Stability for Turkey

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Stability for Turkey

It is unfortunate that a short-lived coup in Turkey on Friday killed more than 260 people and injured over 1,400. Whatever the reason, an attempt to oust a democratically elected government by force is not desirable. The televised scenes of the Turkish people jumping on tanks to oppose the coup explicitly show that the coup failed to get public support. We hope that Turkish military authorities realize that an act defying the will of its people cannot succeed even though the country’s modernization began with a military coup in the early 20th century.

A bridge between East and West, Turkey has long played a crucial role in today’s volatile world. Above all, the country has been serving as an outpost in the fight against Islamic terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, in cooperation with the West. At the same time, Turkey relieves Europe of its massive burden by accommodating hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and other parts of the conflict-ridden Middle East. If such a nation falls into chaos, it will most likely worsen global instability. Once the coup is successfully suppressed, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must return his country to normal as soon as possible.

What concerns us most are the apparent repercussions of the botched coup. The Erdogan government is determined to purge more than 3,000 followers and sympathizers of the coup after arresting them, as seen in his grim vow to “let them pay the price.” Even capital punishment, which was abolished long ago, appears to be revived. Given the crowds’ wrath against the armed soldiers involved in the coup, retribution could get out of control. Blood begets blood. Though the coup ignored the constitutional order, the government must not take revenge on the rebels beyond the rule of law.

The international community has pointed out that the insurgents staged the coup in protest of the president’s prolonged seizure of power, suppression of the press and biased appointments in government posts. Erdogan should not exploit this as an opportunity to remove his political enemies.

Another concern is the safety of Korean residents and tourists there. Security experts say that various types of terrorist attacks and commotion take place 4.7 times a day in Turkey. Nevertheless, Korean tourists increasingly visit Turkey. Over 220,000 Koreans toured the country last year alone, and more than 110 Korean tourists were trapped in an airport in Istanbul this time. In addition, 64 Korean companies are doing business and over 4,000 Koreans are living in Turkey. Our government must pay close attention to their safety wherever they are.

JoongAng Ilbo, July 18, Page 30

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