The Turkish Purge

When the Cold War ended, many of us hoped we would never again hear the word ‘purge’ used in a political context. For, of course, a purge is not an abstraction: it is human lives brutally torn apart because those with power fear the loss of it. As the reports emerging from Turkey seem to show, it is not merely a case of removing from office military personnel alleged to have been plotting a coup, nor of others being sacked from their jobs, it is also violence being used to extract convenient confessions and, ultimately, if President Erdogan’s words are an indication, death.  In the nineteenth century Turkey was commonly referred to as ‘the Sick Man of Europe’. Today we might question Turkey’s claim to be European in anything but the geographical sense, but sick? Surely the answer must be ‘yes’; and we have a duty to pray for the sick and suffering. Today let us pray especially for the Turkish people.

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