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Daniel Pipes

 
Daniel Pipes: Why I Rooted for the Turkish Coup Attempt

by Daniel Pipes, July 24, 2016

 

[Reprinted from http://www.danielpipes.org

 

http://www.danielpipes.org/16823/why-i-rooted-for-the-turkish-coup-attempt]

 

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Every major government condemned the coup attempt in Turkey, as did all four of the parties with representatives in the Turkish parliament. So did even Fethullah Gülen, the religious figure accused of being behind the would-be take over.

All of which leaves me feeling a little lonely, having tweeted out onFriday, just after the revolt began, "#Erdogan stole the most recent election in #Turkey and rules despotically. He deserves to be ousted by a military coup. I hope it succeeds."

 

Having this nearly-minority-of-one stance suggests that an explanation longer than 140 characters is in order. Three reasons account for my supporting the ouster of the apparently democratically elected and democratically ruling president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, by what are apparently the forces of reaction:

Erdogan stole the election. Erdogan is an Islamist who initially made his mark, both as mayor of Istanbul and as prime minister of Turkey, by playing within the rules. As time wore on, however, he grew disdainful of those rules, specifically the electoral ones. He monopolized state media, tacitly encouraged physical attacks on opposition-party members, and stole votes. In particular, the most recent national election, onNovember 1, showed many signs of manipulation.

Erdogan rules despotically. Erdogan has taken control of one institution after another, even in the two years since he became president, a constitutionally and historically non-political position. The result? An ever-growing portion of Turks are working directly under his control or that of his minions: the prime minister, the cabinet, the judges, the police, the educators, the bankers, the media owners, and other business leaders. The military leadership has acquiesced to Erdogan but, as the coup attempt confirmed, the officer corps has remained the one institution still outside his direct control.

Erdogan uses his despotic powers for malign purposes, waging what amounts to a civil war against the Kurds of southeastern Turkey, helping ISIS, aggressing against neighbors, and promoting Sunni Islamism.

 

 

Military intervention has previously worked in Turkey. Turkey is the country where military coups d'état have had the most positive effect. In all four of the modern coups (1960, 1971, 1980, 1997), the general staff has shown a disciplined understanding of its role -- to right the ship of state and then get out of its way. Their ruling interludes lasted, respectively, five years, two and a half years, three years, and zero years.

Turkey would benefit now from a spell of military readjustment, ending Erdogan's increasingly rogue rule, even if that meant replacing him with more reasonable Islamist figures from his own party, such as Abdallah Gül or Ali Babacan.

In the memorable words of  

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