Two years ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “If reassigning individuals who betray this country is called a ‘witch hunt,’ then yes, we will carry out this witch hunt,” referring to the dismissal of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges who were involved in a Dec. 17 operation.

Only a few days before the coup, he shut down all opposing media outlets in an effort to obscure the media coverage of the tortures, execution, rape and other unlawful acts in the confinements. The situation with the witch hunt, hate speech and isolation in Turkey is progressing toward systemic killings, which some believe have already started in jails.

Not only in Turkey but even in the U.S. and Europe, it is hard to predict what such Erdogan followers, some of whom are ISIS-minded, will attempt to do. I have talked to dozens of Turkish-Americans living in the U.S. and they have stated their fear of contacting even their parents or relatives. There are numerous cases where people were sentenced due to a single Twitter or Facebook share.

I do fear the damage an elected dictatorship would do not only in Turkey but also in Europe, U.S. and the Middle East.

Erdogan, who has been accommodating ISIS’ education and recruiting needs in Turkey, closed more than 2,000 educational institutions.

Calling the coup attempt on his regime a “gift from God,” Erdogan has already dismissed more than 60,000 people, including 10,000 police officers, 3,000 judges and prosecutors, more than 23,000 educationists, 1,500 employees in the Finance Ministry, 492 state religious personnel, 257 people in the prime minister’s office and all the university deans and academicians, etc. The numbers are growing daily.

Eyup Sener

Portland