FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Everything You Need to Know About the Turkey Coup

by

Why was the coup mounted?

This requires assumptions about who carried out the coup. One theory is that the followers of self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen knew that they were going to be purged and decided to strike first.

Was the coup concocted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to give himself the excuse to crack down?

It is more likely that Mr Erdogan is taking advantage of a real coup to rid the armed forces and key state institutions of all who do not give him full obedience.

He called it “a gift from God” in that it would allow him to do so. An argument against the theory that the coup was a put-up job is that it involved too many people, including high-ranking military officers, and might even have succeeded if the plotters had been able to eliminate Mr Erdogan.

Why did the coup fail?

The plotters did not eliminate Mr Erdogan and did not include the majority of the military high command. They did not enjoy any popular support and did not gain control of communications and the media. They did not have enough soldiers to suppress popular protests in favour of the President. The timing of the coup is also peculiar since it took place late Friday night when people were still up and going outside and not in the early hours of the morning as is traditional.

Is the civilian reaction being orchestrated?

Mr Erdogan successfully orchestrated public protests in order to thwart the coup by calling for them on an iPhone held in front of a television camera. So far as can be judged these were carried out by his committed supporters and right-wing nationalists, the numbers on the streets being boosted by free public transport until Monday night. A feature of the coup was that there were no demonstrations in favour of it because the coup plotters announced a curfew and, in any case, Mr Erdogan’s many opponents do not necessarily want him replaced by a military government.

The mosques also played a significant role in mobilising his constituency by calling people onto the streets and delivering sermons all night long as jets flew overhead. Secular Turks are worried that religiously inspired mobs will become a permanent factor in Turkish politics, but there is no doubt that Mr Erdogan is massively popular among a large part of the Turkish public. An online poll by software company Streetbees shows that in answer to the question of whether or not they wanted the army to seize power 82 per cent said no and 18 per cent said yes. The president may be using the coup for his own ends but there is no doubt that he has a democratic mandate.

Is Turkey still a democracy?

In one sense yes: Mr Erdogan’s AKP party was democratically elected in a general election on 1 November, last year. But he runs an increasingly authoritarian government and has taken over or suppressed most critical television stations and newspapers. Mr Erdogan is getting close to his dream of an all-powerful presidency which controls all the levers of power including the judiciary, armed forces and bureaucracy.

Where does this leave the EU deal and the refugee crisis?

Mr Erdogan is a tough negotiator but has proven himself to be an unreliable partner when it comes to long-term commitments.

How will this affect relations with Russia (after the plane that was shot down, and ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin)?

Before the coup Turkey had effectively apologised for shooting down the plane. Mr Erdogan is trying to reduce Turkey’s international isolation by improving relations with Russia and Israel.

But relations with Russia are unlikely to be transformed so long as Turkey is backing groups seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia is committed to preventing regime change in Syria.

More articles by:

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

February 21, 2018
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein’s on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail