July 25, 2016

Another Revolt in Turkey: Reasons, Chronicle and Possible Implications

Oleksiy Volovych

A few days after the military coup in Turkey, in the expert community began the process of more in-depth study of what happened in that country on July 15-16, and the following days. In general, the failure of the coup is seen as a positive thing, thanks to which the constitutional order has been preserved in Turkey. But when the experts are trying to analyze — what will happen further in the future, how the suppression of the revolt will affect the development of the Turkish democracy and statehood, the uniquely positive and optimistic forecasts are very few. There is a great fear that Turkish President R. Erdogan is using the revolt as a carte blanche for reprisals against his ideological opponents to strengthen the authoritarian nature of the current Turkish government. Democracy in Turkey could have become a victim of the failed military coup. It is good that this did not happen. However, many analysts say that the Turkish administration's current repressive actions being made not only against the participants of the military coup, but also against thousands of Turkish citizens, in no way involved in it, indicate that in Turkey these days still there is the headed by President R. Erdogan coup. Let us try to understand the reasons and possible implications of the dramatic events in neighboring Turkey.

The Chronicle of Events

On the night of July 15-16, several units of the Turkish Army and Air Force made an unsuccessful attempt of a military coup, having taken control over strategically important objects in Ankara, Istanbul, Marmaris and Malatya. Part of the military took control of the international airports in Ankara and Istanbul, the building of the Parliament and ruling party in Ankara, and some other state institutions. From the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces the coupists announced the removal from power of the Turkish leadership. On the night of July 16, F-16 fighters repeatedly bombed the palace of the President of the country and the Parliament building.

On the night of July 16, the coupists stormed the hotel in the Turkish resort of Marmaris, where the President of Turkey was at the beginning of the coup. From three helicopters about 30 soldiers with the help of ropes landed onto the roof of the hotel. But R. Erdogan had left the hotel half an hour before the coupists' arrival, and that kept him alive.

Iran's Fars News Agency states that R. Erdogan had been repeatedly warned by Russia about the military coup being prepared a few hours before it started. This warning was based on data received from the Russian military staying in Syria's territory who had intercepted the air talks of conspirators discussing plans to send more military helicopters to the hotel in Marmaris, where R. Erdogan had been staying. However, personally I have great doubts about the veracity of this information.

On the night of July 16, the two bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul were blocked by the military. The putschists declared martial law and a curfew and arrested the Chief of the General Staff General Hulusi Akar, as well as the Navy Commander and Commander of the Turkish Air Force. According to Minister of Defence of Turkey Fikri Işik, later they were freed as a result of the special operation.

Under R. Erdogan's order, for some time was closed the airspace around the Incirlik military base, where Turkish and US Air Forces are based, using this base to strike the IS objects in Syria and Iraq. Soon, the Commander of the military base was arrested.

General Akin Öztürk in the centreAccording to Turkish authorities, the military coup in Turkey was organized by the intermediate-level officers of the Turkish Army — a few Generals and 50 officers. The Special Task Forces of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces and some other types of troops remained faithful to the legitimate authority, and that thwarted the military coup attempt. Within two hours after it began, it became clear that the plotters were condemned. And within 24 hours the military coup was completely suppressed. The Turkish Special Task Forces detained the alleged leader of the coup — the former Commander of the Turkish Air Force General Akin Öztürk.

The Police conducted mass arrests of plotters, though thousands of police officers were also arrested. Turkey's Interior Ministry announced the dismissal of five Generals and 29 Colonels suspected of involvement in the coup. July 16 about 3,000 ordinary putschists were arrested. Most of the soldiers surrendered without resistance. Some of them believed that they were participating in an anti-terrorism training.

As a result of a coup attempt, about 300 people were killed, including the military, police and civilians, and 1.5 thousand people were injured. It was reported that the participants of the coup attempt would soon be brought to court, and the country's Constitutional Council would consider introduction of the death penalty.

The Reasons for the Coup

The failed military coup in July 2016 had been preceded by Turkish citizens' mass protests against R. Erdogan's policy in June 2013. Then the demonstrations covered Ankara, Izmir and other cities across the country. Within three weeks in clashes with police four protesters and one policeman were killed, about five thousand people were injured and about two thousand people were arrested. From the very beginning of the events, R. Erdogan took a strong stand against the protesters, calling them looters, robbers and vandals. The vast majority of the protesters were young people, 20 to 30 years of age, representing different strata of the population, denominations and non-governmental organizations. They protested against “Erdogan's authoritarianism”, violation of democratic rights and freedoms in the country, and the “creeping Islamization”. The protests were suppressed, but the problems that had caused them, have got worse.

One reason for the attempted military coup in Turkey was Turkey's quite difficult internal and external situation. Until 2010, Turkey had been leading the so-called policy of “zero problems with neighbors”, whose author was former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. In May 2010, due to Turkey's sending the ship to Gaza, its relations with Israel got broken. Erdogan recently started to establish relations with Israel, but he is also sweet on Israel's enemies — the movement “Hamas”, associated with the Egyptian “Muslim Brothers”.

In 2011, Turkey supported B. Assad's opponents in Syria and “Muslim Brothers” in Egypt, which led to breaking relations with the ruling regimes in those countries. In 2015, the relationships with Russia, Iraq and Armenia became extremely strained. Turkey's relations with Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Iran remain complicated. So, soon the “zero problems with neighbors” policy had turned into “problems with all the neighbors” one. Obviously, for this reason, and also because of R. Erdogan's disagreements with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, on May 22, 2016 the latter vacated office.

Due to the above-mentioned foreign policy, Turkey has partly lost the traditional markets for its goods, unemployment has increased, including due to the presence in the country of 3 million Syrian refugees; as a result — competition in the labor market grew. R. Erdogan's intention to provide the refugees with Turkish citizenship was not supported in the Turkish society. The political situation has worsened because of the resumption in July 2015 of hostilities with Kurds, the IS terrorist attacks and restrictions on the opposition media in March 2016.

Opinion polls show that the Turkish society has split roughly equally into R. Erdogan's supporters and opponents. He is supported by religiously-conservative and nationalistically minded Turkish population. The opposition mainly consists of Kurds, radical left and Kemalists from the Republican People's Party of Turkey, which is second in the Parliament after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Who Is behind the Coup?

According to R. Erdogan, behind the coup are the supporters of the living in the USA for more than 17 years religious leader Fethullah Gülen, supported by the mid-level army officers, while the top leadership of the Armed Forces supports the President. F. Gülen denies any involvement in the coup attempt, and does not rule out that it was staged for the purpose of reprisals against opposition-minded military and civilian leaders. However, in our opinion, those “stagings” with so many victims are hardly possible. In addition, rather strange looks the accusation of the military coupists of the commitment to the teachings of a preacher F. Gülen, despite the fact that the Turkish army traditionally defends the secular principles of the Turkish society.

Note:

Fethullah Gülen, a well-known moderate Islamic preacher, was born in 1941 in the family of a Kurdish imam in a village near Erzurum in eastern Anatolia. At the age of 10, he learned the Koran by heart. He preached for the first time when he was 14, and at the age of 19, he became an imam. He has twice visited Mecca on pilgrimage. In 1959-1961, he served as the second imam at a mosque in Edirne in the far west of Turkey. From 1961 to 1962, he served in the army. In 1964, he was appointed an imam-khatib in Izmir. In 1966, he founded a religious movement “Hizmet” (“Service”). The main idea of this movement is a call for the establishment of Sharia in Turkey. F. Gülen's movement focuses on the traditional conservative form of Islam and promotes interfaith dialogue with Christians and Jews, and strongly condemns Islamist terrorism. After the military coup of 1980, F. Gülen was forced to leave the religion for six years. During the rule of President Turgut Özal, F. Gülen resumed his religious activities. However, after the military coup of 1997, he left for the United States, where he still lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. The American press calls him “one of the most influential intellectuals of the world”. F. Gülen is the author of 65 books and seven thousand articles; he has created 1200 schools in 140 countries around the world and Fatih University in Istanbul. F. Gülen has about 25 billion US dollars in annual profits from the giant business empire that includes more than 30 thousand companies in Europe and in the United States. He enjoys the American authorities' tolerant attitude. According to some Turkish analysts, F. Gülen's agreement to cooperate with the CIA determined the success of his organization. Professor of History at the University of Ankara Necip Hablemitoglu, who wrote a book about F. Gülen's links with the CIA, was killed in 2002 on the eve of its publication.

Fethullah GülenIn the 1990s, R. Erdoğan and F. Gülen maintained friendly relations, and F. Gülen initially supported the seeking power R. Erdogan, but over time, their views on governing the country have become too different. F. Gülen condemned Turkey's being involved in the civil war in Syria, the conflict with Israel, and the crackdown on demonstrators in Taksim Square in June 2013. Soon, the Turkish authorities accused F. Gülen of creation of a terrorist organization, the so-called “parallel state”, and issued a warrant for his arrest. In response to President R. Erdogan's request to the US Administration to give F. Gulen away to the Turkish authorities, or to expel him from the country, the Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States would to meet Turkey's demand if Ankara gives serious legal base. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim went further and promised that “any country that supports Gülen would not be Turkey's friend, but would be perceived as a state at war with Turkey.” As simple as that!

July 20, the US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Washington that among the materials provided by Ankara to Washington regarding the preacher F. Gülen on charges of his involvement in the attempted military coup in Turkey, the Americans did not see the documents required for extradition.

Immediately after the failed attempt of military coup, in Turkey in various media there began to appear conspiracy scenarios and versions on “who is behind the coup?” And “who benefits from it?” Taking into consideration the fact that R. Erdogan has not the best relationship with the US President B. Obama and that the majority of Turkish officers and generals had studied in the United States and can therefore be considered pro-American, the most widespread versions of the involvement of the US secret services in the preparation of the coup in Turkey.

The author of one of them is Captain First Rank Konstantin Sivkov — a Russian military and political analyst, President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems. Anyway, this analyst without doubting for a moment profoundly argues, “the attempt of a military coup in Turkey was organized with the consent and approval of the United States, forcing the Turkish President R. Erdogan to resort to rapprochement with Russia and China”. According to K. Sivkov, “the military coup attempt in Turkey showed R. Erdogan and the whole world that the United States can and is ready to apply the technology of hybrid wars not only to its opponents outside NATO, but also in the countries of the Alliance”. K. Sivkov also predicts, “Erdogan, knowing that Syria is Russia's ally, will soon start a rapprochement with Damascus”. According to him, “Turkish support to the IS will completely stop, as well as the confrontation with the Syrian forces, leading a war against terrorists”. The date of Turkey's exit from NATO and its joining the CSTO the “FSB's grant eater” K. Sivkov has not mentioned yet.

According to the Russian Turkologist A. Sotnichenko, the “military coup attempt coincided with the improvement of relations between Russia and Turkey, and it is tempting to think that the coup could have been sanctioned by the US secret services”. General Director of the Moscow “Institute of Political Studies” odious S. Markov has pointed out that “NATO leaders did not immediately condemn the coup attempt but waited sympathetically for the military to overthrow Erdogan. Turkey's relations with the West may deteriorate even more, while those with Russia will improve”. Obviously, referring to such insinuations, the US Secretary of State John Kerry in a conversation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu called the allegations about possible US involvement in the military coup attempt in Turkey “false and harmful to relations between the two countries”.

The Reasons for the Failure of the Coup

According to some reports, the head of the Turkish security services (MIT) Hakan Fidan in June 2016 received information about the preparation of the military coup, which was planned by the conspirators for early August after the meeting of the Supreme Military Council, scheduled for August 1. This possibly explains the fact that the list of potential participants in the coup had been made up by the Turkish secret services before it began. Most likely, having learnt that their plans had been disclosed and they could be arrested any minute, the putschists still decided to carry out a coup before the appointed time, that is in a hurry, without working out all the details of the coup plan, which led to its failure.

A group of soldiers of the Turkish army, composed of only a few thousand people (not many for the army, numbering about 600 thousand soldiers) tried to stage the coup. In other words, there is no reason to suggest that the idea of a coup was supported at least by one-third of the Turkish army. The participants of the coup in Istanbul and Ankara had not coordinated their actions in time and place. The plan of the coup had not been perfect. Each rebel group acted on its own risk, not fully realizing what and where other groups of the plotters were doing. It seems that they did not expect such a strong population's resistance and overestimated the discontent of the masses with the policy of the current Turkish government. President Erdogan had a great advantage — the pro-government media and even social networks. The coup did not receive support abroad. At least, so far the accuracy of the evidence on this issue has not been demonstrated by the Turkish authorities.

According to some information, the helicopter shot down on the night of July 16 in Ankara by F-16 fighter, was carrying the plotters' leadership. Having lost their leaders, ordinary rebels, hardly understanding what was happening, were doomed. Among the coupists, there was no credible leader able to lead the tens of thousands of soldiers. Besides, in that critical moment, Erdogan was supported, despite the differences with him, by such influential figures of Turkish politics, as the former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and a former president Abdullah Gul.

None of the political parties, including the Kurdish People's Democratic Party and the center-left Kemalist Republican People's Party, supported the military coup against the Turkish government. After the coup attempt had been successfully suppressed by the authorities, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, in his speech in Parliament, thanked all the political parties for their “unity and solidarity at this critical moment for Turkey”. He also stressed the important role played by ordinary citizens, who had resisted the coup.

Turks still have strong memories of the terrible repressions after the military coup of 1980 against activists, both right-wing and left-wing radical organizations, as well as moderate politicians.

Then 230 thousand people were imprisoned, 14 thousand were deprived of citizenship and 50 people were executed. Since then, the civil society in Turkey has made a great step forward in its development and does not agree to give the military the exclusive right to determine the future of the country under any circumstances whatsoever pretext.

R. Erdogan and the Turkish Army

The Turkish Army has always been a guarantor of the secular development of the Turkish state created in 1923 by its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The level of the Turkish society's confidence in the army ranges from 76 % to 91 %. Such a high rate of confidence in the army as a state institution can be found nowhere else in the world.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the Army quite often interfered with internal political processes in Turkey. Military coups took place in Turkey in 1960s, in 1971 and in 1980s. In 1997, the military removed from power Prime Minister and founder of the “political Islam” Necmettin Erbakan, who had a great influence on R. Erdogan. The last attempt of a military coup was neutralized by R. Erdogan's Government in 2003. Then about 300 senior officers were sentenced to various prison terms.

After the victory in the parliamentary elections in November 2002 of the created by R. Erdogan Justice and Development Party, and having become the Prime Minister in March 2003, he took some steps to reduce the interference of the military in the political life of the country. But it turned out that these steps were not enough or not effective. Moreover, in order to suppress the “Kurdish separatism”, R. Erdogan had to make a tactical situational alliance with the powerful “military elite” and to temporarily deviate from the previous course of ousting the military from political life in Turkey.

The covert and open confrontation between the generals and R. Erdogan has been observed almost throughout the whole period of his being in power as Prime Minister and then as the President of Turkey. After the 2008's the military's attempt to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party, R. Erdogan moved to an open struggle against the generals, the first attack against whom was the adoption of the law on considering criminal cases of military servicemen of the Turkish army in civil courts, which strengthened the control of civilian authorities over the Army.

The objective prerequisites for a military coup against the current Turkish authorities had been maturing in Turkey for a long time. The confrontation between Erdogan and the Army had been constantly growing and turned into an active phase after Turkey's intervention in the Syrian civil war on the side of the opposition. The high Command of Turkey's Armed Forces had been avoiding conducting combat operations against the regular Syrian Army.

February 11, 2011, the Court of Istanbul decided to take custody of 163 current and retired Generals and officers of the Turkish Armed Forces, accused of involvement in preparing in 2003 a military coup to overthrow R. Erdogan's government. Another high-profile case of “Ergenekon” secret organization was opened in June 2007, according to which 240 soldiers and civilians were sentenced to different terms of imprisonment on the accusation of developing plans to make Turkey exit from NATO. Many experts described the case of “Ergenekon” as R. Erdogan's attack on the Turkish military elite, committed to Kemal's ideology of secularism supported by a large part of the Turkish society.

July 13, 2016, two days before the coup attempt, R. Erdogan signed a bill giving Turkish military servicemen immunity from prosecution during their participation in internal operations against the Kurds. But it seems that some of the military saw this as R. Erdogan's weakness and pliability and caused the temptation to carry out a military coup.

Are Erdogan's Actions — a Second Coup?

In his first statement on the occasion of the military coup on the night of July 16 at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, President R. Erdogan called the coup an act of treason and a reason to complete cleansing the Army. The coup itself, he said, — is an attempt to turn against the unity and solidarity of the nation, and its organizers will pay for their actions a high price. R. Erdogan put blame for all that happened on Fethullah Gülen's supporters of whom there are about 7 million in Turkey. R. Erdogan called on the population to resist the rebels.

The clergy from the minarets of mosques also called on people to take to the streets to support the President. In response to these calls, thousands of Turkish citizens took to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara that night. Some of them tried to block the movement of military equipment, rushing under the wheels of tanks and armored personnel carriers. We can say that the Turkish people prevented a coup.

July 20, according to the results of the National Security Council and the Cabinet of Ministers, the President of Turkey declared a state of emergency for three months, while pointing out, “this step is not in any way against the rule of law, human rights and democratic freedoms”. “According to numerous requests from citizens,” R. Erdogan promised to consider the reintroduction of the death penalty, abolished in 2004 in accordance with the commitments to the Council of Europe.

By R. Erdogan's order, in the country there are mass arrests of persons suspected of involvement in the preparation of the military coup. As of July 20, more than 8,000 police officers, about 6,000 military servicemen (about 100 Generals and Admirals included), 2,735 judges and prosecutors, as well as 2,745 members of the judiciary had been arrested. As of July 20, the total number of the repressed was 20 thousand people. Governors of 30 Turkish provinces and 47 heads of districts have been removed from office. At this, there are 81 provinces in the country. The Supreme Board of Education of Turkey forbade all scientists to leave the country. 1,577 deans of faculties at public and private universities have been suspended from duty. They all are suspected of involvement in the coup. As of July 20, nearly 22,000 educators had been suspended from duty.

The question arises: who will conduct the trials of tens of thousands of participants in the military coup and those who sympathize with them, if almost the entire judicial system is paralyzed? How could such a great number of judges, standing on guard of the law, be involved in the organization and conduct of a military coup? How could scientists and teaching staff be involved in a military coup?

As it turned out, the actions of President Erdogan's administration after the failed coup provide for persecution not only of its participants, but also of sympathizers. It seems that as a result of the coup Turkey's foreign policy will be adjusted in order to change Turkey's geostrategic vector and to find new-old allies, which could be Russia and Iran. This conclusion is confirmed by R. Erdogan's phrase uttered after his recent telephone conversation with the Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani: “We are now more than ever determined to hand in hand with Iran and Russia contribute to the solution of regional problems and intend to intensify efforts to return peace and stability in the region”. It is also possible that Erdogan will start cooperation with Russia and Iran in the Syrian conflict, will avoid confrontation with B. Assad and will stop supporting the Syrian opposition, at least will not continue unabated.

Erdogan's Charisma

Despite the fact that many observers consider R. Erdogan's leadership style authoritarian, at the same time they admit that he is one of the most influential and charismatic Turkish leaders after the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk. Erdogan is a great speaker, like Fidel Castro. He can speak for hours, emotionally charging the crowd. Today, there is no other person so popular with the Turkish political elite. It is no accident that in the presidential elections in August 2014 R. Erdogan won the first round with 52 % of votes. In the early parliamentary elections of November 1, 2015, Erdogan's party (AKP) also won, receiving 49.4 % of votes, which allowed it to form a single-party government.

Many analysts point out the authoritarian nature of relations within this political force. Party members are called “Erdogan's soldiers,” and their only obligation is strict fulfillment of decisions of the leader and political leadership. The main party voters are residents of eastern and southern provinces of Turkey, for which the Islamic values are absolute. To win over the Turkish citizens AKP party provides social support and provides preferential treatment to people with limited income and middle class, thereby strengthening its social base.

As we see it, R. Erdogan's authority is largely determined by Turkey's striking economic success for 14 years of his staying in power. In the period from 2002 to 2008 alone, Turkey's GDP quadrupled, allowing it to become the seventeenth economy in the world and the sixth (!) — In Europe. According to the CIA-World-Factbook, in 2010, Turkey's GDP was 735.5 billion US dollars. By 2015, it had doubled to 1.589 trillion US dollars — almost half of Russia's GDP (!). GDP growth was 4 % in 2015. The share of GDP per capita in 2015 amounted to 20 thousand US dollars. With the population of 80 million people, the budget in 2015 amounted to 175.5 billion US dollars — only by 40 billion US dollars less than in Russia. Defence and security expenditure in 2016 will amount to 21.2 billion US dollars. Gold and foreign currency reserves of Turkey as of December 2015 were 118.3 billion US dollars.

In coming years, the Turkish government intends to implement ambitious projects: construction of two new metro lines, a railway tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait, a new bridge across it, a navigable channel along the Strait, the world's largest airport in Istanbul (150 million passengers per year), as well as a LNG-terminal on the Mediterranean coast.

Turkey ranks sixth in Europe for the production of automobiles and fifth in the world in the number of orders for the construction of ships and vessels. Turkey is a great naval power, where there are about 90 shipyards and about 2,000 merchant ships. Tens of thousands of Turkish builders are working in more than 80 countries around the world. These impressive results were achieved thanks to Turkey's research and innovation, introduction of new technologies.

The Turkish government allocates astronomical sums for education and scientific research. The country implements state programs aimed at supporting students and young professionals, as well as repatriation of scientists of Turkish origin working abroad. The Turkish government has offered its full support to the development of small and medium-sized businesses, in particular through creation of special industrial zones.

At a press conference, R. Erdogan sincerely asked journalists “GDP has tripled, factories, bridges, universities are being built, the standard of living is growing, and Turkey is spoken about by the whole world as a model of development. Well, what else do they (opponents) want?!” Today, however, for educated and cultured people material prosperity is not an absolute value. For them, no less important is the spiritual freedom.

The International Community's Reaction

In the international arena, the coup was not supported by anybody, and, of course, it could not have been supported, apart from, perhaps, President of Syria B. Assad and Egyptian President A. al-Sisi. By the way, the prepared by the USA draft UN Security Council's resolution condemning the coup in Turkey, was blocked by its non-permanent member — Egypt. To explain its refusal to support the resolution, Egypt said that the UN Security Council should not claim that the Turkish government is “democratically elected”.

Many observers point out that the US government, the European Union and NATO responded to the military coup in Turkey rather late, obviously waiting — who would win. At the same time, the words of support for Erdogan were rather reserved. In his telephone conversation with R. Erdogan, US President B. Obama condemned the attempted coup in Turkey, and expressed his support for Turkish democracy. He also promised a “proportional” support in the investigation of the coup attempt. According to B. Obama, the investigation must be conducted in such a way as to “strengthen public confidence in the democratic institutions and the rule of law”. However, it seems that R. Erdogan is in no hurry to invite American experts to assist in the proceedings with the rebels.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has assured Turkey's Foreign Minister M. Cavusoglu of Washington's support to “Turkey's democratically elected, civilian government”. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has pointed out the importance of Turkey as a NATO member, and called to respect democratic institutions of the country. The foreign ministers of the EU countries at the Asia-Europe Summit in Mongolia expressed their support for democratic institutions in Turkey.

President of Ukraine P. Poroshenko expressed support for the democratically elected President R. Erdogan, expressing concern about the “dangerous developments in the friendly Turkey” and calling for “respect for the basic principles of democracy”.

The Russian Federation's President V. Putin in a telephone conversation expressed support for R. Erdogan in connection with the attempted armed coup and at the same time stressed that “Russia's principled line to categorical inadmissibility of anti-constitutional actions and violence in the life of a state”, although he himself continues supporting the separatists in the Donbas who commit daily “unconstitutional actions” against the Ukrainian state. It seems that if the coup had taken place in Turkey before his reconciliation with R. Erdogan, V. Putin's reaction to the event would have been absolutely different.

However, after Turkey began mass arrests of people accused of supporting the coup, the tone of statements by representatives of the European Union has changed and they actually have begun to accuse the Turkish leadership of using the military coup attempt to deal with opponents who were not related to it. Thus, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy, Johannes Hahn July 18 stated, “mass arrests and threats to return the death penalty is not the reaction that befits the President of Turkey after a failed military coup in the country”. Moreover, according to J. Hahn, there are signs that the lists of people to be arrested had been agreed by Turkish authorities before the attempted coup of July 16-16. J. Hahn pointed out that the rapid arrest of thousands of judges, police officers and other government officials, suspected of involvement in the preparation of the coup give an impression of a prepared action.

Federica MogheriniThe EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini has warned the Turkish authorities about the danger of steps contradicting the current Turkey's Constitution. “We need to protect the rule of law. There can be no justification for the steps moving Turkey away from this principle,” she said. The Council of Europe's leadership has stated that Turkey can forget about the membership in the Organization, if it returns the death penalty. According to the European Commission's representative, restoration of the death penalty in Turkey would make impossible Turkey's joining the European Union.

Authorities of the FRG joined the statements from Brussels. According to Germany's government's Spokesman Steffen Seibert, “outrageous scenes of violence towards the military, who participated in the coup attempt, are simply unacceptable”. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Turkey to cancel the state of emergency in the nearest future.

Conclusions and Forecasts

In any country, the army is a part of its people, and the interests of various strata of the people of the country should be taken into consideration by the leadership. The president of any country is the president for all social groups, nationalities, and even for those who do not agree with his policy. National consensus and reconciliation should be the goal of any president in any situation in the country and especially in critical moments of its history. The attempt of a military coup in mid-July became a crucial point and a difficult test for Turkey, its people and its leadership, which should show the highest wisdom in resolving the internal crisis.

Making a military coup against the legally elected government is, no doubt, a crime in any country, and the perpetrators must be punished in accordance with national legislation and international law. It is hoped that in Turkey it will be so. I also hope for large heart of the winners. Excessive cruelty, abuse of the law to punish the guilty and, even more so, lynching by the mob could have disastrous consequences for Turkish democracy because it would sow new grains of confrontation and division in the Turkish society. Eliminating the effects of the military coup should not become a tool in the crackdown on dissent and opponents of the current government.

The coup has been suppressed, but the problem has not been exhausted. Stability in the society cannot be achieved by repressions. Any violence provokes counter-violence. Turkey remains divided roughly into two parts: let's say, one half is for Erdogan, the other is against him. And if Erdogan starts now to cruelly persecute his enemies and those who do not support him, this can lead not to a coup of a limited part of the military, but to a general uprising and, perhaps even to a civil war.

Many analysts are now predicting that the failure of the military coup in Turkey will help to strengthen the concentration of power in the hands of Erdogan, who will seek to turn the country into a presidential republic by amending the Constitution. Whether Turkey should be a parliamentary or a presidential republic — it is up to the Turkish people and the parliament to decide within the framework of existing laws and international law. Pushing this process by force and in violation of the law is unacceptable and will be condemned by the international community, with all the ensuing negative consequences for Turkey.

The consequences of the attempted military coup in case of massive and unjustified repressions against its participants without a detailed analysis of the degree of their guilt and, even more so, persecution of the opposition and restricting the rights and freedoms of Turkish citizens may result in Turkey's protracted political crisis, which would be followed by an economic crisis, in particular, the outflow of foreign investments and emergence of problems in the financial sector.

Any army is strong, not only by its weapons, but above all by its spirit. Possible excess of legislation in the prosecution of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and officers, and generals can result in a decrease in operational readiness of the Turkish Army, increasing its separation into different ethno-religious and political groups, and the overall decline in the prestige of military service. Since the Turkish Armed Forces are second in NATO by its combat capability, the situation in the armed forces of Turkey after the coup attempt makes the leadership of the Alliance worry and it, most likely, will try in every way to help stabilize the political situation in Turkey.

Some observers believe that R. Erdogan's reconciliation with V. Putin shortly before the military coup attempt was not accidental. In anticipation of these events, and perhaps planning their development in a certain direction, R. Erdogan decided to normalize relations with Russia, in order not to remain in complete isolation if the West does not approve of his actions in his struggle against the coupists, opposition and dissidents. On the other hand, the scale of Turkey's future cooperation with Russia could be a bargaining chip with the West, particularly with the USA, EU and NATO.

A possible strengthening of authoritarian tendencies in the government of Turkey, including restoration of the death penalty, will cause problems in Turkey's relations with the USA, EU and NATO allies, which could lead to a revision of Turkey's geopolitical strategy and its search for new allies. Undoubtedly, the Kremlin will try to make the most of this situation to increase the differences between Turkey and the West, and to retract Turkey into the Eurasian community. It is also expected that in the nearest future Moscow will resume talks with Turkey on the construction of the “Turkish Stream” gas pipeline and the nuclear power plant “Akkuyu” on the southern coast of Turkey. Clearly, these and other issues of Russian-Turkish cooperation will be discussed at the upcoming meeting of the Presidents of Russia and Turkey in Moscow in August 2016.

The current political crisis in Turkey associated with the attempt of a military coup and its consequences, is a test not only for Turkey but also for the Ukrainian-Turkish relations, for which the new rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow will be a threat. There is no doubt that Moscow will try to weaken the relationship, especially where it comes to military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey. It is also expected that Moscow will try to reach a consensus with Turkey on the issue of the Crimea and the Crimean Tatars at the expense of broad preferences for Turkish business in the Crimea.

The Ukrainian President's official visit to Turkey on March 9-10, has become an extremely important event in the bilateral Ukrainian-Turkish relations in the way of their transformation from partner into alliance ones. Over the past few months, Ukraine and Turkey have done more to deepen their partnership than it has been done in recent years. It is hoped that the political crisis in Turkey and possible certain adjustments concerning the priorities of its foreign policy will not affect negatively further development of friendly and mutually beneficial Ukrainian-Turkish relations.

 

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