A police APC drives in Kizilay Square with a poster of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the background in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, July 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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The stunning sweep of Turkey's crackdown following an attempted coup last week forces questions about how far President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go in a tense, conspiracy-fueled country. While the purges may be designed to derail any future insurrections, there are increasing concerns that Erdogan is seizing the moment to transform Turkey, steering it from its secular roots toward a more pious Muslim model and cementing personal power at the expense of democratic ideals.If answers to Turkey's course lie in presidential rhetoric, the coup plotters, and possibly a wider circle of government opponents, can expect little tolerance after an insurrection in which renegade soldiers drove tanks in city streets and fired on civilian protesters.Turkey, a NATO ally that describes itself as a bridge between east and west, is truly at a crossroads, embarking on a path whose ultimate consequences may not even be entirely clear to the leader who has dominated the nation of 80 million for more than a decade.The country, observers say, could veer deeper into the authoritarian conduct that Erdogan has increasingly been accused of, or it could eventually honor pledges to uphold democracy after a temporary suspension of freedoms.
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