* Who … whom? A false flag? Yes!
It wasn’t a successful coup. Indeed, it was the “keystone cops” at play. Consider:
1. Most coups (and certainly most Turkish coups) take place early in the morning when the plotters generally know the whereabouts of the leadership they are targeting (they are home in bed or having morning coffee), the TV stations and other communication nodes are minimally manned and protected, and opposition forces are not assembled much less deployed. THIS COUP occurred Friday evening when friendly police and military forces were on station and just in time for Erdogan to call his mobs into the streets to protest.
2. The senior leadership of the Turkish military were not involved in the coup. Historically, the senior leadership led the coups. Indeed, the coup leadership has historically vetted their actions with the CIA before acting to insure US support.
3. Erdogan says that the coup plotters missed him at his vacation resort by 30 minutes. In a decently lead coup, Erdogan would have been the first target.
4. Even with the alleged coup plotters having F-16 armed fighters airborne to attack the government, Erdogan arrogantly had his private jet fly him (with transponder on) to and land at Istanbul airport that was allegedly closed and under the control of the rebels. If he had not known the outcome beforehand, it would have been foolish for Erdogan to take to the skies, announce his route, and then land in rebel controlled territory. Or, this scenario might, from Erdogan’s perspective, have been calculated to enhance his image as the Big Man … brave and without fear. Indeed, two rebel F-16s were said to have shadowed Erdogan’s plane. Why didn’t they shoot? Who knows. In a real coup, they would have shot Erdogan’s plane down to secure the coup in this one action.
5. The failed coup was a pretext for Erdogan to purge all of his political opponents and their supporters. The purge is so massive that the lists and the purge had to have been preplanned. Erdogan and his supporters now have a free hand to loot Turkey in a massive transfer of wealth and power to Erdogan and his loyal cronies.
6. Erdogan has voiced that there can be no limits on his power nor any opposition to his regime because (his version of democracy) there is no such thing as a loyal opposition. Once the people have spoken, he is President for Life. Anyone opposing the will of the people or criticizing his sacred person are by definition against the people … traitors and terrorists … and they will be dealt with accordingly. Thousands upon thousands of traitors out there that have to be dealt with.
My take is that Erdogan is a narcissistic sociopath, but not a very bright one at that. He can’t even pull off a decent false flag operation because he cannot resist the temptation to have his fingerprints all over it. “See, I can run the country and launch a coup against myself … all at the same time. What power! I can save myself from myself and I hope everybody notices.”
* During that same silly FaceTime phone call with the TV reporter, however, he calmly told supporters to take to the streets and he would be landing shortly in either Ankara or Istanbul. Guess what? He did! That’s truly an accurate and bizarre call to make (pun intended) in the middle of a true coup. As a non-Turkish observer, that seemed off to me. Every action taken since Saturday further points to Erdogan staging the whole thing.
While he has gutted as much as possible Kemalists/secularists from the military, putting his people (and, yes, in the past some Gulenists as well) in higher-ranking positions, there are still a few secularists and perhaps they were sincerely following orders to go through with what they thought was a real coup. That’s the only part that looks real here.
If that whodunnit chart were to be broken up by who respondents politically support, we would likely see all that those blaming Gulen are Erdogan/AKP supporters, and those saying Erdogan staged the coup attempt are Kemalists/CHP supporters. The later have groaned about Gulen for years, but since the break with Erdogan, these CHP supporters are far more concerned with Erdogan.
Now it’s only Erdogan supporters who give a damn about Gulen, and how convenient now that with this “Gulen coup” they can remind John Kerry that Erdogan was, after all, democratically elected and hey since you like democracy so much and Gulen is undermining it, you’ll be contradicting yourself if you don’t hand him over…
I personally won’t lose much sleep over Gulen being wrongfully extradited, but it would be a clear injustice.
* The Turks are, of course, inherently prone to conspiracy theorising. My former girlfriend’s husband (both are Turks) believes that this was a conspiracy in which Erdogan, Gulen and the CIA were together!
On a more serious note, there are some serious problems with the Turkish Government’s version of events. Erdogan gave a TV interview in Istanbul about one hour before the coup’s soldiers started rappelling down their ropes into the Marmaris Hotel where he was supposedly staying. The fact that he wasn’t there was already public knowledge.
All I can say is that the law of unintended consequences applies here and that needs to be carefully considered. I personally doubt very much that Erdogan himself believes too deeply in the Islamist stuff. He is utterly corrupt as hell, loves money and his sons have pilfered billions from various sectors of the economy (including tourism). If Erdogan were to impose an Islamist state as one sees in other parts of the Middle East, the gravy train would come to a grinding halt and most of his property in Turkey will be of diminished value.
But here is the problem: Islam is like a genie in a bottle. There is a reason Ataturk created this secular regime and empowered the military to forcefully remove governments that did not adhere strictly to secular principles. Ataturk KNEW that the dangers of clerics is ever present in a society with a Muslim population exceeding 90 per cent. Once Erdogan has removed the Kemalist establishment and imprisoned/destroyed/executed it, the last effective checks on the more militant and “purist” Islamists will be removed. When some clerics start demanding imposition of Sharia law, how is he going to resist that? He might succeed in the short term but by waging a war on the secular establishment, he has already handed all the cards to the hard-core Islamists.
Where does this end? If you want to know, read about General Zia and Pakistan and see what it has become. I have never been to Pakistan but I have numerous friends who have. And I have spent plenty of time in Turkey. For all its faults, Turkey is a prosperous middle income country. if the clerics become ascendant, it is a matter of time before it turns into Pakistan.