SPOTLIGHT: ERDOGAN'S PURGE SPARKS RALLIES ABROAD
The unprecedented zeal of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's purge, after an attempted military coup on July 15, has attracted condemnation from international partners and damaged ties with allies in Europe and further afield. Erdogan has accused exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen of masterminding the coup, and his global efforts to crack down on Gülen's religious movement Hizmet have shifted Turkey's political battleground to the streets of foreign cities.
Thousands demonstrated in support of Erdogan in the German city of Cologne yesterday, after German authorities refused to extradite local Gülenists to Turkey or shut down their institutions. Other European countries with significant Turkish diasporas, such as Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands, have seen large pro-Erdogan rallies while Gülen supporters have received death threats.
While some Turkish allies like Somalia and Azerbaijan closed Gülen-linked schools, hospitals, and universities, others like Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia have declined to follow suit. Perhaps the country that gives Erdogan the biggest headache is the United States, where authorities appear reluctant to extradite Gülen, now living in Pennsylvania. The Turkish president engaged in a war of words with a top U.S. general, telling him to "know his place" and accusing him of supporting the coup plotters.
It's clear that what is happening in Turkey is no longer restricted to the country's borders.
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