Zero Hedge has suggested that the speed with which President Erdoğan has mounted his counter-coup "witch-hunt" may be seen as a "clear indication" that the right-leaning leader was "prepared" for both the coup and its "inevitable outcome."
The arrest of Dr. Mehmet Ateş may be the first in what is to become a list of academics and journalists prosecuted, not for causing harm, but for voicing points of view critical of Erdoğan. Zero Hedge writes that the next "critical" step for the Turkish president -- if he indeed plans to consolidate his power -- is to silence the "press and the educational system."
The irony of President Erdoğan's call for Turkish citizens to protest in the streets Friday, as the coup was underway, has not been lost on observers.
"Erdoğan has been no friend to free expression, ruthlessly asserting control over the media and restricting human rights and free speech," the New York Times wrote with regard to the president's seemingly increasingly draconian stance toward freedom of expression, political critics, and the right of the Turkish people to gather and demonstrate. It has been noted that, prior to Friday's coup-attempt, Erdoğan's forces had doused protestors with "fire water;" said to be made by mixing pepper spray into water cannons fired at demonstrators.
Demonstrators who took to Turkish streets on Friday were greeted with a seemingly different fate that those who chose to voice opinions critical of Erdoğan before the coup. All eyes in the international community will be on President Erdoğan and his counter-coup "witch-hunt;" observers will be taking note of the number of non-violent Erdoğan critics, such as Dr. Mehmet Ateş, who are taken into custody in the coming days.
"What happens next: an acceleration of the counter-putsch of course, with many more arrested, whose only crime is being guilty of criticizing the government."