TEHRAN (Basirat)- The main reason behind the coup on one hand goes back to Turkish President RecepTayyib Erdogan’s use of power inside the country and on another hand it is related to his attempts to cleanse army of secular leaders in recent years.
The main reason behind the coup on one hand goes back to Turkish
President RecepTayyib Erdogan’s use of power inside the country and on
another hand it is related to his attempts to cleanse army of secular
leaders in recent years. By Dr. Shoaib Bahman Turkey has been grappling with different problems and challenges during the past years. Issues like religious and ethnic minorities, Kurdish separatism, confrontation with the Gulen movement, terrorist attacks, economic instability, and tensions with neighboring countries are among Turkey’s major problems and challenges. Few would have imagined that Turkey would experience another military coup after leaving behind eras of instability.
The main reason behind the coup on one hand goes back to Turkish President RecepTayyib Erdogan’s use of power inside the country and on another hand it is related to his attempts to cleanse army of secular leaders in recent years.
Scenarios; Reasons behind Turkey Coup Attempt
The first scenario is based on this theory that Erdogan orchestrated the coup as a dog-and-pony show to boost his approval rating inside the country, repress political dissidents, and purge army, intelligence, security and judiciary centers.
Erdogan’s similar measures against the voices of dissent in the past years, particularly during Turkey's legislative election in 2015, reinforce the scenario of crackdown on political opponents. In that election,Erdogan created managerial and artificial chaos in the country.
Then, he made use of the instability and helped the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) find its way to the parliament with securing the majority of votes. Ankara’s previous experience about potential consequences of a similar scenario for the government reduces the possibility of Erdogan and his followers’ role in the coup. Also, such incidents which are accompanied with insecurity and instability show a government’s efficiency in restoration of security.
Additionally, deaths and injuries of tens of people and military forces will not bring about pleasant consequences. Similarly, negative impacts of such acts will affect Turkey’s economy and therefore reduce the probability that Erdogan was behind the failed coup. Insecurity in large cities like Istanbul and Ankara can have a further negative impact on Turkey’s economy and also halt tourism and foreign investment.
Consequently, the Turkish government’s role in fabricating such a coup is minor here.
The second scenario says that Erdogan’s political opposition figures, on top of them US-based Fethullah Gülen, directed the coup. Raised by the Turkish government, this scenario has its strengths and weaknesses.
One of the reasons that make such a scenario probable is confrontation of movements of Gulen and Erdogan in recent years. In addition, Gulen movement’s coalition with Turkey’s seculars in presidential and parliamentary elections increases this probability that Gulen and some members of the army along with the country’s judges had prepared the ground for the coup.
However, this scenario has its own challenges. The first is that social body of Gulen movement’s backers is mainly made up of religious people. This is while that the army is mostly composed of seculars. Also, the Alawite minority makes up part of the Turkish army whose ideologies stand in contrast to Gulen’s. Therefore, the possibility of formation of a coalition between religious people affiliated to Gulen with seculars and Alawites is weak.
And another fact is that Gulen per se does not have so much influence on Turkish militaries in order to be able to convince them for a coup.
Therefore, it seems that the Turkish government’s attempt to blame Gulen and his Hizmet movement for the coup is more likely in line with Erdogan’s efforts to repress his opponents. Additionally, from Erdogan and his followers’ perspective Hizmet is the only Islamic movement which can replace AKP in the future.
Thus, Erdogan sees the Gulen movement as an important and influential political rival which can attract the public both politically and religiously in the long run, using the Islamic concepts and patterns.
The third scenario says that part of the Turkish military which has deep dependence on the US plotted the coup due to not being satisfied with Ankara’s new foreign policy toward the Middle East.
Gradual change in Turkish foreign policy toward Syria and its contrast with US interests as well as normalization of relations with Russia can be deemed two main reasons which encouraged the White House to plot the coup and topple Erdogan.
However, this scenario has also its own challenges because, strategically speaking, Turkey is located in the circle of backers of US policies both in the region and abroad. Moreover, Turkey is a NATO’s member state and insecurity inside Turkey can create new challenges for the military alliance.
The fourth scenario which is the most likely one is that part of the military dissatisfied with Erdogan’s policies and his government had planned the coup. For instance, making laws Islamic and moving toward a presidential system are two important factors which could push the army for the coup. Besides, the army considers itself as guardian of the Constitution and the principle of Laïcitédominant in the country since Ataturk rule.
Also, Ankara’s foreign and regional policy could be another reason behind army’s attempt for a coup because the opposition believes that Erdogan’s wrong strategic policies have involved Turkey in the ongoing regional crises and has increased the its military spending, undermined its military capability and had a spillover effect on Turkey in a way that insecurity, instability and terror acts inside the country are direct results of Erdogan’s wrong policies.
As a result, the above-mentioned issues show that the Turkish army and militaries had compelling reasons for planning a coup because they, as guardian of the Constitution, saw their country exposed to a serious danger due to Erdogan’s wrong policies. Therefore, they decided to interfere in political affairs one more time and safeguard their country against potential threats.
Undoubtedly, Turkey’s political atmosphere from now on will be divided into pre-coup and post-coup atmosphere as the failed coup will have great effects on the its political, social and economic situation. It seems that Ankara will take the following steps to stop the recurrence of such incidents:
1. Extensive cleansing of the army
2. Imposing sentences for high-ranking militaries
3. Judiciary centers’ clean-up and widespread removal of judges
4. Mounting pressure on political opponent parties
5. Limiting activities of civil society organizations
6. Imposing restrictions on media activities
7. Giving Erdogan sweeping powers as a president
8. Repression of political opponents and undermining of opposition parties
17. Making reforms to the Constitution
The above-mentioned ramifications will give Erdogan sweeping powers inside the country. He can also now pursue his goals at the foreign level without any serious criticism from the opposition. Therefore, although Erdogan had no role in the coup but he will exploit its repercussions very well for his purposes.