Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Coup in Turkey. Perhaps not as disturbing as some would have it.

As most folks following the news know, an element of Turkey's armed forces attempted to overthrow the government yesterday.

One piece of news analysis I read stated:
The military action, the results of which are still unclear, took Turkey out of Europe and placed it squarely in the Middle East. It tore away the country's stability, replacing polarization with what could end up being outright civil war, whether the coup succeeds or not.
Oh bull.

In fact, the Turkish coup attempt actually reflects a long history in the country of the Army, not the civil government, being the backer of democratic secular government.  The army long distrusted civil authorities not to fall into dangerous factionalism.  It was the Army itself that brought about the downfall of the Ottoman caliphate and made Turkey a secular state.  In recent years the presidency of  Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist, was making many in the west nervous but also making some wonder how it was that the Turkish army was actually standing aside and not intervening.  Now some have tried.

Indeed the real danger, which the article above did acknowledge, is that the Erdogan reaction to the coup may actually make it a real Middle Eastern nation.  Endrogan has been problematic all along as it stands counter to Turkey's secular traditions and always scared people into wondering if he might try to make Turkey into a more Islamic state.  Some of his backers are now blaming Fethullah Gülen, a moderate Sunni mullah, for inspiring the coup. This seems to be without backing, but its is worrisome as Gülen is truly a religious moderate of the type that Westerners always hope will inspire moderation in the Islamic world. That Erdogan backers would blame him is distressing as it brings one Islamic group, one in power, into contest with another which is more moderate.

Turkey is under a lot of stress right now, to say the least.  That some in the army attempted to rise up isn't that surprising.  The Turkish army has overthrown the government quite a few times before.  That the coup failed is also a good thing, as is the fact that the entire Turkish military didn't join in.  It shows that Turkey may have truly matured into a modern democracy. . . depending upon what its reaction to this event is.

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