(Photo by Andy Mettler / CC BY)
As a geopolitical enthusiasts, I thought I’d share my unprofessional opinion regarding the coup in Turkey. In a nutshell, the good guys lost.
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is an Islamic authoritarian. I’ve been watching this man since he first took power in 2003, and he’s no defender of democracy.
Modern day Turkey has been relatively friendly with the U.S., Europe, and Israel. After all, they are a NATO ally. Their nation has been a shining example of an Islamic county successfully blending eastern and western values within their government.
Unfortunately, throughout Erdogan’s rule, he has purged much of the old guard from the military. This quickly became evident in the coup, as divided loyalties within the military were exposed, weakening the military position.
Early in his rule, Erdogan also participated in the pro-Palestinian flotilla that attempted to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza. When the Israelis stopped the flotilla with military force, traditional good relations with Israel quickly soured.
Only recently have the two nations been able to mend fences. This reengagement with Israel only came about because Erdogan feared the rising threat from Russia and was interested in Israeli energy resources in the Mediterranean. Don’t doubt his animus towards the Jewish state.
In the first few years of the Syrian civil war, Turkey was the primary route for Islamic State fighters entering Syria. Erdogan looked the other way. It was only because of pressure from the U.S. and NATO that he closed the borders with Syria.
He tells the U.S. and his NATO allies that he’s helping in the fight against ISIS, but then launches air strikes against the Kurds. Killing some of the best fighters in the battle against ISIS.
More recently, he has been trying to empower the Turkish presidency; which has been more of a ceremonial position with in the government. He’s attempting to consolidate executive power for himself.
Maybe, the military jumped-the-gun in launching a coup. Maybe, they needed to allow the political process to play out. Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Erdogan is now using the coup to purge the county of his enemies.
Turkish citizens came to his defense, and he now claims his right to rule from the people; granted, he has never received a majority of a vote in any election. He has always been forced to build coalitions with other party factions.
I fear the Turkish people will come to regret their decision. Like so many tyrants of the past, it’ll be to late. We’ll be left with a major regional power, with Ottoman ambitions, on the doorstep of Europe and Israel.