The Coup In Turkey And Why It Failed

CP&S Comment: President Erdoğan’s  widespread purges on the army, state institutions and the education sector that began after last week’s failed coup, has now run into tens of thousands affected by his implacable clampdown. Many have had their licenses to work withdrawn whilst a vast number have been handcuffed and taken to detention centres. One report has stated: “The space for academic freedom in Turkey has by many accounts been shrinking in recent years against what observers describe as increasing authoritarianism and a drift away from secularism under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a member of what the Times describes as the “conservative Islamist” Justice and Development (AKP) party. But the scale of Tuesday’s purges shocked many. One noted expert on global higher education, Jamil Salmi, tweeted that the Turkish government’s actions against the deans were “unprecedented since [the] disaster of the Cultural Revolution of China.””


Posted on July 20, 2016 by Baron Bodissey on Gates of Vienna

The following analysis from Joshua Pundit examines the political context of the recent failed military coup in Turkey. Whether deliberately engineered by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, or merely exploited, the incident seems to be evolving into a wholesale purge of unprecedented proportions.

This essay was first posted a couple of days ago. Bear in mind that since it was written, fifteen or twenty thousand more people have been detained or dismissed, including all of the country’s university deans:

The Coup In Turkey And Why It Failed

Friday afternoon local time I began getting e-mails from acquaintances and correspondents in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East. They told of violence in the streets and military activity in the capitol of Ankara and in Istanbul, the city that sprawls between the Asian Turkey of Anatolia and the small piece of European Turkey on the other side of the Bosporus, the narrow strait that divides the Black Sea and the Aegean.

Was it some kind of ISIS or PKK attack?

As more time passed there were reports of an Army coup in Turkey underway. Had the Army finally tired of its neo-Ottoman Sultan Erdoğan?

As the news outlets in Turkey and the Middle East began filing reports, I noticed a few details that told me something had likely gone wrong. The first clue was that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was reported to be ‘in a secure location’ and inciting people to go into the streets and attack the soldiers attempting to pull off the coup… which they did.

This is very odd behavior for a coup. The very first rule of a military takeover is to get the leader you want to depose under your control and either dead or locked away. It’s the first thing al-Sissi did in Egypt when he deposed Erdoğan’s fellow Islamist Mohammed Morsi, and it’s pretty much job one in any military coup. Among other things, it confuses the military players whom aren’t involved as they wait to see what’s happening or to receive orders.

The next odd note was for Erdoğan to call for civilians to attack elements of the Turkish military, and for them to comply eagerly. With the downward spiral of the Turkish economy, multiple instances of political corruption involving Erdoğan and with Erdoğan’s increasingly authoritarian ways, he’s not the most popular leader, especially in more cosmopolitan Istanbul. And the normal human behavior would be to lay low and let the military factions sort it out, not attack trained, armed troops. Yet, they did, and while much has been made of some civilians who were shot, many of the soldiers involved in the coup seem to have reacted by simply retreating. One tank commander was even pulled out of his own tank by the mob and beheaded right on the spot while trying to do just that. (I’ve seen the footage. Trust me, you don’t want to.)

The coup also was unusual in that it did not involve any senior officers and was not widespread. It mainly consisted of a few junior officers and enlisted men whom were primarily from Erdoğan’s First Army. They were easily overpowered by troops loyal to Erdoğan and his AKP Party.

There are a number of stories out now claiming that Erdoğan staged his own coup. I highly doubt it. But what does seem obvious to me is that he had advance inside knowledge of it, that the men who attempted the coup believed that they were going to get more support from others in the military whom then either sat on their hands or decided to support Erdoğan, and that Erdoğan allowed the coup attempt to occur because it was beneficial to him.

As a result of the coup, a lot of elements Erdoğan considered disloyal have been flushed out, along with a number of others who simply oppose him politically or whom he finds convenient to lock up. Thus far, 2,745 judges and prosecutors whose loyalty to the Erdoğan regime has been questioned — especially those involved in the investigation and/or prosecution of the corruption surrounding Erdoğan — have been thrown in jail. Something like 2,839 soldiers have been arrested as well. Erdoğan is openly referring to the attempted coup as ‘a gift from Allah’ which pretty much gives the game away. Erdoğan will use it to quash any investigation of corruption and take out whatever remaining opposition there is to him. He’s already calling for the reinstatement of Turkey’s death penalty. Think of this as Erdoğan’s ‘Night of the Long Knives.’

Another benefit for Erdoğan is that it gives him an excuse to demand the extradition to Turkey of a major political opponent, Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen is whom Erdoğan is blaming for the attempted coup.


In any event, Erdoğan is going to remain in power for now, and Turkey will become even less free and democratic and a lot more Islamist, exactly the opposite of what the Turkish Republic’s Founder, Kemal Ataturk created after World War One.

This kind of development in a country with the largest conventional army in Europe is not something to ignore.

Read the rest at Joshua Pundit. The original post also has all the embedded links.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Coup In Turkey And Why It Failed

  1. toadspittle says:

    I think we can safely forget about Turkey joining the EU during the next half-century – after all this.

  2. Tom Fisher says:

    I think we can safely forget about Turkey joining the EU during the next half-century – after all this

    Oh yes.

  3. GC says:

    It does look very much like a “Clayton’s coup” – the coup you have when you’re not having a coup. “Byzantine”, to say the very least.

  4. “This kind of development in a country with the largest conventional army in Europe is not something to ignore.” No, definitely not. My fellow countrymen in America may think of Turkey as a distant, far-away land that doesn’t really have much of an impact on their lives. Those of us who live in Europe, however, have different view. Turkey is an immediate neighbor. If it were ever to become a member of the EU (which seems more unlikely with every passing day) then the EU would border on Iraq, Syria, and Iran.

    After the recent developments in Turkey and elsewhere it certainly does seem to be true that “Islamic law is absolutely incompatible with true democracy. It is a theocratic system with Allah alone at its head. Allah’s law is interpreted by a ruling body of clerics. There is no room for a secular political system in which all people are treated as equals.” (

  5. johnhenrycn says:

    Whilst reluctantly supporting England’s entry into the Crimean War on the side of the Ottoman Empire against Russia, Cardinal Newman had this to say:

    “…had the advice of the Holy See been followed, there would have been no Turks in Europe for the Russians to turn out of it. All that need be said here in behalf of the Sultan is, that the Christian Powers [England and France] are bound to keep such lawful promises as they have made to him. All that need be said in favour of the Czar is, that he is attacking an infamous Power, the enemy of God and man. And all that need be said by way of warning to the Catholic is, that he should beware of strengthening the Czar’s cause by denying or ignoring its strong point. It is difficult to understand how a reader of history can side with the Spanish people in past centuries in their struggle with the Moors, without wishing Godspeed, in mere consistency, to any Christian Power [Russia] which aims at delivering the East of Europe from the Turkish yoke.”

    Historical Sketches: Lectures On The History Of The Turks, In Their Relation To Europe
    London, Longmans, Green, And Co., 9th Ed. 1889, Prefatory Notice, p. xii

  6. Tom Fisher says:

    had the advice of the Holy See been followed, there would have been no Turks in Europe for the Russians to turn out of it.

    A fine and admirable statement. However it had been a solid 400 years since the Turks first successfully asserted their power in the Balkans. Even if London was (anachronistically) profoundly moved by Newman’s nostalgic observations; they might still have felt compelled to address the situation as they found it in the 1850s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s