President Obama's job, or the losing candidate's, is to ensure a peaceful transition. Obama called for grace, humility, civility in his transition speech, and Hillary Clinton demonstrated in her concession speech. Our role is to organize, to hope for the best but more importantly, prepare for the worst. It was our faith that our fellow citizens believed in higher ideals than they do that cost us this election.
Freedom of speech and assembly is not what makes America great. What makes America great is our sense of civic duty to use those freedoms to enact change when we fall off course.
Social protest to enact this change is not "losing it," it is not "lowering ourselves," and our emotions in confronting it should not be conflated with the displays of intolerance and indecency during the Trump presidential campaign. Period.
My being disheartened, sickened even, by the support shown for Trump in America is not disgraceful nor can it be compared with his supporters' behavior that is is either passively supporting or actively condoning violations of the Bill of Rights. My wanting to voice that out loud is not uncivil, nor can it be compared with Trump's careless and cruel discourse and conduct, campaign-related or otherwise.
It's my constitutional duty. This behavior wasn't okay in politics before Obama took office, it's not okay after Obama's tenure ends, and it's not okay even if 25% of the country voted for it, or overlooked it, and voted for Trump anyway. It's unconstitutional.
So, fellow Americans: Call for black people not to get killed. Call for women not to get assaulted. Call for Muslims and Jews not to be the target of hate crime. Call for the right to choose, the right to a decent life, the right not to be preyed upon by unregulated finance gone wrong. Call for something. Act, raise your voice, speak without fear. I think we're all there by now.
But if we ask people, or encourage them, to question their reaction to Trump's election, we're asking them to second guess themselves. To me, that reminds me of what much of society does to sexual assault survivors. Why do I know this? Because I am one (and because of research). Why do we do this? Because sexual assault is extremely unpleasant, and because we'd rather it didn't happen. But it did.
A Trump Presidency was rated in the top ten global security risks of 2016 by established centrist organizations (e.g. The Economist). Trump has demonstrated no reverence for either the institution of the Presidency nor for our government in service of the people. He has verbally assured us that he doesn't respect people with disabilities, women, and those who immigrate. He condoned violation of our bodies. Why would we ask someone to face this with grace and humility?
We ask leadership to. We watched Hillary Clinton do that, and the nation continues to crucify her.
President Obama's job is to say everything is okay. Our job is to make the change so that it actually maybe is. But make no mistake -- it is no one's job to say, "Don't you think maybe everything's okay?". When anyone, anywhere, might walk down the street tomorrow and get attacked for who they are, it's not okay.
And we aren't allowed to normalize it.
Potential implications of the attempted coup d’etat and counter-coup in Turkey for domestic politics and regional security
Republished from the START Discussion Points Forum with permission: The following is part of a series of thought pieces authored by members of the START Consortium. These editorial columns reflect the opinions of the author(s), and not necessarily the opinions of the START Consortium. This series is penned by scholars who have grappled with complicated and often politicized topics, and our hope is that they will foster thoughtful reflection and discussion by professionals and students alike.
Late Friday evening on July 15, 2016, Turkish soldiers shut down down bridges crossing the Bosphorus in Istanbul and flew jets low in the skies over Ankara, Istanbul, and other cities. Sonic booms were indistinguishable from explosions throughout the night. The Parliament building, the Türksat telecommunications building, and the headquarters of the police special operations, or the Jandarma, were bombed. Attacks were attempted at the headquarters of the General Staff, the headquarters of Turkish intelligence (MİT), the Presidential Palace, and the hotel where President Erdoğan was staying on the coast in Marmaris, among others – including attacks on the street between soldiers, police, and civilians. Nearly 300 soldiers and civilians lost their lives: 179 civilians, 62 police officers, 5 soldiers and 24 pro-coup soldiers. The count of wounded is estimated to be between two and three thousand.
Beginning that day and continuing for weeks after, the government made calls to action made to citizens to remain vigilant against coup plotters. These calls emanated from mosques and were delivered through nation-wide SMS messages. Initiated by the state and by citizens, this movement to counter the coup has come to be known as demokrasi nöbeti, or the “democracy guard.”
Five days after the coup attempt started, on July 20, 2016, under Articles 119 and 120 of the Turkish Constitution, the government issued a decree for olağanüstü hal, or OHAL, putting a state of emergency rule into effect for three months. It also suspended the European Convention on Human Rights. OHAL grants extensive executive powers to the President and Cabinet that reverse the ordinary parliamentary legislative process. Under OHAL, the President proposes legislation for possible approval by the Parliament in the same day. OHAL was to be used in the state’s effort to prevent another coup attempt. Emergency rule curtails citizens’ rights to speech, expression, assembly, mobility, privacy, civic activity, and employment.
In early October 2016, the government extended the state of emergency for another three months.
Some have noted that, viewed from afar, the Turkish government’s epic response to the putsch constitutes a violent overthrow of the military and political order itself. A mass-scale counter-coup response and reorganization of the military and public sector followed the failed coup attempt. 104,914 have been dismissed from their positions in the public or private sector, 50,979 have been detained, and 27,329 have been arrested, including 120 journalists. Convicted prisoners have been released to make room for them in penitentiaries.
From the military, 149 generals, or nearly 46%, were discharged, including two four-star generals, nine lieutenant generals, 30 major generals and vice admirals, and 126 brigadier generals and rear admirals. 4,618 military officers were discharged. 8,777 were dismissed from the Ministry of the Interior, and 7,669 were dismissed from the Security General Directorate. These dismissals most severely affected the Turkish Air Force’s combat and tanker pilots, the Special Forces Command, the Land Force’s aviation units and the navy’s headquarters personnel.
Outside of the military, much of the reorganization has occurred in the education sector, but also in health and civil society. 39,448 public servants from the Ministry of Education were dismissed. 5,070 academics were fired. 1,577 deans were asked to step down. 1,284 schools, 1,125 associations, 800 dormitories, 129 foundations, 35 hospitals, 15 universities, and 19 trade unions were shut down.
180 media outlets, including media agencies, television channels, newspapers, and magazines have been shuttered, and online platforms, providers of services and social media accounts were blocked and continue to be growing numbers. In the media-related public sector positions, 312 were fired from the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, 196 from the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, 167 from the Ministry of Information, Industry and Technology, 36 from the Turkish Satellite Company (Türksat), and 29 from the Radio and Television Supreme Council.
While the prevention of another coup attempt is the state’s primary objective, the scale of this reorganization is concerning, not just for those who have been arrested, detained, or dismissed, whose families have lost their livelihoods, assets and freedoms of expression, association, and movement. The implications of this response for security in the region are significant. The post-putsch civilianization of the military disrupted a transformation taking place within the military with currently unknown consequences. However, despite numbers being down in the Turkish military, morale is reported to be up, with both new recruits and former veterans returning to participate in Operation Euprates Shield. However, Turkish aerial refueling at İncirlik Base near the border with Syria will continue to be affected until Turkey can train new pilots.
The sheer numbers of the purge have removed a significant number of the positions in Turkish institutions that cooperate with international partners on global security issues; issues as vital as fighting ISIS, managing the refugee crisis from the Syrian civil war, and maintaining regional security under the NATO treaty alliance.
In addition to this restructuring, the continuation of OHAL leaves the constitutional structure and rule-of-law in Turkey in a state of uncertainty and subject to the will of the executive. In this sense, the counter-coup actions are at least in part a continuation of a longer trend that has used the power of the state itself to dominate political opposition, public service, and the public sphere, weakening democracy. This trend escalated after the 2013 leaking of evidence of corruption implicating Erdoğan and other high-ranking members within the AKP. However, a growing body of circumstantial evidence has created an overall consensus that Fethullah Gülen and his followers, now known as the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization, or FETÖ, ordered the attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.
This consensus, combined with the current political climate, has created an atmosphere of political tension in which no one is allowed to question government actions without enduring accusations. To question is the act of an uninformed outsider, the act of a traitor, or an act of an apologist for the FETÖ terrorist group. The presumption of innocence does not adequately protect citizens or their associates from accusations in the modern trial by media environment in post-putsch, emergency-rule Turkey. In fear of another attempt to overthrow the state, any opposition to the government is now equivalent to questioning the democratic constitutional order of Turkey itself.
For decades, Turkey has been, and remains to be, one of the most important allies for the United States in the region. An earthquake shook Turkey on the night of July 15, 2016. The fissure remains, the aftershocks are not over, and the implications are imperative to understand for regional security in the Middle East, and in particular to understand those with who we partner to stop terrorism.
 A detailed description of events as they unfolded on the night of the coup is available here.
 A nationwide text message from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 21 July 2016, read: “My saintly nation; do not abandon the heroic resistance you have put up for your country, homeland, and flag. To teach the traitor, the terrorist (FETÖ) a lesson, continue your resistance and duty to guard democracy. The owners of our squares are not tanks, but the people.” Repeated calls to action like this one mobilized the democracy guard.
 Public opinion polls, for example this survey of Turkish demokrasi nöbeti participants, shows that mobilization against the coup did not just come from the AKP’s supporters, and that the call to guard democracy has increased popular support for the AKP government, slightly.
 A former diplomat stated this at a panel at the Middle East Institute’s 7th Annual Turkey Conference, Washington, DC, September 30, 2016.
 Unless otherwise noted, these numbers are from the Official Gazette of the State of Emergency Decrees 677 (issued July 23) and 672 (issued September 1), and a site tracking academics, and a website that aggregates these numbers.
 Outside of the military, security, education, and media dismissals noted, 302 were fired from the Prime Ministry, and 41 from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, 83 from the Council of State, and 246 local authorities. 3,465 judges and prosecutors were dismissed. 2,018 were dismissed from the Ministry of Health, and 1,519 from the Directorate of Religious Affairs. 829 were dismissed from the Ministry of Finance, 813 from the Department of Revenue Administration, 733 from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, 668 from the Ministry of Energy, 605 from the Social Security Institution, 453 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 439 from the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, 337 from the Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs, 320 from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, 175 from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 149 from the Ministry of Customs and Trade, 120 from the Directorate of Land and Cadastre, 116 from the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, 90 from the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, 84 from the Turkish Court of Accounts, 79 from the Ministry of Development, 74 from the Ministry of Transportation, 67 from the Undersecretariat of the Treasury, 62 from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, 39 from the Ministry of the Economy, 30 from the Capital Markets Board, 14 from the Development Bank, 12 from the Housing Development Administration, 8 from the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority, and finally, 7 were dismissed from the Turkish National Lottery Administration.
 Most recently Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive were blocked.
 Though the public has continually opposed strengthening the executive branch in Turkey, a constitutional referendum to strengthen presidential powers, something Erdoğan and the AKP have been trying to pass since 2009, might succeed if negotiated as the amendment would not have to be put to referendum under OHAL.
 Who is Gülen, and what is his relationship with the current party in power, the AKP? Fethullah Gülen is an imam, who has lived self-exiled in the United States for decades, and his religious organization, the Hizmet (Service) movement, has millions of followers in Turkey known locally as cemaat (community). His organization spreads throughout the world, from the United States, to Africa and Central Asia. Due to the international orientation and emphasis on education within the Gülenist movement, many of those within it had relationships that formed a portion of Turkey’s international relationships. The ruling AK party and Gulen’s organization branch from separate lineages of Hanefi Sunni Islam, and have millions of religious supporters within the general population – who at one time, before 2013, often supported both the organization and the party. The AKP and cemaat have overlapped and cooperated. The AKP called Gülen’s structure a parallel state: each had associated supporters or members at all levels and branches of state institutions, in media outlets, in civil society organizations, and in law enforcement.
Erin C. McGrath, Karsten Donnay, and Kelsey P. Norman
Governments must support citizen-led efforts to provide a welcoming face to refugees or risk letting xenophobia and racism escalate into more violence.
In 2015, the world has witnessed a crisis of displaced persons larger than anytime since World War II. The refugee crisis that has now left over 60 million people displaced by conflict worldwide has drawn considerable international attention. At the same time, the attacks of Daesh and its ideological followers are threatening our relationships with Muslim refugees and strengthening the political far-right in Europe and the U.S. Some countries have already tightened borders, built walls, heightened screening, and toughened criteria for the reunification of refugee families.
A Global Crisis
While the Syrian crisis is unique by proportions, there are 65 other major displacement crises occurring worldwide. The numbers from Syria are staggering. As of late December 2015, 4,390,439 refugees from Syria had registered with UNHCR.
The surge in refugees arriving in Europe in the second half of 2015 propelled the refugee issue to the forefront of the global debate. Yet Western countries have not been hosting the vast majority of Syrian refugees since the outbreak of the civil war four years ago. Turkey and much poorer countries in the Middle East and North Africa host approximately four times the number of refugees than the West. From Syria alone, there are 2.1 million in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, and 1.9 million in Turkey. Turkey became the country with the most registered refugees in the world in 2015.
The forcibly displaced – those who do not formally qualify as refugees – in these countries do not have rights under the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. They end up trapped with no right to work and no right to move. “Warehousing,” according to experts like Christine Mahoney, leaves the forcibly displaced without a future, vulnerable to drug addiction, sexual exploitation, recruitment by militia, and dependent on aid. Regardless of the dangers on the road ahead, warehousing drives refugees to continue moving, with the promise of a better, safer life somewhere else.
While they no longer face life-threatening conflict, the status of refugees in Turkey does not allow them a real future or give the possibility of integration into society. Many then risk their lives on the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean. Refugees are also subject to violence or human rights abuses along their journey, both in the Middle East and North Africa, but also in Eastern and Southern Europe.
Shifting Public Opinion in Europe
Public opinion on the refugee problem has already begun to shift in Europe. Public support has moved toward right-wing political parties, like the Alternative for Germany (AFD), Poland’s Law and Justice party, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Fidesz party, and France’s National Front. Europe’s largest democracy, Germany, has experienced the largest inflow of refugees and worrisome changes in its political climate.
The influential Spiegel columnist Jakob Augstein recently warned of a new völkische revolution, a term referring to the nationalistic, anti-Semitic movement in the late 19th and early 20th century that swept across Austria and Germany and brought the Nazis to power. Today’s right wing parties may refrain from anti-Semitic statements, but as Augstein notes, ethnic categories are becoming salient again, and one in two Germans now fears the impact of immigration.
Augstein’s stern warning rings terrifyingly true: in the end we may find that fascism is not a problem of the past. Already, the composition of political party support in Germany is changing. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union initially saw a significant loss of public support because of refugee-friendly policies. CDU has now only recovered slightly in opinion polls. Even within her own party, Chancellor Merkel is facing increased resistance to her policies along with new, significant challenges from the right. One weekly poll of German citizens showed the AFD, a far-right party that is only two years old, reaching 10% popularity in the last 3 months.
A rising tide of politically motivated crime against refugees is sweeping across the region. This is the most visible and troublesome shift in Europe’s political climate. In Germany, multiple attempts of arson in refugee shelters, crowd violence and mass protests have accompanied the immigration surge. Arson attacks have increased ten-fold in the past year. Right wing grassroots movements hardly more than a year old, for example the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (PEGIDA), are radicalizing with calls for more restrictive immigration rules—and they are targeting Muslims.
A Beacon of Hope: Civil Society
The main effort to deal with the refugee crisis has and continues to be shouldered by the scores of volunteers who help refugees to register and settle in, provide medical assistance, and offer other aid. Community-level, citizen-driven initiatives by and for refugees often fulfill the duties of states that lack local capacity. An abundance of creative, innovative policy solutions for employment and integration have also emerged. In Germany these include apps like Waslchiraa, a service that links donations to refugees, the Workeer job portal designed for refugees, and other online services that provide refugees access to higher education without formal documentation. German universities are even trying to find new ways to admit refugees as students without bureaucratic hurdles.
Western societies are in danger of polarizing, with humanitarian initiatives to accommodate refugees on the community-level on one side, and a rise of ethnocentric nationalism on the other. Citizen initiatives create pathways to improving refugees’ lives, and this is part of the answer. But for these efforts to be sustainable, governments must support these actions and in doing so, they must address the concerns of their citizens. Excluded and marginalized in the decision process, they could otherwise turn to those who offer simple answers like exclusion. Incidents such as those in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve only further escalate existing tensions, especially if we are judging all refugees by the despicable actions of a few.
In 2016 we face a crisis of historic dimensions in which we will be presented with a choice. Chancellor Merkel of Germany equated it with defining moments of recent world history, like the fall of the Berlin wall. This remarkable comparison is as daring as it is fitting: how we face this challenge will shape all of our futures in the years to come. We are at a critical juncture in which public opinion in the West could swing either way with fundamentally different outcomes in the years to come: isolationism or pluralism. Accepting refugees will change host nations and new identities will have to be forged. But change as such is not the problem as long as we all - refugees, citizens and the state - are able to shape that change together.
It remains our responsibility as individual citizens to actively decide for humanity and against fear. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the time is always ripe to do right.
This article expresses the authors' views only and not the institutions they are affiliated with.
Erin C. McGrath
Erin McGrath is NSF Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Social Science at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland College Park. Her research combines complexity theory, social scientific research design, and computational methods. Currently, she focuses on subnational grievances and conflict, and semi-authoritarian resilience, with a particular focus on Turkey.
Karsten Donnay is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Political Science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. His research studies civil conflict dynamics with a particular emphasis on their relationship with domestic and regional contexts.
Kelsey P. Norman
Kelsey P. Norman is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine where she researches migration to Middle Eastern and North African host states. She has spent the last three years conducting interviews with migrants, refugees, NGOs and policy-makers in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.
I write about contemporary events and my hope that persistence wins over intractability.