Friday, July 15, 2016
Turkey's Coup in Progress. The Fate of Turkey and the Mideast Are At Stake as the Coup Seems to be Failing
A coup is underway in Turkey, the outcome of which is uncertain as I write. Ironically, the military coup, if successful, will benefit the people of Turkey. If it fails, a vengeful President Erdogan will complete his path to a dictatorship. It appears that the coup is failing as I pen this blog. President Erdogan was elected Mayor of Istanbul in 1994 as a devout Islamist. The military overthrew him in 1998. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail. He was elected Prime Minister of Turkey in 2003, and promptly proceeded to fortify himself against any future military coup. He framed over 300 military leaders, who were convicted in Stalinist show trials in the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon cases. They were replaced by compliant officers. He also suppressed the media. More reporters are in prison in Turkey than anywhere else in the world. He seized control of the largest independent paper in Turkey, Today’s Zaman, on March 4, and then had its archives destroyed. President Erdogan has a very thin skin. He does not take criticism lightly. Turkish Police arrested 52 people, including businessmen and sons of ministers, in December 2013. Erdogan’s son, Bilal, was implicated in the corruption. His dad’s response was to arrest the police officers and prosecutors. He subsequently gained control of the judiciary. Bilal has since been accused of money laundering in Italy. President Oregon and Abdullah Gul created the islamic Justice and Democratic Party (AKP) In 1991. Its been in office 14 years now. Its primary plank at the beginning was "anti-corruption." It is very easy to be against corruption when you are out of office, but not as easy when the temptations are in your grasp. How ironic that the anti-corrupt Erdogan is now presiding over a corrupt government and family. Turkey has been a secular Islamist Republic since 1923. Ataturk won Turkey’s war for Independence and then transformed the country from a deeply religious Islamic caliphate to a secular republic. He and his fellow military leaders blamed the failing sultanate and overreliance on religion for the long term decline of the Ottoman Empire. He not only secularized he country, but also westernized it. He saw how the West had outstripped the Ottomans in economics, industry, and the military. He scrapped Sharia for civil law. The military had been sworn to protect the secular Turkey. His policy is known as Kemalism. (Atatutk’s birth name was Mustafa Kemal). Erdogan wants to break Kemalism. Turkey was a beacon of stability in the Islamic world for 90 years. It has been a reliable ally of the West and NATO for roughly 7 decades. President Erdogan has picked fights with the Syrians, tolerated ISIS and then somewhat turned on it, and has renewed hostility with the Kurds. The result has been bloodshed and terrorist attacks from both the Kurds and ISIS. He is fighting the Turkish Kurds and the Syrian Kurds, allies of the United States. He shot down a Russian jet. Tourism is dead. The economy is collapsing, but he has become emboldened. He’s trying to make peace with the Israelis. He has grandiose plans, some under construction: a third airport for Istanbul, the biggest mosque yet – this one on a hill on the Asian side of the Bosporus, a third bridge crossing the Bosporus, and faux-Ottoman barracks in Taksim Square. His biggest goal is to build a canal paralleling the Bosporus about 15-20 miles to the west. He has built a budget busting, off-the-books, President’s Palace in Ankara. President Erdogan worships Allah. He also yearns for the days of the Ottomans. His ego has been swelling in recent years. He has a messianic personality. He has turned on his initial supporters: Fethullah Gulen (in exile in Pennsylvania) and Abdullah Gul. Fethullah espouses a peaceful version of Islam, known as Hizmet. Erdogan has sought his extradition from the United States. President Oregon wants to read Hizmret. If he survives the coup attempt, he will drop any pretense of democracy. He will become a vengeful dictator. What's the Turkish wood for "purge?" The Parliament has already enacted legislation that will strip members; i.e, the Kurdish representatives, of their immunity. He will further purge the military, the police, prosecutors, and the judiciary. Don’t be surprised if he restores Sharia to Turkey. He believes women should stay at home, giving birth to children. Turkey currently has a large class of women professionals since Ataturk liberated women. President Erdogan has the support of the poor and religious. The mosques sent out a call for the people to turn out to support him in the coup. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he restores capital punishment. If he prevails, Turkey is headed backwards in time. The only remaining stable country in the Mideast will be Israel. Turkey is facing the abyss.