What a week! After the attack in Nice, France, is was hard to imagine any other news item topping that. Even Donald Trump wisely postponed his press conference to introduce Mike Pence as his running mate. But, in Turkey, a group of generals and other officials decided that it was now or never and attempted a coup against President Erdagon. He was vacationing at a coastal resort when the tanks began rolling in Istanbul and the capitol in Ankara. Several government buildings were bombed by aircraft, including the Turkish Parliament and Intelligence headquarters. However, the coup plotters failed and all indicators are that Erdagon is back in full control after a bloody night. So what was it all about?
In recent years, President Erdagon has been steadily purging the ranks of the military, replacing top officers with those loyal to him. Much as Barack Obama has been doing. Erdagon has also been purging the courts in Turkey, getting a firm grip on the civil justice system. These moves have enabled him to quiet dissenters, shutting down TV networks and newspapers, jailing reporters and limiting access to the Internet.
With control of the Turkish media, Erdagon and his cronies can pretty much do whatever they want and get away with it. Like looking the other way when fighters travel to and from the Islamic State across Turkey′s border into Syria and Iraq. One of Erdagon′s brothers is allegedly behind the purchase of oil from ISIS, cleaning up on the black market sale of petrol. He has done little to ebb the flow of refugees pouring into Europe. Turkey, a member of NATO and officially an ally of the United States, has been less than cooperative with us, whether it be during the Iraq War or now with the fight against ISIS.
Meanwhile, Erdagon has been steadily transforming Turkey into an Islamic nation. With some 90-plus million people, Turkey is among the most populated Muslim countries already. Prior to World War One, Turkey was the center of the Ottoman Empire, which controlled much of the Middle East. After WWI, Turkey was a shadow of its former self, and turned towards becoming a secular democracy, thanks to a military coup. Actually, thanks to several military coups.
Over the years, we have seen other strongmen emerge who tried to consolidate power. Each time, the military stepped in and unseated the would-be dictator. The rumor was that another major purge was due around August 1st, when the vacation season ended. So the clock was ticking and those behind the coup knew that their window of opportunity was closing fast. But the coup was doomed. They failed to physically arrest, or just plain kill, President Percep Tayip Erdagon in their opening move.
Erdagon was able to rally support from his own security apparatus, namely a special police unit. Their headquarters was attacked early in the coup by an army helicopter. But most of the SWAT-style trained police escaped alive and quickly went to work restoring control of media outlets. Erdagon was able to then call upon the people of Turkey to oppose the coup plotters. Most of those civilians who took to the streets last night either support Erdagon outright, or fear his tyranny enough to cooperate.
Naturally, Barack Obama and John Kerry voiced support for Erdagon, much as Obama′s administration backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Besides, we do have many civilians and military personnel in Turkey, and who wants them taken hostage and used as pawns? Events unfolded too fast and too far away for us to do anything. Within a few hours, the coup had been defeated. There still may be some pockets of resistance but the game is over. The military coup in Turkey is essentially finished after failing to unseat Turkish President Erdagon. He will now have a free hand to complete his purge and we can expect Turkey to become another home for the Islamic Caliphate.
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