Chickening out of a Coup?

(Inter)National Nitpickery

Curious about world news, events or the occasional Australian political blunder? Every edition, we’ll be deconstructing politics and topical events from the outside world, poking the shitty bits with a nice long stick and commenting on its tangy smell. Perhaps we’ll find a nugget of golden wisdom lurking within?

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Those of you Stalkerspace-ers who love House of Cards are gonna be all over this one; but even if you aren’t you should tune in because shit just went down down in Turkey. Seriously, Trump’s got nothing on the president (cough) dictator (cough) Erdogan.

So first, let’s get everyone up to speed on who this Erdogan guy is. Erdogan first came to power in the 90s as Mayor of Istanbul, but served a bit of prison time for reciting an Islamist poem at a rally in 99’. In the early 2000s, he disbanded his Islamist political party and founded the AKP – a supposedly mainstream conservative-liberal party. The AKP have held majority government in Turkey since 2002, and according to many Turkish citizens, slowly but steadily regressed back towards an authoritarian wannabe-Islamist regime. Some notable indications of this regression include; Erdogan’s boisterous disapproval of equal rights for women, open support of Islamist rebels in the Syrian civil war and the alleged funding of ISIS, systematic control of the Turkish media, and frequent overuse of police forces against public protests… But that’s just barely scratching the surface.

Just a week ago, the country finally reached breaking point, and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) attempted a coup d’etat to remove Erdogan from power. Over the course of around 24 hours, parts of the TSK mobilized ground, air and navy forces to take Turkish parliament… and miserably failed. Without larger support from the public and military, anti-government forces were quickly forced to surrender. During the coup, however, Erdogan ordered Turkish citizens to go out into the streets fight the rebelling soldiers, resulting in over 265 civilian casualties and leaving over 1.5k+ injured. The following day, Erdogan had thousands of soldiers, over 2700 judges and many more public officials arrested, and directed the blame for the coup onto his primary political rival, Fetullah Gulen, who has been “chilling” (read: self-imposed political exile) over in the US.

At face value, the coup may appear to simply be a result of long term civil unrest. Considering the circumstances surrounding the coup, however, it begins to look mighty suspicious. Since the failed coup, over 50,000 state employees in total have been sacked or suspended – so with the overwhelming majority of anti-government military and public officials now in custody, Erdogan’s government seems to have come out of the whole mess quite a lot better for it.

Can we also take a moment to appreciate that Erdogan himself was ever so conveniently on holiday outside the country before it all started? Note that coups normally succeed by taking the country’s leader hostage nigh-on-immediately, which explicitly wasn’t possible in this instance. Excuse me while I go fetch my tin-foil hat.

This isn’t, however, a far flung conspiracy. In light of extremely recent political moves by Erdogan, many are now beginning to fear that the whole coup was indeed staged by him to weed out his enemies. It certainly makes sense, since now Erdogan is in a significantly more powerful position that will enable to fully transform Turkey from a democracy into an authoritarian theocracy. By declaring a national state of emergency, Turkish government is now moving forward with “temporarily” suspending the European Convention for Human Rights. Take a moment to reread that sentence. Yeah – Turkey is temporarily suspending human rights. Furthermore, recent changes to Turkish parliament allows Erdogan to pass bills without majority support during a national emergency; so these two factors combined would essentially allow him to do whatever the hell he wants for the next 3 months, which happens to include implementing fully-fledged Sharia law, and bringing back the death penalty. Oh, and look at all these state prisoners they have!

With all these actions pointing towards, at the very least, an extremely exploited situation by Erdogan to purge his detractors, NATO is now strongly considering expelling Turkey from the alliance. By comparison, North Korea is looking kind of pleasant nowadays.

With all these facts in mind, it’s almost certain that Turkey did not just chicken out of a coup; but rather the whole ordeal was a well-orchestrated political move by Erdogan and Co, solely for the purpose of taking out the trash and giving him even more power than he already had. Watch Turkey closely, friends, because we have a Hitler-wannabe behind the reins.