A failed coup and the power of Erdogan: Overture to a tragedy
by NAT da Polis

New pro-Erdogan demonstrations in Istanbul and Ankara. The weak attempt to overthrow the regime was not supported by Army Chiefs. Increased arrests and the possibility of introduction of the death penalty. Turkish democracy threatened by Kemalist secularism and Islamic fundamentalism.


Istanbul (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Turks took to the streets again  last night to protest the coup attempt which shook the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a few hours. The crowds, with women and even children waving Turkish flags and portraits of Erdogan, gathered in Taksim Square in Istanbul and Kızılay Square in Ankara.

Heavy security controls were immediately put in place the morning after the coup: at least 800 members of the special forces have been deployed to secure Istanbul. Meanwhile the death toll in clashes with the rebel military has risen to 290 dead. The Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, revealed yesterday that at least 6 thousand people have been imprisoned because believed connected with the attempted coup. Erdogan has said he is in favor to the reintroduction of the death penalty.

News reports tell us that Friday, July 15, a day after the fateful night in Nice, around 22 (local time),  private TV channels  broadcast live the movement  of Turkish army troops that blocked the two bridges over the Bosphorus . Tanks and soldiers took up positions on some points of the city, while traffic in the metropolis of 20 million people continued to flow. Meanwhile there were confused reports of shootings and explosions in the capital Ankara have; reports of the occupation of TRT public television, and the Turkish Army Headquarters. All this took place while the Turkish president was on vacation in Antalya, after the resumption of relations with Russia and Israel, in what many analysts call "the usual turncoats", very usual in the modern history of Turkish politics.

The first confused reports continued, first with news of a vague  Committee. Then it was announced that the Turkish army had taken power in order to restore the democratic process in Turkey, trampled by its President Erdogan, who has proclaimed himself a kind of Sun King of the East, along with his executive arm, the AKP party founded by himself on Islamic values ​​and supported by 50% of the population. Of these, at least 40% is related to traditional Muslim values.

The "new janissaries"

The coup was led by 1600 Turkish officers, mostly colonels in addition to some generals, all of whom Erdogan says are part of the Imam Fetullah Gulen’s  Hizmet movement. Gulen is Erdogan’s number one enemy despite being his former spiritual father. Gulen has lived in exile  in Pennsylvania since 1999 because he was persecuted by the Turkish generals. Some have called the military rebels the “new janissaries ", because they rebelled against the "sultan’s excessive power ".

Diplomatic sources said that most of them along with a large number of judges were to be purged from the next government promotions. Following the failed coup, these purges have already begun. News reports also  say that after the first few hours of confusion Erdogan instigated the crowds with messages through social networks and has given orders to the imams to field their supporters, which some diplomatic chancelleries term "the Erdogan Taliban": The Deputy head of MIT, the Turkish intelligence, led by loyalist Hakan Fidan (he was on vacation) announced that the coup attempt was crushed.

In this regard it should be noted that the powerful MIT, which in the past was at the service of Kemalist generals, has responded  to Erdogan and his designs since 2010.

It has now been established that the coup leaders who have taken the initiative to overthrow Erdogan, did not have the consent - even tacit, as in the three previous military coups in Turkish Republican history (1960, 1971, 1980) – of all of the Armed Forces, or a substantial part of them as military forces. It should also be remembered that the police, spread across Turkish territory are very tied to Erdogan.

Another error committed by the military rebels –revealing their total ignorance of the media - is that they thought that the occupation of Trt State TV was sufficient  to control information. Instead Erdogan - who has always blamed the internet and social networks as corrupters of souls, often blocking them - was a skilled user, sending messages to the mullahs to bring down people onto the streets against the coup leaders to defend him and the legitimately elected parliament.

Some have called Erdogan "a jihadist". Among diplomatic circles it is thought that this was an old-fashioned coup, in which a handful of innocent conscripts were sent into the fray to be massacred by the Praetorian Guard of Erdogan, live on private television channels. One of the coup soldiers was even slaughtered and beheaded on live TV.

Erdogan and his centre of power emerge stronger from this coup attempt. But at this point there are many questions that arise.

Towards the Sultanate of Erdogan

A first issue is the suspicion that this coup attempt was ably caused by the Turkish president to further legitimize his grip on power and speed up his longed for constitutional reform, which would consecrate him as Sultan of his neo-Ottoman Empire , inspired on some traditional Islamic values ​​of Anatolia. This concept draws its strength from a new emerging Anatolian middle class, economically progressive (called "the Anatolian Tiger") linked to the values ​​of the Muslim tradition, that with their 40% of the population constitutes the hard core of the AKP party, well branched into the fabric social country.

To obtain this, Erdogan will need the 2/3 of the parliament (367, he now has 315), taking votes from the opposition.

Otherwise he will call early elections and given the climate that has arisen, he is convinced he can gain an absolute majority.

Moreover, all opposition parties condemned the failed attempt of coup, which aimed to destabilize the democratically elected parliament.

During the turbulent phases of the failed coup, Former president Abbdullah Gul and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, theorist of Neo-Ottomanism, both ousted by Erdogan spoke out online. The latter called the coup leaders "martyrs", who  "went to heaven for  the cause", but has been silent on unsuspecting poor conscripts massacred by Erdogan supporters.

Haggling with the West

Even the arch-friend / enemy Fetullah Gulen came out against the coup leaders, but at the same time accused Erdogan of having orchestrated them for his own use, to be able to trade his already difficult relations with Western allies who accuse him of dealing with Isis.

This is the  second question.

The various chancelleries have not hidden their disappointment at the role that Erdogan’s Turkey continues to have among the various Middle Eastern groups (Isis, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc ...) involved with some radical extremism in Europe. Even the unique, continuous, historical ally of Turkey, Germany, represented by Angela Merkel, is beginning to distance itself following the Turkish President’s continuous provocative statements. With this failed coup attempt, Erdogan takes the opportunity to reinforce among his Western allies as the only legitimately elected power and  he can again count on their political, military and economic  support in this area of ​​great geostrategic importance.

Fears of the "day after"

Beyond these considerations, that only  future historical research will clarify one important fact emerges: Turkey is not a normal country, but not an Arab country, and still has a long way to go to arrive at normalcy. Only then will people understand - says the analyst Kerem Oktem - that this land is not Turkish, but home to many races of various cultural backgrounds and different historical depth.

Instead, the Turkish society has grown since 1923, the birth of the modern Turkish state, in the grip of two regimes: the secularist Kemalist, and Islamic, which gave rise to the current AKP. Both exploited the use of the word "Turkish". The first, Kemalist identified being "Turkish" as being Muslim; instead the Islamic identifies the Muslim as "Turkish".

Behind it all there is a fascist conception of Turkish society. Thus a society based on civil rights has never been able to develop in this country. Whenever a  civil rights movement was created, it was brutally eliminated. And this also with the approval of Westerners who, jealous of their political and economic interests in this area, left the Turkish population at the mercy of the two regimes.

As Kerem Oktem  again observes, a country that has grown up in the power struggle between two systems, there is no space to grow civilly, and every political conflict takes on the character of civil war. For this reason, he concludes, "in Turkey I have never stopped being afraid of the next day, a day with disastrous consequences, and stained with blood."