Podcast

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

On the podcast: An American who was in Turkey during the coup attempt is accused of being one of the plotters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, on July 9. (Stringer/Getty Images)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, on July 9. (Stringer/Getty Images)

For years, Turkey received praise for its open markets, elected government, and relative freedom of the press. But two years ago, a faction of the military attempted to stage a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The attempt failed. Erdogan blamed the rebellion on followers of his former ally, the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. What followed was a purge of thousands of people from the government, the military, the media, and civil society. A constitutional referendum in 2017 further solidified Erdogan’s grip on power.

Henri Barkey, a Turkey scholar who worked in the State Department during Bill Clinton’s presidency, joins us this week on the podcast. He was in Turkey on the night of the coup attempt, and after he returned to the United States, Turkish authorities accused him of being one of the coup plotters. He says the ordeal that followed has taken a toll on his personal life and career.

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