As the July 15-16 coup attempt in Turkey sputters to a halt, the triumphant forces of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan begin to ‘cleanse’ the Turkish military and any suspected sympathizers from the government. Already reports are coming in that around 1500 members of the Turkish military have been rounded up by pro-government forces and are expected to stand trial for treason.

This has been a dark day for Turkey. But the crisis was an inevitable consequence of President Erdogan’s Islamist ideology; his government playing fast and loose with dangerous, subterranean forces in Syria and Iraq; his hard line against Turkey’s Kurdish population and his willful alienation of the Turkish opposition and the secular urban elites, not to mention his periodic purging of the Turkish military.

And while Erdogan and his inner circle drawn from the AKP (Justice and Development Party) can breathe a collective sigh of relief, the underlying problems that precipitated this crisis will not be addressed. Vote rigging will continue to consolidate the AKP’s grip on power. The internal war against the Kurds will continue until Erdogan delivers his coup de grâce against them, which will force the Kurds to negotiate with Ankara from a position of political and social weakness. Strange and dangerous allies from Syria and Iraq will continue to be courted, heightening Turkey’s internal security vulnerability.

Strategically, this is a very bad situation for a country so critically important to European security. A NATO member should not be facing as many internal and external security crises.

Turkey, along with Greece, are the bulwarks of NATO’s eastern Mediterranean flank. Greece is broke and kept afloat by EU financial lifelines; Erdogan’s Turkey is surfing multiple social and political crises. Neither country is looking strong or secure enough to value add to NATO, leaving the southeast corner of Europe vulnerable. And we are not even talking about the European migration crisis. Both Turkey and Greece are major routes through which unregulated migrants find their way into the heart of the EU.

What we can say with certainty in the aftermath of the coup attempt is, that the Turkish military, long considered the guardians of Kemalist secularism, may never be fully under Erdogan’s control. This should be a major concern. With Turkish eyes firmly fixed on internal security, it is unlikely that the military could be called upon to defend the sanctity of Turkey’s borders against an external threat – something the power brokers in Moscow & Tehran are now keenly aware of.



  1. Stephen Cheney on July 18, 2016 at 7:43 pm said:

    The recent coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan smacks of falsity. In any coup, for it to succeed and not to be countered, it is of paramount importance that the death or capture of the current leader is obtained and that vital achievement shows in the plotting and the coup execution. We hear that, as Erdogen’s aircraft was flying back to Turkey, not one but two coup fighter jets pounced on his aircraft, were ready to fire, but did not. Those pilots, by their action of intent and failure to complete, both signed their own torture and possible death warrants. Hard to believe. The airport, as with other vital governing transport and communication points, was captured by the coup military forces. Yet Erdogen was not captured at the airport where he was exposed and helpless. Erdogen and colleagues were able to broadcast appeals to the masses from what looked like official government residences, not hidden shelters or make-shift premises. Of the enormous Turkish armed forces only some thousands of soldiers and a bundle (bungle) of generals seem to have been involved, and they have been captured. The rebels did not first arrange a massive turning of the military to their cause prior to their plan’s execution. The failure to nullify the president early in the coup is a monumental failure and indicates poor and impulsive planning. Due the above considerations I would say that it was highly likely that Erdogen orchestrated the coup, prompting it so to easily crush it and win the power to enhance his own standing and dictatorship. He wants now the power to kill all who oppose him. The coup by the ‘Parallel State’ group a kind of Fifth Column, Hizmet or Gulen movement led by his hated opponent in exile in the USA, the ex-imam Fethullah Gulen, may have been usurped by Erdogen sowing Agent Provocateurs within it. A jump start that fizzed and ended in detonating a more forceful Erdogen onto the world stage.

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