2016 July 17 Sunday
Turkey: Incompetent Coup Speeds Erdogan's Power Concentration

Edward Luttwak, who literally wrote the book on Coup d’États. points out the incompetence of Turkey's coup leaders: Why Turkey’s Coup d’État Failed And why Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s craven excesses made it so inevitable.

But perhaps that scarcely mattered because they had already violated Rule No. 1, which is to seize the head of the government before doing anything else, or at least to kill him.

The country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was left free to call out his followers to resist the attempted military coup, first by iPhone and then in something resembling a televised press conference at Istanbul’s airport.

Idiots. Read Luttwak's full take on Erdogan. It is devastating.

Erdogan's Turkey is already headed in a bad direction. Turkey is in 9th place for ratio of jailed journalists to total population. All those journalists sitting in jail have got to be thinking they've missed out on a great reporting opportunity. But perhaps they'll get to interview some coup leaders in jail.

Andrew Finkel argues Turkey was already undergoing a slow-motion coup – by Erdoğan, not the army. This is true. Erdogan is now speeding up this process, imprisoning thousands of judges, prosecutors, and others who are opposed to his rule.

The Gulenists are going down. Not sure if they are better or worse than Erdogan. My guess is they are better because they were holding power more diffusely. Now it is getting concentrated. Turkey is becoming more Islamic both because Erdogan is concentrating power and because the Muslims are making more babies than the secularists. The secularists are clearly big losers. The Kurds too and other non-Turkish minorities.

Will recent events cause Angela Merkel to think twice about letting Turkey into the EU? She seems immune from learning she's made mistakes and so I do not expect she'll alter course.

Turkey should serve as a reminder that liberal universalism is a delusional fantasy. Some countries and some parts of other countries are an unavoidable tragedy.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2016 July 17 12:41 PM 

MAO said at July 18, 2016 12:58 AM:

". . . cause Angela Merkel to think twice about letting Turkey into the EU?" Two things: 1) Where do you get that Angela Merkel wants Turkey in the EU? There is no indication of that which I have ever come across at all. In any event: 2) It's not up to her. Indeed, the key fact is that the admission of any new member-state requires unanimous approval of all existing member-states - that is, ANY present EU member-state can veto it. Cyprus would be first in line to veto such a thing (unless an agreement can be reached to the (Greek) Cyprus government's satisfaction to reunite the island); Austria and France have also made clear in the past they would veto it. Admittedly, for France that was when Sarkozy was president - but, under pressure from the Front National, you would think virtually any French administration would still do so.

That is the dirty little secret for any talk about Turkey joining the EU - that is, it will surely be vetoed and come to nothing. Yes, the recent EU-Turkey agreement on refugees had as a condition resuming the process of Turkish accession, and negotiations were taken up again at the end of last month in Brussels on the "financial chapter" of the so-called "acquis communitaire" body of laws Turkey has to accept even to qualify as a candidate - but it will never go anywhere in the end, as membership will be vetoed. (It's also likely that taking up some of these mandatory EU standards is a good thing - i.e. modernization - for Turkey whether it becomes a member or not.) Indeed, rather than any signs Germany particularly wants Turkish membership, there have instead been continual indications from the Turkish government (well before Friday's attempted coup) that maybe they are not so keen to join after all.

Black Death said at July 18, 2016 7:56 AM:

Luttwak's insights are always valuable. I especially liked this:

Richly ironic, too, was the prompt and total support of U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the European Union’s hapless would-be foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, in the name of “democracy.” Erdogan has been doing everything possible to dismantle Turkey’s fragile democracy: from ordering the arrest of journalists who criticized him, including the outright seizure and closure of the country’s largest newspaper, Zaman, to the very exercise of presidential power, since Turkey is not a presidential republic like the United States or France, but rather a parliamentary republic like Germany or Italy, with a mostly ceremonial president and the real power left to the prime minister.


Luttwak makes it all seem so easy, but the putschists really did not appear very competent. In the past, Turkey was held up by Western globalists as an example that a mostly Islamic country could indeed still become a modern secular democracy. Today, not so much anymore.

Brett Bellmore said at July 23, 2016 5:06 PM:

In all likelihood they failed, because they were meant to fail. It's looking more and more like his Reichstag fire, he had made extensive preparations for exactly what to do.

He knew it was coming, right down to the hour.

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