FAILED COUP 'GIFT FROM ALLAH' SAYS MUSLIM DICTATOR-IN-MAKING ERDOGAN
A REALISTIC TAKE ON THE UNFOLDING COUP IN TURKEY IN THE NYPOST THIS AFTERNOON...WELL WORTH A READ:
The Turkish military has staged a coup. Bridges are closed in Istanbul. There is gunfire in Ankara. The Turkish General Staff says that it is in control.
Turkey is no stranger to coups. Historically, the Turkish military has been the guarantor of Turkey’s Constitution. In 1960, it overthrew Prime Minister Adnan Menderes after he sought to consolidate control and erode separation of mosque and state.
In 1971 and again in 1980, it intervened as chaos and political violence threatened to consume the country. In 1997, the military forced Turkey’s first Islamist government to step aside. While any coup is tragic, in Turkey there is hope: The military has never tried to retain power; rather, it has always assumed a caretaker role, seeking to repair the constitutional checks and balances in order to return Turkey to democracy.
There are other reasons for hope. It’ll likely be a day or two before we see if the coup holds, but Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the prime minister-turned-president now apparently overthrown, was an autocrat. He flirted with support for terrorists groups like Hamas, the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and even the Islamic State.
Some regimes believe flirtation with radical Islamists might fulfill short-term policy ends, but in the long-term there is always a heavy price. The past year’s attacks in Ankara and Istanbul may have convinced Turks outside Erdoğan’s inner circle that their reckoning was near.
Erdoğan ruled through the Justice and Development Party (AKP), a party that started out promising not only religious tolerance but also technocratic expertise.
It increasingly delivered the opposite. In the first nine years of AKP rule, for example, the murder rate of women skyrocketed 1,400 percent as Islamists conducted honor crimes with impunity.
The good news is that, with the exception of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s secular political movement, no Turkish party has ever survived the death of its charismatic leader.
Erdoğan’s removal might open space for both religious conservatives and liberals to again compete in the marketplace of ideas.
That said, Turkey’s future is far from assured. Over his 13 years in power, Erdoğan has transformed the bureaucracy.
He has changed education to brainwash a generation of students. He has allowed Islamist students to leapfrog over secular requirements to enter top universities.
He has inserted party cadre into every government bureaucracy. He and his family have seized newspapers and TV stations and used them to broadcast nonstop streams of anti-American and anti-Semitic conspiracies.
Undoing this will be no easy feat, especially since half of Turkey’s population supports Erdoğan blindly.
There also needs to be serious soul-searching within the Turkish military. How did it manage to misread Turkish society for so long? Career officers lived and socialized with other officers; they lost touch with Turkey at large.
Should the Turkish military engage in a violent purge, the reverberations may last generations. Nor does the coup resolve real ethnic problems between Kurds and Turks.
Absent real reform, the coup won’t resolve the Kurdish insurgency Turkey now faces. Nor is the opposition a panacea. Party leaders act as mini-dictators within their own parties. Few are charismatic.
Turkey has no obvious savior. Get ready for a rocky ride.
Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute