Jul 19 2018

Coup attempt in 2016 was Erdoğan’s Reichstag fire

The failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in Turkey and the infamous Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933 had many similarities, with both allowing the leaders of those countries to amass more power to oppress their opposition, journalist Can Dündar said in his commentary for German Radio Cosmo on Thursday.

“On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag building of the German Parliament was destroyed by a fire, which is recognised as one of the defining moments in the Nazi takeover of Germany. The next day, German Chancellor Adolf Hitler issued a decree nullifying the civic liberties of German citizens and declared a state of emergency. He started ruling the country by decree and amassing more powers, while at the same time pursuing a witch hunt against his opponents. He held elections in March, which were the last free elections in Nazi Germany, and got 44 percent of the vote, which was sufficient to turn Germany into a one-party state given the weakness of the opposition.”

“Isn’t this short history very familiar?” Dündar said on the anniversary of emergency rule being declared right after the coup attempt had been defeated by the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“I can now comfortably say. July 15 was Turkey’s Reichstag fire. Erdoğan used this failed coup attempt and staged a successful coup,” Dündar added.

Similar to Hitler, Erdoğan declared a state of emergency following the coup attempt, started a witch hunt against opponents, Dündar said. He added that 450,000 people had been affected by emergency rule, and that aside from members of opposition parties being jailed, more than 100 municipalities had been handed to government appointed mayors, there had been more than 50 suicides, 130,000 public employees dismissed, and almost 40 percent of the top ranks in the Turkish army were discharged. 

“Under these circumstances, in other words having tied the opposition’s hands and feet, the AKP held two elections within two years. Erdoğan won both and strengthened his power.  And he changed the regime. Therefore, he does not need the emergency rule anymore. Because he now has extraordinary powers which are legitimate according to the constitution,” Dündar explained. 

“Now the question is; will Turkey agree to wear this prisoner’s uniform, this straitjacket? Can a regime of oppression sustain itself when half of the population opposes it? The answer can again be found in German history. Let’s just hope our experience will end before it causes the level of destruction which happened in Germany,” Dündar concluded.