15 July 2016

There is an Ongoing Coup Attempt in Turkey

There is Civilian Resistance
As is frequently the case, the picture of what is going on is unclear:

A military coup attempt plunged Turkey into a long night of violence and intrigue on Friday, threatening its embattled president and injecting new instability into a crucial NATO member and American ally in the chaotic Middle East.

The coup attempt was followed hours later by an equally dramatic public appearance by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose whereabouts was unknown for hours after the plotters claimed to have taken control. Flying into Istanbul Ataturk Airport from an undisclosed location early Saturday, Mr. Erdogan signaled the coup was failing.

“A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity,” Mr. Erdogan said, after the private NTV television channel showed him greeting supporters. Blaming political enemies, Mr. Erdogan said: “What is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason. They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.”

There were indications that the coup’s leaders, at a minimum, did not have a tight grip on many parts of the country. Supporters of Mr. Erdogan took to the streets of Istanbul to oppose the coup’s plotters. More than 130 people have been arrested in connection with the coup attempt, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in comments to CNN Turk.

Nonetheless, the abrupt turn of events in Turkey left Mr. Erdogan’s grip on power uncertain. The country has been reeling from a wave of deadly extremism by the Islamic State militant group, struggling to accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war in neighboring Syria and fighting a resurgent Kurdish rebellion in the Turkish southeast.

Martial law was declared in the country, which has been convulsed by military takeovers at least three times in the past half-century. Mr. Erdogan, an Islamist who has dominated politics for more than a decade and sought to exert greater control over the armed forces, was forced to use his iPhone’s FaceTime app from a secret location to broadcast messages beseeching the public to resist the coup attempt.
Erdogan has been a disaster for Turkey and the Middle East:  He has systematically dismantled the already meager protections of civil rights in Turkey, and has (at least until recently) been a supporter, along with the House of Saud of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Additionally, he has taken to stoking ethnic tensions with the Kurds, and re-initiated operations in Kurdish regions that is brutal even by the standards of the Turkish-Kurdish convlict.

If he were to leave the political stage it would be a good thing for pretty much everyone who has to deal with him.

On the other hand, a coup d'etat by the military is not a good thing.

There is no upside to this.


Post a Comment