Norman Bailey: a military coup in Turkey?
As David points out, Erdogan’s external problems are increasing rapidly. His domestic problems are increasing even faster and are likely to be even more damaging. He has systematically alienated a very large percentage of the population of Turkey: Kemalists, Kurds, Alevis and Gulenists. In all, perhaps sixty or so percent of the population. Next month’s elections are likely to be curiously irrelevant in the contex of the ongoing meltdown of the Turkish polity. Unlike most analysts, however, I do not see the most likely outcome as either a failed state or increasing authoritarian control by the governing party. I think the most likely scenario will be a military takeover when things reach the appropriate moment of impending disintegration. The Kemalists would enthusiastically support such a coup. If the military were sufficiently intelligent, they would mollify the Alevis and Gulenists; not that difficult. The touchiest situation would be with the Kurds, who might well try to take advantage of such a coup by declaring separation from the rest of Turkey, which the army would have to violently oppose. If the Kurds were to resist that temptation, however, I see no reason why the army would not also make a deal with Ocalan, releasing him from prison and offering an extensive autonomy for his people, in return for helping Turkey control its southern border.
The Obama administration could be counted on to miss yet another opportunity to do the right thing and condemn the coup as “anti-democratic” (see Egypt), but just about everyone else, except possibly Iran, would welcome such a development.
Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox