Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Turkey 15 July 2016

16 July 2016


Only 1 day after the Nice terrorist attack, a part of the Turkish army executed a failed coup attempt. Despite its highly organised and well hidden operations, some serious flaws in its execution raise some serious questions (eg, George Friedman, Politico). Today and tomorrow, the Turkish President is likely to sow the seeds for the next coup attempt, as I expect that his response to this treason will be ruthless.

The seeds for this coup attempt have been sown since the outcome of the 2007 Presidential election. Wiki: “Over a hundred people, including several generals, have been detained or questioned since July 2008 with respect to so-called organisation Ergenekon, an alleged clandestine, ultra-nationalist organization with ties to members of the country’s military and security forces. The group is accused of terrorism in Turkey”.

The Turkish President’s paranoia for the Turkish Army is however well rooted in history. Wiki: “The military had a record of intervening in politics, removing elected governments four times in the past. Indeed, it assumed power for several periods in the latter half of the 20th century. It executed three coups d’état: in 1960, in 1971, and in 1980. Following the 1960 coup d’état, the military executed the first democratically elected prime minister in Turkey, Adnan Menderes, in 1961. Most recently, it manoeuvred the removal of an Islamist prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, in 1997”.

The Turkish President has made many enemies following his autocratic leadership style (eg, NYT). Blaming his former friend and current enemy, Fethullah Gülen, for this coup is likely premature. There are other – and even geopolitical – players with a clear interest in weakening Turkey and its Presidency. This coup will confirm and boost the President’s existing paranoia and is likely to bring the worst out of him – and for Turkey.

Autocratic leadership is in demand these days as many people are tired of Western style consensus democracies. Alleged – or self proclaimed – strong leaders are in demand again. There is a clear relationship between the surge of nationalism and the appeal of strong autocratic leadership. Unfortunately, history shows that this relationship is unlikely to end well (eg, WW2).

One of the serious drawbacks of autocratic leadership, is its unwillingness to share and its need to protect Power. On 5 April 2016, the Russian President submitted a bill to the Russian parliament that carved out his personal National Guard from the Interior Ministry’s Interior Troops. This personal National Guard will exceed 15% of the Russian armed forces that are supposed to deal with external threats. (eg, Bloomberg View)

The (non-secular) Turkish President does not have the option of his Russian frenemy. In April 2007, the (secular) Turkish Army released an E-memorandum that leaves little doubt in its last paragraph: “The Turkish Armed Forces maintain their sound determination to carry out their duties stemming from laws to protect the unchangeable [LO: secular] characteristics of the Republic of Turkey. Their loyalty to this determination is absolute.” (eg, BBC)

The remainder of Turkish democracy will suffer badly from this failed coup attempt or whatever it was. As a result, the seeds of change will be sown today and tomorrow. Increasing oppression will create unexpected alliances: The enemy of my enemy is my friend (ancient Arabic proverb, Wiki). Today my empathy is for the Turkish democracy.

Tarkan – Şımarık a.k.a. Kiss Kiss (1997) – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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