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    A Turkish special forces policeman stands guard in front the damaged building of the police headquarters which was attacked by the Turkish warplanes during the failed military coup last Friday, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, July 19, 2016

    Erdogan Continues to Crack Down on Coup Masterminds Amid EU, US Pressure

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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ongoing crackdown has amounted to his own private coup, which is even worse than the one which failed last week, according to Italian journalist Alessandro Bertoldi.

    In a written interview with Sputnik Italia, Italian journalist Alessandro Bertoldi slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for continuing to crack down on those involved in last week's failed coup; Bertoldi claimed that a full-fledged coup is now under way in Turkey and it is Erdogan who bears responsibility.

    The interview came after Turkish authorities said late last week that an attempted military coup had taken place in the country, which they blamed on a group led by Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who currently lives in self-imposed exile in the United States.

    "Purges are continuing in Turkey amid Western media speculations that Ankara is bolstering ties with Moscow so as to be covered by Russia. Moscow keeps silent as it watches the situation, and it is right by doing so. The Turkish diplomatic problem remains a knot that must be untied by the EU and NATO," he said.

    Now a big question is "how Ataturk's nation will live after last Friday night's failed coup, and whether Turkey will finally yield to radical Islamism," according to Bertoldi.

    People pose with policemen after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016.
    © REUTERS/ Murad Sezer
    People pose with policemen after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016.

    "We should be concerned about the real coup that we are witnessing right now. Using the [attempted] coup as a pretext, he dismantles the rule of law-based state, separation of powers, and he is also preparing constitutional reform. Moreover, he said that he would return the death penalty if the parliament approved the move," he said.

    In this vein, he quoted Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni as saying that "it is absolutely impossible to continue the dialogue with the country, which is going to introduce the death penalty, the abolition of which remains one of the principles of the EU."

    Bertoldi, for his part, pointed out that "although relations between Turkey and Western countries, as well as Italian-Turkish ties are deteriorating with every passing minute, Turkey remains a member of supranational organizations such as NATO."

    Meanwhile, the Turkish government has formally submitted paperwork calling for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen.

    The request followed a discussion between US President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erodgan, in which Obama offered his assistance to Erdogan in investigating the attempted coup, but urged the Turkish leader to soften his stance against opposition figures.

    The Erdogan government blames Gulen, a political and religious figure residing in Pennsylvania, for orchestrating last week's failed coup attempt.Fighting in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara has left nearly 300 people dead and more than 1,400 injured.

    In the wake of the attempted coup, Turkish authorities have conducted an unprecedented crackdown on individuals believed to be involved, including governors, prosecutors, intelligence officers, judges, and military personnel.


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    European Union, pretext, responsibility, rule of law, ties, authorities, coup, NATO, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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