The Coup in Turkey did not Fail
It was designed to fail. It was planned by Erdogan to grab more power, and the U.S. let it happen.
The Turkish Republic endured 5 coup d’états since its inception in 1923. Beginning in 1960, the Turkish military overthrew governments around once every decade, which gave them a lot of experience and expertise in coups.
The last one on July 15, 2016 which was digitally aired to the world, is the only one that failed, miserably. When we look at the footage, it was too theatrical to be real. Many people started to call it a “false flag coup” within a few hours of the attempt.
Every coup, in the history of coups around the world, first started with arresting the leader you want to overthrow. Next step is to take over the media outlets, then secure the airports and other major travel arteries to stop his escape and take control of the country.
Instead of following these well-known steps, these people decided to throw the coup while Erdogan was on vacation. They had no plans to make sure he was arrested. Whoever was in charge of the coup never showed up to announce it. They only used a few tanks and 2 fighter jets to topple a government that has strong civilian support behind it. The entire thing does not make sense, and no well-trained, intelligent military leader would try to attempt a coup this way, unless you want to fail.
Erdogan has been trying to change the Turkey’s constitution for years, in order to make himself a de facto dictator. He wanted the entire government under his control but the opposition parties were not agreeing with his plans. The last general election in November 2015 did not give his party AKP enough seats in the Turkish Parliament to pass the laws to change the constitution. Now he looks like a strong leader who, after all, defeated a military coup supposedly planned by his enemies and the CIA. Now he can implement his plans to change the constitution and arrest everyone who doesn’t agree with his plans.
He has already started to carry out his real coup. Over 2700 judges, prosecutors and many military officers were arrested as soon as the coup was thwarted. He says the coup was orchestrated by his old friend but new enemy Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric who lives in the US and suspected –with credible evidence- to be a CIA operative. So he is using this opportunity to purge the supporters of the Gulen movement within the military and the remaining Kemalists who are secular nationalists.
Being a NATO member and a U.S. vassal, the CIA and other NATO connected intelligence agencies have strong presence within Turkey which definitely would have information on the planning of any coup. The CIA, in these situations, does one of two things; either supports the coup leaders to make sure they are the U.S. friendly ones, or warns the leader who is targeted that a coup against him is about to happen so he can prepare to stop or defeat it. This is assuming the U.S. prefers the presiding leader of the country.
So why did the CIA/the U.S. let this ‘fake coup’ take place, knowing Erdogan was going to use it to grab even more power?
Firstly, they are aware that Erdogan has considerable support within the country which means it could have failed even if the CIA was able to turn it into a real coup. Previous coups in Turkey succeeded because the Turkish military had significant civilian backing. This balance has changed since Erdogan and his Islamist party AKP took power in 2003. Historically, the Turkish military has been a staunch defender of the country’s secular system which often put them at odds with the religious groups and religious political parties. One of the first things Erdogan did as a brand new prime minister, was to infiltrate and weaken the Turkish military to make sure it would never have enough power or desire to accomplish a coup against his government. With this final blow, the fake coup, he is completing his clean up within the military.
Secondly, a full blown dictator is easier to overthrow eventually, because he would create even more resentment and hatred within the different groups, especially in a country such as Turkey that is already brewing with ethnic and religious tensions (Kurds, secular Kemalists, jihadists..etc.). The U.S. is well aware that the nationalist/secular Kemalists would not join the Kurds who prefer a federalist system and are asking for autonomy and independence. Kemalists view Kurds’ demands as a threat to the country’s borders, statehood and republic.
Therefore, if the U.S. decides to get rid of Erdogan, it needs to pick the side who the U.S. will portray -with the help of the Western media- as the utterly oppressed group by this full blown, Saddam like, dictator and support them fully. Their challenge will be the choice between the nationalists who are western friendly and secular but are against privatization of the state owned assets, schools and healthcare system which would make it difficult for the U.S. to implement a complete Neoliberal system in the country, or the Kurds who want to separate to join Iraqi Kurdistan to eventually declare independence. The latter choice is part of the U.S.’ Neocon plan of redrawing the borders of the region to reduce Russian influence and take total control of the oil and gas resources and lines, but it can also plunge the country into a major civil war. Not that the U.S. would care how many people would be murdered in a bloody civil war, but they are aware that Turkey is a huge country, not only with its 75 million population which consist of many young people, but also its physical land size which could make it more difficult to invade if needed. Plus, the refugees that will be created by this conflict would pose additional problems within the EU which is already struggling with massive refugee influx from the other civil wars in the region.
Another problem with the latter choice is that not all Kurds in Turkey are on board with the separation plan which means if the U.S. throws its full support behind the Kurds, the plan may not succeed and either the Kemalists or Erdogan’s Islamists might come out of the chaos even stronger. That also means decreased U.S. influence in the country as the prevailing side will not be too friendly towards the U.S. for supporting its opposition.
Erdogan might be gloating in power at the moment, but he has limited options. If he pushes too hard and turns into a brutal dictator, there will be large groups within the country who will reject his abject rule and that could lead to a major civil war, opening the door for a U.S. invasion or Kurdish separation. If he goes rogue on the U.S. and decides to align himself with Russia, this fake coup indeed could be the catalyst for the direct confrontation between Russia and the U.S. as the U.S. would not allow this major NATO country to fall under Russian influence. It is not clear however if Russia would risk a war with the U.S. over Turkey, meaning Putin might very well let the U.S. invade it and/or support the creation of a larger Kurdistan, despite Erdogan’s recent attempts to make nice with Russia after downing a Russian fighter jet over Turkey which froze the relations between the two countries.
However, if Erdogan behaves himself and stays friendly enough with the US while making changes to better his country, he might come out of this as a successful and powerful leader. But, knowing his authoritarian tendencies and thirst for power, he will most likely be one of those dictators who begins as a western star and dies from lynching in a mud ditch. Let’s hope that another Franco or Hitler is not in the making, as the region and our world could use some peace and respite from the bloody wars.
To learn more about how Erdogan came to power, and Fethullah Gulen’s connection to him, read: