Turkey looks to Eurasia amid post-coup discipline

Mon, 17.07.2017 10:10

One year after a failed coup attempt to topple the government, Turkey has restored social stability and economic vibrancy and is looking beyond its region to the larger Eurasian market, the country’s top envoy to Korea stressed in a media briefing.

“A measure of order has returned to Turkey,” said Ambassador Arslan Hakan Okcal at the embassy in Seoul on Thursday. “Our economy has bounced back and is growing at 5 percent. People are going about their lives and businesses run as usual. Tourists have come back. The Turkish Airlines are fully booked from Korea.”

On July 15 -- exactly a year after the foiled putsch by anti-government forces -- a massive number of people gathered to hold a rally in Istanbul, commemorating the defeat of a coup d’etat aimed at overthrowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

The coup plotters staged a nationwide mutiny through force, bombing the office of the president, the Turkish Grand National Assembly and other state and public buildings with F-16 fighter jets, combat helicopters, armored vehicles and tanks. The event lasted several hours into the night, and was foiled by Turkish citizens who took to the streets to fight the mutineers. Some 250 people died, including civilians, soldiers and police officers.

The Turkish government has accused followers of what it labels the “Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization” as the culprits, saying they have infiltrated various state organs over the last 40 years. The organization’s supposed leader, Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric in self-imposed exile in the United States, has reportedly given subversive instructions to members for years, but their intention was not clear until the coup, Okcal said. 

Since the failed attempt, Turkish authorities have embarked on a sweeping nationwide purge, rounding up 50,000 people and sacking twice as many civil servants for suspected ties to the revolt. 

The tumultuous event may have changed the country’s political dynamics to enable Erdogan to push through his constitutional reform for a presidential system, the ambassador said in reference to the constitutional referendum on April 16. 

“There has been a debate for the last five decades whether a presidential or parliamentary system would serve Turkey better,” he said, adding the current multiparty parliamentary system started in 1950, when the country aspired to play an active role in global institutions like the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."

Source: Koreanharold

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