Turkey: Now the clampdown. Just what Erdogan wanted

christopher_lee180-11

Christopher Lee

16 July 2016, New York. A group of Turkish soldiers attempted to take over Turkey during the past 24 hours. Close on 200 people have been killed.  Others may die of their wounds. More than 1,500 plotters have been arrested.

Doctors in Freedom from Torture were warning of something like this earlier this year. There has been every sign of military rebellion and every indication of the consequence.

Some have suggested that the coup was controlled by government to allow it to sweep the country for other plotters in order to legitimise a new harsh line on political opponents.

The glorious triumph of the President’s return certainly gives an impression that the whole affair was stage managed.  Interesting that unarmed civilian government supporters against armed troops and it was all over in hours.

The severity of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s clampdown is so predictable that some might even think the military played into his hands – or worse.

However, what few understand is the military would claim it their legislated duty to stage a take over.

The Turkish military has the constitutional right to mount a coup – in time of internal tension. It has the right to hold the balance of power until such time that internal unrest is restored.

The Turkish military has history of claiming that right.

In 1960 Adnan Menderes the Prime Minister could not control the country.  The famous “colonels” commanded by Alparslan Turkes staged a coup d’etat Menderes wanted to discard reforms that would Westernise Turkey. The colonels executed the Prime Minister on 17 September 1960 and ruled until the following year.

Ten years later, Turkey under Prime Minister Salesman Demirel was in grave economic difficulties again. A series of moves including martial law under a civilian-military Cabinet and eleven different Prime Ministers failed to restore economic dignity to Turkey nor curb the corruption of the military. Thousands died.

In 1980 the military took over again with no great success other than increased corruption on their part. In 1997, through a threat from the colonels the Islamic Welfare Party-controlled government (now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a member) was shut down.

Just three years ago 300 military were accused of plotting to remove Erdogan.

Could the colonels have even guessed they would be successful? If so, they would have needed bigger support from the rest of the army. There’s another aspect of this.

Just as the Shah of Persia always feared the mysterious figure of the Grand Ayatollah exiled in Paris – and as it turned out, rightly so – President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long feared the American self-exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen.  The Turkish president believes Gulen encourages unrest and even rebellion.  Gulen says no.  The Iran/Persian example is too good and too recent not to be paranoid about.

Whatever the conspiracies, it is now certain that the Turkish leader will run a massive security sweep and with it will come as organisation such as Freedom from Torture @freedomfromturture) have a regime of torture and literally, political terror.  That any leader in that country with that history as outline above will fully understand and even reluctantly make happen.

It might be remembered that Turkey is a NATO member.  The practice of political and social government in that country is by and large totally unacceptable within the Alliance. Moreover, because of the regional refugee crisis many European states have suggested that Turkey’s challenge to be admitted as a member of the EU could be speeded up. Watch what happens after what appears to have been this weekend’s fiasco.

The Turkish government response would only advance the case for never allow Turkey even candidate EU membership under its present leadership and way of government.

 

 

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