Γενικά θέματα 24 Ιουλίου 2016

Turkey – Erdogan Bashing Will Not Stop Foreign Policy Changes

Turkey – Erdogan Bashing Will Not Stop Foreign Policy Changes

The Moon of Alabama (USA)
There is currently a lot of Erdogan bashing in the U.S. and European media. It seems that the authors of the hostile pieces would have liked
the coup to proceed. Why is a state of emergency and some restriction
on human rights in Turkey of concern when the same measures, with less
justification, were implemented in France without any protests? The
French President Hollande just pushed
a new labor law, which the population rejects, through parliament. This
without any vote and by using some very murky constitutional provision
that are only intended for emergency uses. Where is the protest in
“western” media and governments against such undermining of democracy?
The coup in Turkey failed – so far. How that came to be – who planned
it, how was it betrayed, why was it botched so very amateurishly – will
continue to be puzzling. Some answers seem plausible but there remain many open questions.


But this is of mere historic interest. The Turkish public perceives
it as a military coup against the people that thankfully failed. Erdogan
(as much as I dislike him) rescued their democracy. That the Gülen
movement, under the watch of the CIA, was involved is plausible enough
to be taken as truth. Unlike “western” liberals assume, Gülen and his
elitist, expensive schools are not liked in Turkey. The secularist see
him as a dangerous conservative Islamist, the AKP followers as a
deceitful, treacherous competition to their creed, ideals and heroes.
The Turkish public is in shock. That the military would bomb the
parliament and gun down civilians in such random ways is unprecedented.
That some creepy preacher in the always suspect U.S. was probably behind
this is taken as evident. This allows the government to take
extraordinary countermeasures. But considering the size of the event and
the trauma its has caused Erdogan’s response (so far) is rather mild.
The Turkish government has suspended or fired some 40,000 people.
Nearly 10,000 were detained, most of which are military rank and file
somehow involved in the coup. They will soon be free again. The people
suspended and fired are only one percent of the 3,000,000 strong public
workforce. An additional 27,000 private teachers had their licenses
revoked. These are staff of Gülen’s charter schools which are now
closed.
After the 1980 military coup in Turkey, (in a population half today’s size), the number of detained, fired, convicted and executed were on a much, much higher scale:

  • 650,000 people were under arrest.
  • 1,683,000 people were blacklisted.
  • 230,000 people were tried in 210,000 lawsuits.
  • 7,000 people were recommended for the death penalty.
  • 517 persons were sentenced to death.

The military in 1980 brutally revolutionize the society and pressed it into a strict Kemalist, secular frame. One can see the current counter coup as an attempt to correct, or even undo that revolution.
Compared to the military coup of 1980 the current action by the
Erdogan government is very tame. People in Turkey know this and have
little concern. “Western” liberal writers, influenced by Gülen elements in high regard
in their own societies, ignore that fact. I do not expect Erdogan to go
after the secular or nationalist opposition parties as long as these
are not under foreign influence. He has a comfortable majority and no
need to shun the democratic mantle. That would only harm his plans for
an Islamist, Ottoman Turkey and the further steps towards that.
Of interest now is the future development of Turkey’s foreign policy.
Electricity to the U.S./NATO base in Incirlik has today been restored
after it was stopped for a week without any sound reason. The warning
that this was is by now understood. If the U.S., or NATO, make too much
trouble they will be kicked out of Turkey. Before the coup Turkey
already renewed relations with Russia and Israel. Iran spoke out against
the coup while it was still ongoing and the plotters seemed to win.
That will give it some bonus points. Turkey pulled back the troops that
were illegally stationed in Iraq. All this points to some redirection fo
Turkish foreign policy from a solely “western” to a more Eurasian view.
The big question is Syria on which Russia demands that Turkey changes its position. What will Erdogan do with regard to it?
There are signs that he will change his policies there too. There are
already reports that Turkish intelligence agents in Syria are in
retreat. Turkey may well completely stop the support for the Jihadis and
close its borders. The Turkish point man on Syria so far was the
intelligence chief Hakan Fide. He was recruiting, supplying and
controlling the Jihadis and running the whole show. There are now signs that he will soon get fired. He will be made the fall guy for not detecting the coup early enough:

Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday that
deep-rooted changes will be made to the National Intelligence Agency of
Turkey (MİT).

“It is very clear that there were significant
gaps and deficiencies in our intelligence, there is no point trying to
hide it or deny it. I told it to the head of national intelligence,”
President Erdoğan told Reuters in an interview at the presidential
palace in Ankara.

Turkey’s biggest concern now are the Kurds who seem to have U.S. military support to unite and to organize into an independent state with huge petroleum reserves (pdf).
I expect Turkey to make nice with the governments in Tehran, Baghdad
and Damascus (with Russia as the grand power behind) to defeat the
common threat of an independent Kurdish state. The plan will be to
divide the Kurds into various factions and to instigate these to fight
each other. That is usually not difficult. It has worked “well” for
hundreds of years and always kept the Kurds from asserting a united
national state.
Neither Iran, nor Russia, nor Syria or Iraq will trust Turkey. They
will look for any small sign that it might fall back into a hostile
position and will be prepared
for treason. It will take years for Erdogan to regain good standing
with any of them. But he has to start somewhere. The foreign policy of
the last years has brought nothing but huge problems for Turkey. The
botched coup gives Erdogan the chance to completely change direction
and to it fast The U.S., NATO, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will attempt 
to undermine those changes. The current Erdogan bashing is part of that.
It will fail as it has no echo within Turkey.
Following Iranian advice Erdogan is keeping his people in the streets and plazas. The first attempt of the 1953 CIA coup in Iran on August 15 failed. Four days later another attempt succeeded. The danger for the Turkish democracy is not over.

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