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Turkey’s Leader Used a Failed Coup to Step on the Opposition

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As the Turkey marks the first anniversary of a military coup aimed at exiling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader’s position seems ironclad. Strategists say rather than weaken his administration, the ineffective takeover of July 15-16, 2016 presented the head of state with a unique opportunity to consolidate power, consenting him to counteract political opposition.

And that’s done little to reconcile the nation’s disruptive political environment. Several hundred thousand Turks over the weekend, took to the streets to support the contentious president who promised to punish those accountable for the attempt to coup his government. The other demonstrators protested Ankara’s silencing of its critics last week.

Vice president of global analysis at intelligence firm Stratfor, Reca Goujon told CNBC on Monday, “The coup came at a pretty ideal time for the Turkish president. Of course, nobody likes the idea of people plotting against you, but Erdogan definitely did make the most of it in using it as a broader pretext to crack down on a number of political dissenters.”

More than 150, 000 Turks have been fired or suspended from civil and private sector jobs while over 50, 000 have been imprisoned for suspected links to Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara deemed responsible for thwarted takeover. That included Friday’s dismissal of 7, 000 police, civil servants, and academics. Gulen, however, has denied any involvement. All this information is according to Reuters.

Gulen’s persuasive supporters in his clampdown known as Gulenists and the other potential political opponents, the 63-year-old president also targeted ethnic Kurds in a move designed to win the support of nationalists. The emergency rule was also levied shortly following the coup and may now be prolonged, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim recommended on Friday.

CNBC was told in Singapore by the embassy that “Once an ally of Erdogan, Gulen is now rewarded by Ankara as a terrorist. Turkey is a nation based on the rule of law.”

The recent Stratfor report said about Erdogan that “Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Erdogan has managed to extend his political shelf life at a time when Turkey’s foreign policy is getting only more complex.”

Richard Martin, managing director of IMA Asia said: “Erdogan is now in a strong position and there to stay.”

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