Nasa scientist researching mission to Mars still in prison a year on from failed Turkey coup


Mr Erdogan does not take kindly to criticism from the bloc, which he believes is taking him for a fool.

“The EU has been giving us the runaround since 1963. And they are still making us wait at the door,” the leader this week told German daily Die Welt in a rare interview with a foreign newspaper.

But Turkey’s credit-driven economy is very much linked to the Western financial system. Half of Ankara’s foreign trade is with the European Union.

Even if Mr Erdogan wanted to, it would not be easy to turn his back on Europe. And if the president gave up on the moribund ascension bid altogether he would risk a backlash.

Mr Erdogan seems to have spent much of the last year making enemies. In 12 months he has had spats with the EU, the US over its decision to arms the Kurds in Syria, Russia, Germany (which he said was being run by neo-Nazis), the Netherlands (which he called a “Nazi remnant”), and most recently with an alliance of Arab states trying to isolate terrorist-funder Qatar.

Perhaps the most egregious example of them all was allowing his personal bodyguards to beat up Kurdish demonstrators outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence during a visit to DC in May.

Instead of extending his apologies to his hosts, the president summoned the US ambassador to explain why the guards were later questioned over the incident.

“Beating up protesters in Washington, his position on the Qatar crisis, reluctance to work with Syrian Kurds in the fight against ISIS only pushed for his isolation in the world. Turkey is not an international pariah yet, but it sure is on its way to be,” analyst Mr Zeynalov says.

“Erdogan is already isolated,” counters Aaron Stein, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Centre who specialises in Turkey. “Seriously, what major world leader is willing to stick up for Turkey these days?”

Internally, opposition movements are growing.

In the first act of mass defiance against the purge, thousands have been taking part in a march organised by members of the opposition People’s Republican party (CHP) along the 280-mile route from Ankara to Istanbul.

The march is due to finish today with a massive rally in Istanbul’s Maltepe district.

“We lost our democracy, and we are on the streets to demand it back,” 22-year-old Mehmet Altan, one of the protesters, told the Telegraph.

Those who had cheered on the coup’s failure last summer, including Mr Altan, now find themselves filled with regret.

“We were so fearful of what could have been, but we should have been afraid of what we already had,“ lamented the student.

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