Erdoğan to West: We know the rule of law as well as you do

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Prosecutors and judges stood up and applauded President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he entered the hall and when he finished his address during a ceremony on Sept. 1 opening the new judicial year, which was held for the first time at the presidential palace and protested by the main opposition leader and the head of the bar association because of the venue of the event.

In response to criticism of systematic human rights violations in Turkey as part of an ongoing post-coup-attempt purge, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at Western countries, arguing that Turkey knows as much about the rule of law as they do.

Speaking in İstanbul at a law congress on Monday, Erdoğan was visibly angry at criticism against his regime for unlawful actions ranging from arbitrary detentions to seizure of the private property of people who are considered to be linked to the Gülen movement. According to Erdoğan, some Westerners who are “seemingly friends” are asking whether the actions of the Turkish government are compatible with the rule of law.

“We know as much as you do about the rule of law, and we act in line with it,” Erdoğan said in challenging the Western criticism. Taking it even further, Erdoğan urged those who “lecture Turkey about the rule of law” to take a look at the era in which East and West Germany were united and how many people were dismissed from their positions at that time.

As far as the state of emergency currently in effect in Turkey is concerned, Erdoğan pointed to the example of France, saying that France extended state of emergency due to a “simple terrorist act” while Turkey is facing an existential threat.

Following a failed coup attempt on July 15, the Erdoğan regime immediately initiated the largest purge in the history of the nation. Over 100,000 people have been sacked and more than 32,000 arrested. A total of 180 media outlets have been shut down, while 127 journalists are behind bars.

There are reports of systematic torture particularly against people who have been detained as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement.

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