Turkey’s successful coup…

Turkey’s successful coup…

  • Erdogan is trying to discredit anti-democratic (read anti-Erdogan) elements in the army, government, and society
  • Again, it is convenient to accuse Washington if it is going to draw the anti-American crowd in support of Erdogan
  • Erdogan should feel himself “liberated” and can go to bed with Russian President Putin or any other suitor…

LAintel has, in the past, utterly questioned Turkey’s status as a reliable ally and a NATO member. Recently, articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have confirmed our well-founded doubt and skepticism regarding Ankara’s willingness to combat the Islamic State.

The failed July 15 coup attempt demonstrated, once more, that Turkey is not a reliable ally and President Erdogan is a masterful schemer. In the August 11 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Steven A. Cook and Michael J. Koplow have co-authored an article titled “Turkey is no longer a reliable ally,” in which they state: “Rather than overlook Turkish excesses while hoping Mr. Erdogan will come around, it is time to search for more reliable allies.”

One theory holds that the Turkish president planned and orchestrated the aborted military coup to consolidate power. This pseudo-democratic dictator has become increasingly autocratic as prime minister and president of Turkey.

President Erdogan is critical of the Turkish military and has tried to reduce its role and influence in Turkish society and politics. He wants to establish a presidential system that would disembowel the pivotal system of checks and balances.

He is a manipulator and a blackmailer.

Erdogan is trying to discredit anti-democratic (read anti-Erdogan) elements in the army, government, and society. The Turkish president refuses to dialogue with the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party). His language is one of total war and total victory.

According to many experts, this military purge is an invitation to Kurdish separatism. Many Kurds believe that the Turkish president has connections with ISIS.

Amnesty International said that the Turkish government’s offensive against Kurdish areas in the southeast had endangered hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. It called it a “collective punishment.”

Turkish society, despite the failed coup attempt, took another step towards the abyss.

Even the legislators’ rights to freedom of thought and speech are dramatically curtailed. The Turkish president’s march towards autocracy is evident.

How is Turkey to harmonize these anti-democratic practices with the democratic norms of the European Union?

The sphere for democratic politics is shrinking as opposition voices are silenced. Those in power are establishing an even more authoritarian regime to tighten their stranglehold on power and perpetuate their rule.

Europe and the U.S. look the other way while Turkey tramples human rights and democratic values.

Some government officials have accused the U.S. of planning the botched coup attempt. Again, it is convenient to accuse Washington if it is going to draw the anti-American crowd in support of Erdogan.

Ethnic minorities (Kurds, Armenians, etc.) and pro-democracy groups feel intimidated and harassed by Erdogan’s loyalists. The Economist calls Erdogan “a vengeful sultan.”

It is evident that Ankara turned a blind eye to the passage of jihadists through Turkey.

Since the balance of power in Turkey has shifted dramatically in Erdogan’s favor (at least for now), many economists are worried that the Turkish economy, arguably the only positive feature of this regime, would significantly suffer if Westerners firmly resist any impulse to invest in Turkey.

Erdogan’s followers are essentially committed religious conservatives and some Islamist leaders, who are the president’s fervent ally, are deeply critical of the Western mindset and “the malice of educated people.”

His is a monolithic style of government. The country is sliding down the slippery slope to authoritarianism.

For the Turkish opposition, the pro-Erdogan demonstrations don’t appear to be a democratic revolution. On the contrary, they seem more like an Islamist counter-revolution.

Erdogan called the failed coup a “gift from God.” Again, he is using religious language to justify and promote his authoritarian agenda of repression and murder.

Although the military coup attempt has failed, Turkish society has become more polarized and divided.

Erdogan’s evolution is remarkable, from prime minister to president to a possible full-fledge dictator. He is fomenting hatred against his opponents, including the Kurds, to reap substantial political benefits.

There are even reports that during the early morning prayers at the mosque at the presidential palace, the Islamic call to worship was recited by the Turkish president. Although it was denied by Erdogan’s office, the ascent or rather descent into theocracy is becoming more evident and disturbing.

NATO’s Article 2 discusses the strengthening of free institutions by member countries. Turkey has been far from strengthening its free institutions. The opposite is happening. Erdogan’s goal has been to weaken the democratic institutions in the name of defending democracy.

In “Is Europe helpless?” published in the July 26 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens says: “People who believe in nothing, including themselves, will ultimately submit to anything.” Secular Europe has, so far, failed to moderate and “secularize” millions of Muslims who live in Europe. The so-called “religious” or “spiritual” vacuum in Europe is abysmally manifest.

It is telling how a prominent Turkish official who represents a member country of NATO expresses himself before au audience made up of people of Turkish descent. The former Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu told a large gathering of Swiss Turks in January 2015: “Islam is Europe’s indigenous religion, and it will continue to be so . . . . I kiss the foreheads of my brothers who carried the tekbir [i.e. the call Allahu Akbar] to Zurich . . . . How holy those people were, who came and sowed the seeds here, which will, with Allah’s help, continue to grow into a huge tree of justice in the centre of Europe. No one will be able to stop this . . . . We will enter the EU with our language, our traditions, and our religion . . . . Would we ever sacrifice one iota of that culture? With Allah’s grace, we will never bow our heads.”

American officials are concerned about threatening public statements from Turkish officials who accuse Washington of collaborating with the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in masterminding  the July 15 failed coup.

The Turkish president is rebuking the U.S. and Europe for not denouncing the failed military coup. Some Western officials are worried that the post-putsch situation might exacerbate tensions between Ankara and the West and push Turkey further away from NATO and European integration.

Generally speaking, policies that garner support in the short term may undermine stability in the long term. Relative economic prosperity could breed discontentment and demands for more political and cultural representation and civil rights.

Currently, there is a widespread fear of instability and chaos. Therefore, this political uncertainty buttresses Erdogan’s regime and what he stands for. Unfortunately, most Turks believe that their country already has a high level of democracy and are satisfied with the quality of the regime’s so-called democratic practices. They probably think that more democracy would weaken Erdogan’s power thus emasculating the current and genuine democratic institutions.

Since Ankara will be more preoccupied with domestic issues and purging both the military and society from undesirable elements, a more unstable and inward-looking Turkey will redirect its efforts from “combating” the Islamic State to stabilizing the country.

The notion that Turkey is an exemplary model to follow by other Muslim-majority countries is undermined by Erdogan’s security crackdown and is called into question by Middle Eastern experts.

Erdogan is further marginalizing the political dissenters and further empowering his Islamist support base. Moreover, a repressive regime would result in a loss of confidence in Turkish economy. Turkey’s credit rating was recently cut into “junk” territory.

Although Ankara says that it will protect economic freedoms, it might not be enough to convince Western investors. Erdogan’s image has been tarnished since he assumed power, both as prime minister and president, because of his authoritarian inclinations and political machinations with the West.

Erdogan’s coup was successful… Just in a few hours, he has exponentially expanded his political and security powers, a daunting task during normal times….

The United States is the most powerful nation on this planet. It has enormous political and military resources to fight the Islamic State. Washington does not need Ankara and its manipulator-in-chief to carry out its policies and programs. Erdogan should feel himself “liberated” and can go to bed with Russian President Putin or any other suitor…

 

 

About the author

Vahe Tcharkhoutian is the founder and editor of Los Angeles Intelligence. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science [American Politics] and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration. He currently teaches in Glendale, California.

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