Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Nurettin Demir said on Monday that the policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) during a state of emergency that was declared following a failed coup in July 2016 have destroyed people’s trust and forced them to denounce each other to authorities.
Speaking during a visit to Sydney to campaign for an April 16 referendum in Turkey, Demir said there are tragedies in Turkish prisons as thousands of innocent people were jailed following the coup attempt.
“I find it difficult to visit Turkish prisons since I am unable to provide any solutions [for those innocent people], and I sympathize with them,” Demir said.
Underlining that the AKP is punishing the wives and children of people who have been jailed without any evidence of crime, Demir asked for the support of expatriates living in Australia in the upcoming referendum in order to end the arbitrary policies of the AKP government.
According to Demir, the AKP government is responsible for distrust among Turks, who started to denounce government critics to authorities following the failed coup. Demir said the distrust is the result of government oppression as thousands were arrested by government decrees under the state of emergency.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 which killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, AKP government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.