“The counter-coup is not over yet,” said Soner Cagaptay, a Turkey expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He said he believes that Erdogan is using the coup attempt as a “one-time window” to consolidate power and lead Turkey toward being a single-party state.
“But the president also made clear a couple of other things,” Earnest said. “The first is that the United States doesn’t support terrorists, the United States doesn’t support individuals who conspired to overthrow democratically elected governments. The United States follows the rule of law.”
The first paragraph has to do with a policy analyst’s prognosis for Turkey as an open democracy, the kind more familiar to Washington than to Moscow.
The second — the speaker is White House press secretary Josh Earnest — indicates Washington’s equivocal stance toward Turkish President Erdogan’s consolidation of power with Fethullah Gulen as a “chip” being played in the diplomacy.
So the United States “doesn’t support individuals who conspired to overthrow democratically elected governments”.
How “democratically” was Morsi elected in Egypt — and how democratic proved his administration?
Perhaps it was best the Egyptian people answered with their army, and the Muslim Brotherhood has been rightly purged from power in Egypt.
Similar dynamics apply to coup and countercoup in Turkey, which to BackChannels looks awfully manipulated in the state’s favor before it began, but that’s another story for exploration in a later post.
For the time being, Washington promotes “rule of law” — but look at how Turkey’s ruler has treated the same concept to effectively suppress the same throughout his nation and invest it all in . . . himself.
It appears that in Erdogan’s idea of the Turkish state, what democracy was designed to prevent it has instead enabled.
The detentions reported by Anadolu news agency come hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency that is expected to expand the crackdown.
Already, nearly 10,000 people have been arrested while hundreds of schools have been closed. And nearly 60,000 civil service employees have been dismissed from their posts since the failed coup Friday.
Nearly one-third of Turkey’s roughly 360 serving generals have been detained. The Defense Ministry is investigating all military judges and prosecutors and has suspended 262 of them, broadcaster NTV reported, while 900 police officers in Ankara were also suspended on July 20.
Turkey’s education system has been hit particularly hard during the ongoing crackdown. The Education Ministry on July 20 added more than 6,500 new names to the list of 15,200 school employees suspended, state media reported.
The leader of HDP, the pro-Kurdish parliamentary party that Erdogan has accused of terrorism, and the CHP – the Kemalist party traditionally closest to the military – denounced the coup.
Now, looking back, questions abound. Whose coup was it anyway and were ‘the people’ in fact organised mobs of Erdogan supporters, pre-warned and ready to take control of the streets? Why did the junta take control of the bridges and airports of Istanbul and various government institutions in Ankara while leaving the President free to call for supporters to fill the public squares to defy the tanks and defend democracy?
The failed coup attempt in Turkey led by a faction of the military seeking the overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan citing the leader’s abysmal record on free speech, democratic freedoms, and human rights may be the final death knell for both NATO and the European Union who are holding onto the increasingly undemocratic leader for dear life.
Again, Russia (okay: Moscow-Damascus-Tehran) kills it (if it’s moving) in the Syrian Tragedy, the world’s most magnificent display — from Assad’s barrel bombs to Baghdadi’s beheadings — of contemporary barbarism.
As perhaps echoes the Egyptian experience with Islamism in force, factions of the Turkish military may have harbored more of the values of modern and democratic life than the democratically elected “malignant narcissist” brought into power and attempted a coup (if the situation was not manipulated by Erdogan himself to strain out of the military the last of his opposition in that estate). Quite unlike the Egyptian experience, which appeared to have brought the very nation out into the streets in support of its military, the Turkish coup has failed, giving Russia finger-wagging power to point to NATO’s support of a dictatorship not unlike Russia’s own.
Putin’s Russian Nationalism : Erdogan’s Sunni Islamism: Different Talks – Same Walk.
“White Palace” – “Presidential Palace”, Ankara, 2014 – by Ex13, Wikimedia Commons.
“Not long after his initial election, Erdoğan’s agents embarked on a large and sinister campaign to destroy his political opponents, jailing hundreds—journalists, university rectors, military officers, aid workers—on trumped-up charges and fabricated evidence,” Filkins wrote — and wrote some more about the arrests of journalists, the taking over of opposition press, the delivery of arms to Jabhat al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda affiliate), the easy go with ISIS in favor of unleashing his military against Kurdish interests.
Other journalists have weighed in with similarly cogent observations.
Not surprisingly, once Erdogan assumed the Presidency, he continued to chair cabinet meetings and even established a shadow cabinet with a handful of trusted advisers. He pointedly sidelined Davutoglu, who quietly resented Erdogan’s usurpation of the role and responsibility of the prime minister as if nothing had changed.
The premiership became a ceremonial post and the ceremonial presidency became the all-powerful office without a formal constitutional amendment to legally grant him the absolute authority he is now exercising.
A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced a female teacher to almost a year in prison for making a rude gesture at President Tayyip Erdogan at a political rally in 2014, local media reports said on Wednesday.
Insulting public officials is a crime in Turkey, and Erdogan, the country’s most popular but most divisive politician, is seen by his critics as intolerant of dissent and quick to take legal action over perceived slurs.
Breaking in Fox News: “Detention orders were filed for 53 more judges and prosecutors while 52 military officers were rounded up for their alleged roles in the plot, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.”
In news analysis appearing in The Atlantic about three years ago:
The Turks suffer from a deep-rooted, historic reluctance to confront the Russians. The humming Turkish economy is woefully dependent on Russian energy exports: More than half of Turkey’s natural gas consumption comes from Russia. Consequently, Turkey is unlikely to confront Moscow even when Russia undermines Turkey’s interests, such as in Syria where Russia is supporting the Assad regime, even as Ankara tries to depose it.
Historically, the Turks have always feared the Russians . . . .
Moscow has so far been able to separate itself from such wondrous moves as the incubation of ISIS (through “deselection” for bombing and combat early in the Syrian Tragedy) and the related development of Syrian mass migration, and with Turkey and the latest airport bombing — and where the terrorists come from but Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan — the same channeling applies and to similar effect: Russia has been channeling its extremists to ISIS, and when they do what they do in the NATO community, it may lay claim to being tough on the same.
If terrorists should wreak havoc on a renewed Russian flight to Turkey, well then: Moscow and Washington may then mutually share sorrows and perhaps move toward rapprochement (on counterterrorism cooperation, say) while Assad the Tyrant and the familiar Soviet / post-Soviet (now neo-feudal) arrangements remain in place.
There’s a greater problem with such a rosey “what-if” or outcome, and that is the modern world’s ceding itself to the sustained “feudal absolute power” that today, as in medieval days, lends itself to despotism, kleptocracy, and the war of all against all without end. Unfortunately, “Red Brown Green” applies: to have within NATO nationalist or Islamist authoritarians (Hungary’s Orban, Turkey’s Erdogan, for starters) lends itself to Russia’s feudal revanch and its imperial ends.
From the early sacking of the generals accustomed to the state that Kemal Ataturk bequeathed to the Turks to the latest and disingenuous assaults on the Kurdish People under the cover of fighting terrorism accompanied by something like the resurrection of the Kurdish PKK, a Marxist-infused movement dating back to the 1970s and long stalled in its ideological tracks but naturally mixed back into Kurdish politics, Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has pursued a course in action, behavior, and language more familiar to Moscow than to Washington.
Add in that grandiose residence, the “White Palace”, a mixed development Versailles, but with its private residential part supporting some 250 rooms set on a landscape dotted with at least a few $10,000 trees imported from Italy.
On this post, the related and additional reference sections and fair-use excerpts should provide plenty for reflection on Turkey as a NATO state that while fulfilling its military contract has drifted as a democracy far into authoritarianism. Although the Moscow-Tehran axis blocks any chance of an Erdogan-Putin political “bromance” like that between Putin and Hungary’s Orban, who despite his state’s NATO membership has displayed the same drift toward authoritarian rule, Erdogan’s path remains the one that leads to dictatorship.
Related Reference — Freedom of the Press
https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2015/turkey – “Turkey: 5-Year Decline in Press Freedom”: “Conditions for media freedom in Turkey continued to deteriorate in 2014 after several years of decline. The government enacted new laws that expanded both the state’s power to block websites and the surveillance capability of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). Journalists faced unprecedented legal obstacles as the courts restricted reporting on corruption and national security issues. The authorities also continued to aggressively use the penal code, criminal defamation laws, and the antiterrorism law to crack down on journalists and media outlets.”
http://www.dw.com/en/security-for-turkeys-erdogan-scuffles-with-journalists-in-washington/a-19157072 – “Security for Turkey’s Erdogan scuffles with journalists in Washington”: “The president’s security detail removed one opposition Turkish reporter from the speech room, kicked another and threw a third to the ground outside the Brookings Institution, in a melee that provided Washington’s foreign policy elite a firsthand glimpse at the state of the press in Turkey.” Note: In the United States, Secret Service details protect foreign heads of state. However, it appears that Brookings, Erdogan’s own security detail may have made moves against would-be Erdogan critics.
. . . Erdogan has used his strong Islamic credentials to project himself as a pious leader, when in fact he consistently engaged in favoritism, granting huge government contracts to those who supported him and to his family members, irrespective of conflicts of interest and the corruption that ensued as a result.
The breakdown in 2015 of the government-initiated peace process with Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been accompanied by an increase in violent attacks, armed clashes, and serious human rights violations since summer 2015. The latter includes violations of the right to life and mass displacement of residents in eight southeastern towns where the security forces and PKK-affiliated youth groups have engaged in armed clashes, as well as denial of access to basic services including healthcare, food and education for residents placed under blanket curfew conditions for extended periods and in some cases months at a time. The past eight months have seen hundreds of security personnel, Kurdish armed fighters and civilians killed, with almost no government acknowledgement of the civilian death toll estimated at between 200 and 300 in this period. The renewed violence has provided the context too for numerous arrests of political activists and alleged armed youth on terrorism charges and ill-treatment of detainees.
See Richard Spencer’s piece, listed below, for an estimation of a changed PKK politics within the Kurdish effort to eject ISIS, where the Kurds of produced the most effective ground fighting force since the Syrian Tragedy took hold in 2011, and otherwise establish and sustain their autonomy despite their historic four-state division and subsequent treatment as an ethnic suzerainty.
“The PKK has become part of the people. You can’t separate them anymore,” said Zubeyde Zumrut (in Diyarbakir), co-chair of BDP, which won control of one hundred municipalities in the southeast of Turkey in the 2009 local elections and thirty-six parliamentary seats in the June 2011 national elections. “Which means if you want to solve this problem, you need to take the PKK into account.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent attack against academics – who signed a petition condemning military operations in Kurdish cities and calling for peace and negotiations – is yet another banal expression of the authoritarian politics that have long prevailed in Turkey under Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule. All authoritarian regimes are anti-intellectual and this tendency intensifies when they are in trouble. So it is not surprising that Turkey’s president and his party look for scapegoats to blame for their domestic and foreign policy failures. Indeed, authoritarianism is rarely a reflection of political power; rather, in most cases it is a result of weakness.
We joined the agency in January, hired to edit English-language news, but quickly found ourselves becoming English-language spin-doctors. The agency’s editorial line on its domestic politics – and Syria, in particular – was so intently pro-government that we might as well have been writing press releases. Two months into the job, we listened to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç talking bollocks about press freedom from an event at London’s Chatham House, downplaying the number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey.
What has happened is that Turkey has decided to allow Iraqi Kurdistan’s army, the Peshmerga, to join the YPG, the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, in defending Kobane.
The Kurds of south-east Turkey cheering the Peshmerga convoy as it passes are of course hoping they will save their fellow Kurds in Kobane. But they are also cheering the new-found unity of the Kurdish cause. For once, the faction-fighting of their leaders has been set aside in a common purpose, and the Kurd in the street feels anything is now possible.
The Turkish PM is on a roll: About 10% of the country’s top brass are in jail, awaiting trial for allegedly plotting against him. Voters have given him a mandate to rewrite the country’s constitution, produced under the shadow of a 1980 military coup and that allowed the military to interfere in the process of governance.
But there are suspicions the evidence against the officers was fabricated and the moves are intended to silence the opposition. Numerous journalists and academics are being held on similar charges.
Turkey has not reached a new agreement to let the US use its Incirlik airbase in the fight against Islamic State (Isis) militants, and talks are continuing on the subject, the prime minister’s office has said, in comments that run contrary to a statement made by US national security adviser Susan Rice on Sunday.
The prime minister’s office said an agreement had been reached to train moderate Syrian rebels on Turkish soil, but that it was not yet clear “where [and] in what way” that would happen.
Turkey has agreed to let US and coalition forces use its bases, including a key installation within 100 miles of the Syrian border, for operations against Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria and Iraq, US defence officials have said.
But progress in negotiations with Turkey, including Ankara’s agreement to train several thousand Syrian moderate rebels, may not be enough to stop the massacre of civilians in Syria’s border town of Kobani, where intense fighting continues.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the Associated Press the Islamic State militants, also known as ISIS or ISIL, have not been able to advance in Kobani since Friday but are sending in reinforcements. The Observatory’s chief, Rami Abdurrahman, said the group appears to have a shortage of fighters and has brought in members of its religious police known as the Hisbah to take part in the battles.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is struggling to cut off the millions of dollars in oil revenue that has made the Islamic State one of the wealthiest terror groups in history but has been unable to persuade Turkey, the NATO ally where much of the oil is traded on the black market, to crack down on an extensive sales network.
While the details of the hostage deal are still unclear, Ankara has had interlocutors with IS — from Arab tribes to former Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, who sought refuge in Turkey — who could have been instrumental in reaching it. Such a deal, however, may include a promise of continued non-involvement in the campaign against the jihadist group, with the soldiers stationed at Suleyman Shah serving as an insurance policy for the jihadists.