Turkey: Coup Has Failed, Erdogan More Powerful Than Ever
The general feeling in Izmir -- a city with 3 million inhabitants who are generally not pro-Erdogan at all -- is that it was a real coup attempt, but that the officers behind it were incredibly amateurish. Friends on the streets and cafés are literally telling me:
It was a real attempt, but they were stupid.
Shortly after the attempted coup, Erdogan and Yildirim immediately blamed a disgraced Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania. Gulen and Erdogan were longtime allies who shared a dream of Islamizing Turkey but had a falling out several years ago. Ever since, Erdogan has blamed Gulen for pretty much every problem in Turkey, including a major controversy about cabinet members (including Erdogan and his family) possibly stealing millions of dollars. In the years after, Gulen became Erdogan's enemy number one, which is undoubtedly why he's being blamed for yesterday's coup.
Proof that Gulen is indeed behind it hasn't been presented, however. In fact, the Gulen group denies any involvement. You could imagine that, if they did support it, they'd call on their followers to support the takeover. They did no such thing.
The same goes for the leaders of Turkey's official opposition parties. The secular CHP and the nationalist MHP aligned with the AKP to condemn the coup. Some in the West have expressed shock at that: if they're opposed to Erdogan, why didn't they support the coup? The answer is, of course, that Turkey has had two military takeovers in the recent past (1960s and 1980s): both were very bloody and absolutely horrendous, not just for the ousted governments, but also for the average Turk. People weren't allowed to leave their homes, not even to buy food and drinks, and many innocent civilians were rounded up by the military. Once in prison, many of them either died or were severely tortured.
It's not very strange that even the country's opposition parties don't wish a repeat of that. No person in his right mind would.
When the coup was still going on, one Twitter user tweeted this:
This coup attempt, whether it succeeded or failed, ensured Turkey would be more autocratic moving forward.
— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) July 16, 2016
I'm afraid that Yousef was, and is, right. If the military would've succeeded, Turkey would now be a military dictatorship. Regardless of where you stand on Erdogan, that would've meant major changes for the Turkish people. A lockdown would've been put in place, people would've been imprisoned in their own homes. In fact, I went out at 2 a.m. to a local market to buy as much food, milk, eggs, and so on as I could. I did this because, in past coups, people had to stay indoors for many days. Some people who couldn't take care of themselves actually died from hunger, or so I've been told by Turks. After that first phase, the military always rounded up all those they thought were loyal to the former government. Mass imprisonments, torture and killings were everyday events.