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March 13, 2018  11:34

Erdogan is transforming Turkey into a totalitarian prison

In Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the tweet has been turned into a crime, and a troubled democracy is being turned into a dictatorship. Gradually but inexorably, a nation that once aspired to be an exemplar of enlightened moderation is being transformed by Mr. Erdogan into a dreary totalitarian prison, The Washington Post reports.

STEPANAKERT, MARCH 13, ARTSAKHPRESS: In the latest setback, last week, 23 journalists were sentenced to prison for between two and seven years on patently ridiculous charges that they were members of a terrorist organization and had tweeted about it. Two others were convicted on lesser charges of supporting a terrorist organization.

Mr. Erdogan, the target of a failed coup attempt in July 2016, has embarked on a campaign of repression against perceived enemies in the press, government, academia and law enforcement, among other pillars of Turkish society. More than 60,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 forced from their jobs. Mr. Erdogan’s prime targets are the perceived followers of the opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania. Mr. Erdogan claims Mr. Gulen — once his ally in Turkish politics — had incited the coup attempt, hence the charge of a “terrorist organization.” Mr. Gulen denies it.

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