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Turkey: A coup that does not seem a coup

Posted on Posted in Analyses, Balkans & East Med, EU & NATO, Intelligence and Security, International Developments, Middle East, Strategy & Defence

By Giovanni Giacalone, Analyst KEDISA

The coup against Erdogan and his Islamist entourage did not succeed and its outcome could not have been any different from what we have seen. In fact it seemed more like a big joke, rather than a serious coup attempt; a prank that would have amused “golpistas profesionales” such as Jorge Videla, Augusto Pinochet and Alencar Castelo Branco.
An uncoordinated operation with obvious lack of precise plans, with soldiers that clearly showed that they had no idea of what they were doing (they even admitted that they thought it was some sort of military exercise).
Putting aside ethical issues, let’s examine a few points that just do not make this coup attempt seem genuine:
1- Who would be so naïve to attempt a coup, in mid-July, on a Friday evening? Coups usually take place at night or early morning and rarely on weekends.
2- Strangely enough, Erdogan was left free to fly over Turkish airspace the whole time, releasing statements and calling his Islamist supporters on the street. Any serious “golpista” would immediately neutralize the heads of State, it’s the basic of any coup. A major amateur mistake.
3- The three main corps of the armed forces, Army, Navy and Airforce, must unify in the objective of succeeding with the coup and this did not occur on Friday night. The Navy immediately contracted out; the first line of the Army did the exact same thing while Airforce planes and helicopters were shooting at each other.
4- The Army was totally uncoordinated, they did not have the determination and the resolution to contrast Erdogan’s supporters and it make sense if we believe the version exposed by the soldiers: “we thought it was just a military drill”. If we go back in history and examine the coups in Chile (1973) and Argentina (1976) we will realize how the armies had a totally different approach.
5- A coup’s main phase must end in a couple of hours, otherwise it is not a coup; it loses in effectiveness as hours prolong.

It is also funny to see how Erdogan escaped and called on his supporters to help him, while he was safe and away and while Muslim Brotherhood muezzin were calling AKP hooligans on the street. Again, strangely enough he was still in Turkish airspace and according to report his vacation home was bombed but nobody attempted to shoot down his plane.
After the coup’s failure, Erdogan’s loyalists immediately began to mass unarmed soldiers inside stadiums in a scene that paradoxically recalled what Pinochet’s troops did to opponents in 1973. Other unharmed soldiers were severely beaten by Islamists yelling “allahu akbar” and one of them was apparently beheaded. All in the name of “democracy restoration” of course. Democratic advocates that are actually more violent than the golpistas? Sounds like a joke, but it’s not.
It is seriously embarrassing how the United States and the European Union backed a “restoration of democracy” in favor of a political entourage that has absolutely nothing of democratic. This is obvious, in front of everyone’s eyes and undeniable.
An Islamist Turkey that persecutes journalists, academics, political opponents, a Turkey that arms Jihadists, that nurses ISIS leaders in its own hospitals is unacceptable. The beheading is just the latest documented atrocity but the fear is that we will see many more soon. Erdogan immediately took advantage of the situation and began to get rid of all other opponents, such as judges and disloyal army members. One thing is for sure, the only one who benefited from this “sceneggiata” is Erdogan.
A situation that recalls some third world based unrest, but unfortunately we are talking about a NATO member that is also trying to join the EU.
Washington and Brussels will now need to take clear and unambiguous position and they will also have to properly justify them. The point of no return has been crossed and now no ambiguities are allowed. Either white or black.