Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues his massive, authoritarian purge of his country's public institutions, news media and civil society groups with a fresh wave of public-sector firings, bringing the total number of jettisoned public servants to 100,000.
Erdogan also shut down more civil society groups and independent news agencies (129 in total).
The EU is contemplating full membership for Turkey; prior to the Syrian refugee crisis, the principal bargaining chip in these negotiations was respect for fundamental human rights in exchange for EU membership. These days, the EU seems to be willing to admit Turkey in its most dictatorial state in a generation in exchange for the country serving as a buffer and holding-pen for refugees fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq — a compromise also fueled by the Russian power-plays in the region, which gives Turkey a second bidder for its allegiance.
Erdogan is deliberately baiting the EU now — his party recently introduced legislation to legalize the rape of children, provided that their rapists "married" them. The bill has been relegated to a committee after public outcry.
The new wave of dismissals came on a morning when the European Parliament was scheduled to debate freezing accession talks for Turkey to join the European Union. It was one of several recent indicators that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was abandoning hope of success in that process, which has dragged on for 11 years.
Mr. Erdogan has been defiant, saying it was time that the European Union made up its mind on Turkey's membership, and threatening to hold a nationwide referendum on whether to continue the talks.
A recent European Commission report expressed concern that Turkey's worsening record on human rights and press freedom was making accession increasingly difficult. The Turkish president has advocated bringing back the death penalty, which is banned in European Union countries as a condition of membership, and he has ordered a thorough crackdown on the country's news media, with 129 outlets now closed.
15,000 More Public Workers Are Fired in Turkey Crackdown
[Rod Nordland and Safak Timur/New York Times]
(via Super Punch)
(Image: Taksim Gezi Park protests 2013, Fleshstorm, CC-BY-SA)