Since coming to power, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been controversial, to say the least, due in large part to policies and practices which the West sees as openly authoritarian. He also used what an attempted coup against him to justify a further consolidation of his power.
This coup attempt came in reaction to a series of clampdowns. Perhaps the two most significant were the repression of the Gezi priests and 2013 repression of the movement of Fethullah Gülen. (A cleric and former political ally of Erdogan’s and founder of a substantial network of schools, he is accused by the regime of having organized the coup in July 2016. He lives in exile in the United States.) He also boosted his own authorities as president after winning the country’s first direct elections in 2014. He ended a peace process with the Kurds and enacted a state of emergency following the beginning of the waves of Islamist attacks in 2015. Since the state appeared to have been threatened by the coup attempt, the government launched unprecedented purges and routinized increasingly serious violations of the rule of law.