Separate dangers await Erdoğan critics fleeing to Europe - journalist

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’ government silences opposition journalists by jailing them at home, there is a separate set of dangers for critics of Turkey who flee to Europe, says journalist Abdullah Bozkurt in an interview with online news site Mint Press News.

Bozkurt, the Ankara bureau chief of now defunct Today’s Zaman, an English daily affiliated with the Gülen movement which was seized on March 4, 2016, left Turkey following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt which Ankara blames on the Gülen movement. Bozkurt is wanted in Turkey on charges of terrorism.

During Erdoğan's state-of-emergency decree, which lasted for just over two years and finally ended in August, pver 170,000 alleged members of the Gülen movement lost their jobs, and at least 80,000 Turkish citizens spent time in police custody, the article highlighted.

For Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) early target Bozkurt,  “the failed coup bid was a false flag operation by Erdoğan in coordination with his intel and defense chiefs.”

‘’The timing, like doing it in prime time, blocking traffic one-way on the bridge, and attacking the Parliament had no operational purposes other than inflaming the public fury against the military. Erdoğan gave four conflicting accounts on when he learned first about the attempt. The government immediately got a gag order on the media coverage of coup probes when some damaging testimonies from suspects made it to the press. It also prevented key witnesses from appearing and testifying before the parliamentary commission set up to investigate events,” the journalist said of the 2016 coup attempt and its aftermath.

Once you have been accused of being an enemy of the AKP, he pointed out, the AKP government will attempt to bring you back to Turkey and take steps such as sending intelligence agents to allied countries where Turks commonly seek asylum, such as Germany, to infiltrate local immigration systems.

Bozkurt receives routine threats from ‘’Erdoğan’s thugs’’ regularly in Sweden, where he has founded an NGO, the Stockholm Center for Freedom, where journalist track rights violations in Turkey.

The future of Turkey is deeply intertwined with the future of Erdoğan, according to the journalist who maintains that nobody can be sure of what tomorrow will bring in Turkey.