As fake evidence now gets sorted out from the real stuff considerable evidence emerges that the coup in Turkey was either completely staged or at least a controlled provocation as a prelude to large, well planned purges.
While some junior officers involved in the coup may have believe that it was for real, Erdogan and his power apparatus knew that the coup was coming and had everything under control. One wonders how those juniors were deceived and what provoked them into their hasty, amateurish, hapless attempt. Did some allegedly upcoming investigation spook them?
Erdogan admitted today an TV that he knew the coup was coming:
9:34am 18 Jul 2016 Borzou Daragahi @borzou
Turkey official: “Gulenists in military under investigation for some time. Group acted out of emergency when realized under investigation”
These “Gülenist” were more likely those nationalist Kemalist seculars which the New York Times now labels ”extreme”.
That the coup was expected explains why Erdogan left his vacation hotel in Marmaris hours before soldiers showed up to arrest him:
9:12 PM – 15 Jul 2016 (((Garrett Khoury))) @KhouryGarrett#Turkey: Erdogan confirms coup forces surrounded his hotel in Marmaris…4 hours after he had left. That’s a special sort of ineptitude.
It also explains why two F-16 fighter jets, allegedly part of the coup, had Erdogan’s plane in sight but did not take it down:
“At least two F-16s harassed Erdogan’s plane while it was in the air and en route to Istanbul. They locked their radars on his plane and on two other F-16s protecting him,” a former military officer with knowledge of the events told Reuters.”Why they didn’t fire is a mystery,” he said.
These pilots were not real partakers of the coup. They must have had orders not to shoot. Flight radar data showed Erodgan’s plane circling in a holding pattern south west of Istanbul for hours. It would have been very easy eliminate him.
From the same Reuters piece:
The former military officer said the coup plotters appeared to have launched their attempt prematurely because they realized they were under surveillance, something corroborated by other officials in Ankara.
Colonel Pat Lang, who for years worked as U.S. military intelligence official in Turkey, contacted old acquaintances:
I am assured by Turkish sources that Erdogan and senior officers he had appointed manipulated low level plotting to create a “coup” that could be defeated easily leading to his consolidation of power.
There is precedence for such a coup in Turkey’s history:
The Auspicious Incident (or Event) (Turkish: (in Istanbul) Vaka-i Hayriye “Fortunate Event”; (in Balkans) Vaka-i Şerriyye, “Unfortunate Incident”) was the forced disbandment of the centuries-old Janissary corps by Sultan Mahmud II on 15 June 1826. Most of the 135,000 Janissaries revolted against Mahmud II, and after the rebellion was suppressed, its leaders killed, and many members exiled or imprisoned, the Janissary corps was disbanded and replaced with a more modern military force.
Historians suggest that Mahmud II purposely incited the revolt and have described it as the sultan’s “coup against the Janissaries”.
This coup is Erdogan’s Reichstagsfire, the alleged torching of the German parliament building in February 1933 which was used by Hitler to purge communists and other enemies of his rule.
The stage-managed coup is now followed by a real one in which Erdogan takes down all presumed enemies.
Within hours after the coup against Erdogan 2,750 judges were relieved. Hundreds of judges, including supreme court judges selected by Erdogan’s AKP predecessor Gul, were imprisoned. Last night 7,899 police and 631 gendarme officers were relieved of duty and their weapons confiscated. 30 governors and 47 local governors have been suspended. The Higher Education Board announced an upcoming “cleaning” at schools and universities. Twenty independent Turkish news sites have been closed. Businessmen and bankers not in line with Erdogan are next. The lists used for these wide purges must have been prepared well ahead of the coup.
3,000 soldiers, conscripts ordered to take part in the coup but also many high officers were imprisoned. These include 103 generals and admirals, many of whom had not taken part in the coup but explicitly spoke out against it. More high officerswere relieved of duty. All major units of the Turkish military have lost some of their top commanders. Captured soldiers were humiliated by police special forces, the most loyal to Erdogan. They had to undress and were shown cowering on the ground. Pictures of these humiliations were widely distributed. This will break moral on all military levels!
The move against the military is reminiscent of Stalin’s purge of officers in the Soviet military in 1937-41. The Soviet military disaster in the Soviet-Finish winter war of 1939 and the incredibly high losses in the first years of the fight against the Germans and their allies were the result of these purges. The Turkish military, the second biggest of NATO, is now an empty hull and will no longer be able to launch any consistent, larger operation.
Erdogan has asked his followers to stay in the streets for a whole week to “defend the state”. The purges are not over.
One might argue that this coup and Erdogan’s purges, will give him independence in foreign policy and will allow him to move out of the U.S./NATO realm towards Russia, China and Iran. Erodgan’s people accuse the U.S. of being behind the coup. The threat of blocking Incirlik air base, the center of U.S. operations in Syria, against Russia’s southern flank and the main storage area for U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East, will cower Washington and prevent any outright “western” measures against him.
The Turkish state is now crippled. The experience and knowledge of all those people purged now is irreplaceable. Any unexpected event, military or civil, will be met with confused and disordered responses. Despite Erdogan’s current success hubris will take its toll and Erdogan’s triumph will soon be followed by a deep fall.
What are the real friends Turkey under Erdogan has left in the international field? Some toothless Muslim Brotherhood leaders and the dictators of Qatar are the only ones I can think of. Without international goodwill left anywhere Turkey’s economy will soon be in ever deeper trouble. The problem of radical Islamists, incited by Erdogan to fight against the Syrian people, will come back to bite Turkey. Erdogan may have believed that such radical forces are controllable. He will become another sorcerer’s apprentice to learn that they never are.
These extreme Jhadis Erdogan imported and supplied in Syria are also the reason why we all should be happy that thecoup did not by any chance succeed. Would Erdogan have been killed, civil war on the streets of Turkey would have been inevitable. Heavily armed Islamist would have attack the army and other government forces. Various ethnic and religious groups would be fighting each other. The war by radical proxies in neighboring Syria and Iraq would have come back home to Turkey just like the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan came home to Pakistan.
That still might happen. But the chances that some upcoming misstep by Erdogan will now lead to a less brutal change of power are now higher than before.