‘Traitor cemetery,’ ‘birthplace toilet’ & other unconventional retaliation after failed Turkey coup
UPDATE: Following the appearance of the controversial sign at the burial place, there has been a meeting of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), which decided it "would be appropriate to remove the sign," Hurriyet Daily reported, citing Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas. The official had been told that "it's highly probable that the families of the dead would be offended by the name of the cemetery," so he reportedly ordered it to be removed on Friday. Citing workers at the site, Hurriyet also reported that so far just one body has been buried there.
While Erdogan has been unable to get his hands on Pennsylvania-based Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric whom the authorities accuse of orchestrating the July 15 rebellion and want extradited from the US, some overzealous supporters of the Turkish leader have decided to take retribution closer to home.
Gulen’s birthplace to become public toilet
The birthplace of Gulen in the village of Korucuk is going to be turned into a public toilet, according to a report from local outlet Beyaz Gazete.
The lavatory is to be built from materials coming from the house Gulen was born in. The outlet claimed the villagers themselves asked authorities for the unusual construction project in the central province of Erzurum.
Local journalist Latif Simsek, who reported on the case after hearing about it from another man, said “I thought he was kidding [but] then I called Erzurum Metropolitan Mayor, Mehmet Sekman.”
Gulen, who is being presented as Erdogan’s arch-nemesis, despite being his former ally, has been living in exile for years and denies having any links to the coup plotters. Washington says “enough evidence” will have to be presented if Gulen is to be handed over, further infuriating Ankara.
Gulen’s books burned
Not only has Fethullah Gulen’s private property ended up in crosshairs of public anger, but also his intellectual property, as books by the writer, preacher and thinker were burned by locals in the aftermath of the coup, according to The Independent, citing local reports. Police uncovered the ashes of about a hundred of the alleged coup mastermind’s books in a landfill on Turkish Cyprus, local media reported.
However, the outlet speculated that locals may have committed the literary arson out of fear of being swept up in the “witch hunt” for coup plotters.
Traitor cemetery & no praying for coup plotters
Turkish authorities have even established a “traitor’s graveyard” in the aftermath of the coup attempt, as cemeteries across the country have been refusing to accept the bodies of coup plotters. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas said that he has ordered that space be allotted to accommodate the dead “traitors,” where “the passersby will curse the ones buried there.” The mayor of Istanbul has also said that even the cemetery for the nameless was not a suitable place for them, as they should not be buried with religious people.
They do not deserve “acquittal and prayers of their fellow believers,” the religious body was quoted as saying by Bianet media outlet.
According to Turkish officials, 270 people were killed in the uprising against President Erdogan, including 24 plotters.
In the latest crackdown, Turkey closed over 130 media outlets on Wednesday, including TV stations and newspapers. Turkish Interior Minister Efkana Ala recently announced that more than 15,000 people have been detained since the failed coup. A total of 8,113 have been formally arrested and are awaiting trial, while the judicial system itself has also experienced reshuffles and arrests. Over 45,000 members of the army, judiciary, police, and media, as well as civil servants, have been sacked.