TurkeyLike many analysts, the attempted coup in Turkey took me very much by surprise.I did not know what to make of it initially and my early elation at the possibility of the Erdogan being ousted was tempered with equal trepidation that this may be a US or NATO backed coup that would see Erdogan replaced—for failing in Syria and for his recent overtures to Russia—by a far more troublesome and more pro-US Islamist, Fethullah Gülen. Then, as the events unfolded, and Erdogan was able to quickly subdue the coup and play it very much to his advantage, I began to suspect that he may have had some hand in it or, more likely, had some foreknowledge of the coup and was able to use it as a pretext to eliminate his enemies—real and imagined—within the state. While we may never know for sure, there is no denying that the coup has hitherto turned out to be a political gift horse for Erdogan and his rabid Islamists.

So far, it appears that Erdogan is benefitting from the failed coup. Whether he was directly involved in planning it (less likely) or had foreknowledge of it and used it to his advantage (most likely), he has been able to use the failed coup as a pretext for full-fledged tyranny. Thus far he has imprisoned and fired thousands of military personnel, lawmakers, politicians, high court judges and teachers, most of who had nothing to do with the failed military coup. As popular blogger moonofalabama reports,

“The Erdogan administration is firing any public servant who might…not agree with its policies….The education ministry suspended 15,200 teachers and education workers….The Higher Education Commission asked 1577 university deans to resign. The Religious Affairs Directorate sacked 492 personnel….The Turkish Prime Ministry sacked 257 of its personnel in the post-coup crackdown. The Turkish secret service M.I.T suspended some 130 of its spies. In total nearly 50,000 people have been suspended, fired or detained by now”. [1]

If this was a US-backed coup intended to punish and eliminate Erdogan for recent signs of disloyalty and fears that he may be attempting to “change camps” (I for one think that Russia should have nothing to do with this mercenary Islamist weasel), it appears that it has backfired and emboldened an already rabid autocrat. What’s more, Erdogan’s radical Islamist civilian minions, many of whom were involved in brutal street violence against soldiers (and even engaged in a beheading), are also emboldened in a way that is downright frightening. I have received reports from Turkish friends living in Istanbul that Islamist thugs are out in the streets in a very proud and intimidating manner.

The fate of Turkey remains unclear. Given the current climate of mass arrests and purges, one has to brace for what comes next. At the same time, one has to wonder just how far Erdogan can go in his efforts to “cleanse” the state of enemies? How far will his madness go? Does he intend to detain or dismiss every single person not in line with his policies? If so, then I fear that the country may soon become one big open-air prison.



[1] http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/07/the-after-coup-purges-in-turkey-continue-the-erdogan-administration-is-firing-any-public-servant-who-might-just-might-not.html#more