Turkish attempted coup in progress is more alarming than you think!
Turkey is geopolitically, militarily, culturally, economically, symbolically of nearly incalculable global importance.
The world needs Turkey to remain stable, powerful, cosmopolitan, democratic, and a bulwark amidst a sea of chaos.
Here, in very rough and hurried form, is a brief primer for my friends:
-Turkey is a great and historic regional power and descends from the Ottoman Empire which ruled large parts of Europe, Africa and Asia for centuries.
-Turkey is the second largest and most powerful military in NATO. Second only to that of the U.S.
-Turkey is home to no less than 26 NATO bases.
-Turkey is home to Incirlic air base with 70+ nuclear weapons.
-Turkey is the oldest secular democracy in the Middle East and the whole Islamic world (despite Erdogan and the AK party’s recent moves to give Islam more of a place and his ugly crack down of journalists and dissent).
-The Turkish military is dedicated, by law and institutional culture alike, to protecting the constitution of the Republic. It has acted historically as the guardian of the secular and modernist nature of the republic which has been the republics core identity since the days of its founder, Mustafa Kemal Attaturk.
-Turkish military has a history of decisive coups against many a government up until the rise of the moderately Islamist AK party that has been in power for the last 16 years.
-Turkey is dotted with more important architectural, archeological, religious (Pagan, Christian and Muslim) and natural landmarks of global significance than nearly any other country on earth.
-Turkey is the largest economy in Western Asia and the Middle East, the 13th largest economy in the world with a near Trillion dollar annual GDP.
-Turkey is one if the top 8 destinations for tourist of any country in the world.
-Turkey is a front line partner in the war with ISIS (despite evidence that Erdogan may be playing a double game and giving some support to ISIS as part of his agenda to topple Assad in Syria and balance his own largely separatist Kurdish minority.)
-Turkey borders Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Kurdish regions, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Greece Bulgaria and the Balkans and is situated between the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Persian Gulf and the Ted seas.
-Turkey Contains and controls the globally strategic, Bosporus straight and the Dardanelles.
-Was once the home of the actual historic Caliphate.
-Has enormous ‘soft power’ and wields cultural influence across the region and beyond with its television shows, soap operas, films, musical stars and media.
-it remains, despite the many regrettable and controversial actions of Erdogan, the most stable nation in an incredibly chaotic region of the world.
-it is a candidate for full EU membership and already a junior partner.
With these key points in mind as context let me just say:
This coup is NO way to deal with the increasingly problematic authoritarian, Islamist and right wing tendencies of Erdogan and the AK party!
Regardless of the ever growing and alarming actions and machinations of the president, the fact remains that he is the legitimate and democratically elected president of the country and represents and has the support of at least half the population.
It’s I retesting that even his rival opposition parties and media are by and large opposed to this violent illegal coup.
While I’m as concerned and frustrated with Erdogans ever more authoritarian actions and words, the lasting solution can only be to defeat him through democratic means.
No military coup can ever hope to have legitimacy with the populace,it elections and referendums can accomplish In a country so evenly and acutely divided one fears a decent into chaos and even civil war.
Lets not forget the history of the Turkish military prior to the advent of the AK party, acting as modern day Janissaries and replacing one government after another.
What we’re seeing unfold is enormously dangerous, not just for Turkey and the region but the world.
For the sake of global stability and peace, let us hope that whoever prevails amidst tonight’s attempted coup, that the Turkish people will find a way to keep from descending into civil war and strife.
Given the horrific retribution that can almost certainly be expected if one or the other faction prevails decisively, the best option for the county and the world may be that neither side is able to prevail and that impasse leads to a compromise. That the elected administration of Erdogan remains in power while being forced and chastened into renouncing its more authoritarian actions of recent years.
I fear this is wishful thinking. At this moment, the reality looks rather more ominous.