Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Failed Coup Is an Opportunity for Turkish President Erdogan - Wall Street Journal‎

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political life has been shaped by coups for four decades, during which he lost comrades to political violence in the 1970s, saw his party banned after the 1980 military takeover, and was ousted from public office in 1997 because of his Islamist politics.

But Friday’s failed putsch could prove the most consequential for Turkey—handing the longtime leader a mandate to further concentrate his power and overhaul the last of the U.S. ally’s secular-dominated institutions.

The polarizing yet widely popular Turkish president has long preached his desire to anchor the North Atlantic Treaty Organization member not in Western values but in its Ottoman history and Islamic traditions—a vision Mr. Erdogan calls New Turkey.

Now, having vanquished the coup that the government said killed 104 coup plotters and 190 others, Mr. Erdogan is launching a widespread crackdown that critics and Western allies fear could go beyond the perpetrators to bulldoze the remaining legislative checks on his authority.

“This coup is a gift from God,” a defiant Mr. Erdogan said as he emerged at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport early Saturday to greet thousands of supporters. ”It will allow us to cleanse the military.”

The language was stark—framing the coup’s failure as a victory for political Islam and a pretext for a dramatic overhaul of Turkey’s most revered institution. 

“This will be the most extensive case ever seen in Turkey’s history,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Sunday.

To be sure, the coup attempt revealed the threats to Mr. Erdogan from inside Turkish institutions, and his government said it would not seek revenge, but punish plotters in accordance with the law. Still, the president and his prime minister have called for the death penalty, which his government fully abolished in 2004, to be reinstituted without delay.

“Erdogan’s countersecularist revolution has been done in small installments for a long time, but we may now be on the eve of a much deeper and quicker change,” said Marc Pierini, a former European Union ambassador to Turkey now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “This is a new phase in his leadership, and it looks like it will be bad for Turkey’s democracy.”

Turkey’s Western allies denounced the coup attempt over the weekend, but voiced concern as the sweeping clampdown got under way.

Just hours after the putsch began, Obama administration officials expressed alarm, with U.S. sending private messages to their Turkish counterparts, urging them to show restraint in their response to the putsch and to abide by the rule of law.  In Paris, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the Turkish president didn’t have a blank check to purge political enemies. - Read More 

Failed Coup Is an Opportunity for Turkish President Erdogan - WSJ

Turkish President Foiled Coup With Luck, Tech Savvy


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