Growing Fear in Turkey as Detainees Disappear in State of Emergency

Critics of Erdogan at Growing Risk Amid Purge

It’s not a good time to be a critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey. After years of consolidating power, and silencing public dissent, the failed coup earlier this month has allowed his government to set up a state of emergency which allows detention on any pretext, and which has many people simply disappearing into an overloaded and under-motivated court system.

People who have missing relatives, particularly relatives who were in the military, are struggling to figure out if they are in detention, and where they are being held, while questions about their ultimate fate remain totally unanswered amid calls for a return to the death penalty.

Publicly, there are shows of celebration in Turkey, and while that surely includes supporters of Erdogan glad that the military coup failed, it also includes opposition party figures trying to find space in the increasingly narrow definition of “loyal opposition” in the face of growing purges.

For many, the show of support will likely be too late, as indications are that the Turkish intelligence agencies have been drawing up “enemies lists” for years full of people not sufficiently pro-Erdogan, and it is from those lists, and not so much actual evidence of involvement in the coup, that much of the purging is originating.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of