Many international commentators have pointed to the growing independent role of Turkey as a catalyst for the attempted assassination of Erdogan and the imposition of the military rule through the sinister “Peace at Home Council” on July 15, 2016. As Professor Sayyid of Leeds University stated in an op-ed in Daily Sabah 19 July, “..this coup, if successful, would have been a disaster for the people of Turkey and the Muslim world at large.”
This is because the Turkish government represents something new on the landscape.
“The AK government – warts and all – represents the possibility of a country with a strong Muslim presence – historical and contemporary – conducting itself in a way that is at ease with its Islamic heritage. This is a government that does not see Islam as something to be ashamed of. At the same time, it represents an alternative to the template of Egyptian President Abdul-Fattah el Sissi and Saudi Arabia on one hand, and the Baathist and Takfirism of DAESH on the other. The AK government has created a space for experiments in the expression of Islamic identity.”
The undoubted popular support for the Turkish government was demonstrated to the whole world when unarmed civilians stood against tanks and heavily armed rebel soldiers. This people power episode, which involved all political parties in the country, showed that the popular will can be the basis of political power in a Muslim country, overturning so many Islamophobic stereotypes. “The antipathy to Erdoğan among the ranks of neo-cons and Western supremacists knows no bounds. It is the poison that continues to feed the Islamophobic delusions that Islamic countries cannot be confident, caring, cosmopolitan or democratic.”
The degree of bias shown in reporting the attempted coup from the Western and protectorate media was an unforgettable lesson. The BBC, the ABC Australia, Sky News of course and Fox News, all seemed to be reluctant to admit that the coup had failed, long after Al Jazeera and Turkish media had shown the plotters surrendering. The bravery of the Turkish people was ignored and attacks were intensified against the government. Daily Sabah 21 July reported how the Western media’s coup coverage turned into anti-Erdogan rhetoric.
As Hearst commented: “Geopolitical Futures released an analysis saying the coup was successful. BBC Arabic, Sky News Arabic, El Arabiya TV, the ITN diplomatic editor, the US networks were all running commentaries saying Erdogan was finished, or had fled to Germany.” [Middle East Eye 16 July]
“If you want to know why Europe and the US are a busted flush in the Middle East, why they have lost all moral authority, indeed any authority at all, and why they are no longer the candle bearers of democratic change, look no further than the three hours of silence as they waited to see which way the wind was blowing in Istanbul and Ankara……The Saudis waited 15 hours before issuing a statement supporting Erdogan. The Emiratis and the media they controlled spread the message that Erdogan had fled the country. “
It is fairly obvious to even the most intellectually challenged that it is not the loudly decried ‘authoritarianism’ of Erdogan that is the real problem. The Saudi regime, Al Sissi’s military rule, Netanyahu’s megalomaniac settlement spreading on Palestinian land, Baghdad’s sectarian regime, are all quite acceptable as they do not threaten Western hegemony.
Mike Whitney in Counterpunch, July20, 2016 “ The Coup in Turkey has Thrown a Wrench in Uncle Sam’s “Pivot” Plan” explained how “the Obama administration’s disregard for the national security interests of its allies pushed the Turkish president into Moscow’s camp…” This means its” plan to pivot to Asia, surround and break up Russia, control China’s growth and maintain its iron grip on global power is now in a shambles. The events of the last few days have changed everything”.
Rapprochement with Russia, repairing the breach caused by the shooting down of the Russian plane, may have been the spark for the coup, timed before the Putin-Erdogan meeting in August. Whitney points out that “the Turkish pilots who shot down the Russian Su-24 have since been arrested and charged as members of the Gulenist coup.” This may well have been the reason for that incident, to break Turkish-Russian relations. There is also the revival of their joint projects, including the TurkStream undersea natural gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey, which will now go ahead. “This is big. Erdogan is now reopening the door the Obama team tried so hard to shut.”
The emergence of people power in Turkey also carries a message to others. “Not for the first time since 2011, autocrats across the region must be shivering today. The democratic forces which can disarm soldiers, can disarm them too.”