-Kurdish Democratic Party, continue to be in prison, and the propositions of the largest oppositional Republican People's Party do not go beyond speeches and marches. The new opposition force formed in the past year, the Good party, although started its path quite promising, but still, didn’t come out with any memorable steps”, Ter-Matevosyan said.
He noted that the next issue of domestic political processes in Turkey was extension of the emergency regime and its endless series of trials, imprisonments, detentions, arrests and dismissals.
“Since July 2016, a total of 148,000 government officials, teachers, professors, civil servants and scientists have been dismissed based on a series of government decisions concerning the ongoing struggle against the Gulen supporters, the Kurdish Workers' Party, and the Islamic State. About 3,000 schools, dormitories and universities have been closed, and about 6,000 scholars and researchers have been dismissed. 187 media agencies were closed in 18 months and 308 journalists were arrested. It's no coincidence that as in previous years, Turkey continues to be the largest prisoner of journalists.”
“This resulted in an atmosphere of fear and mutual suspicion. Journalists, analysts and researchers living in Turkey, who somehow expressed their position on important domestic political issues a few years ago, avoided voicing criticism against the government over the past 2-3 years”.