The failed coup will strengthen the hands of president Erdogan to realize his dreams of becoming an all-powerful Sultan of Turkey
After the fateful Friday night of the coup-makers, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in charge of the affairs of his country again. When the ill-planned and poorly executed coup d’état was underway, the president was fortunate to be able to communicate with his people through FaceTime, an iPhone-specific smartphone application, from Mediterranean Sea coastal resort where he was spending his holidays. He urged his followers to resist the coup and rally in his favor on the roads to stop the coup. The people responded enthusiastically and furiously with the result that the coup-makers had to surrender or flee.
Why the attempted coup failed in the first instance and was it the people alone who resisted the armed coup through their unwavering faith in democracy as the best political system their country needed? That the coup was “unprofessional” in both planning and operation was on full display. Such “phony” coups are meant to fail in the end.
There are certain reasons being given for the failure of the coup-makers, one of them being unwavering support the people displayed for the president and the system he is presiding over. The other reason that is being given is the stability and prosperity brought by Erdogan and the quality of service delivered to people that endeared him in the eyes of his people. While there are no questions about the economic turnaround brought in by Erdogan, his popularity was progressively eroding due to national security and foreign policy misadventures and also the repressive policies to gag all voices pointing out his failures and allegations of corruption leveled against his family and friends and in particular, his son Bilal Erdogan.
Istanbul is his home-base from where Erdogan draws his political strength but it was the same city which erupted in massive protests against him in June 2013 over his plans to alter the face of city’s legendary Taksim Square. People blamed him for his iron-fisted repressive policies and doubted his credentials as a democrat. He was accused of ruling Turkey as a tyrant who wanted to push Turkey back to Caliphate era with unlimited powers in the hands of one person.
Erdogan always blamed Fethulla Gulen, an ally-turned-opponent for troubles against his government. Gulen is a preacher having significant influence in Turkey. He is currently living in the US off multiple businesses including a network of schools and think tanks. He is a considerable following in Turkey’s key institutions like military and judiciary. First thing that Erdogan did after resuming and tightening his control on Saturday morning was to arrest 3000 military men and more than 2700 members of judiciary suspected of having links with Gulen.
Erdogan has been in the process of wresting back the powers from Turkey’s military that have always wielded influence over the affairs of the state and had assumed the role of guardians of the system established by Ataturk, the Father of the Nation post-Caliphate. Erdogan established his authority by initially punishing senior generals accused of coup-making in the past. This failed coup, which is being blamed on the armed forces, will provide Erdogan the needed opportunity to tighten his control over the military.
Erdogan has had plans to rewrite country’s constitution but has not been able to do that so far. According to Foreign Policy, if the Turkish president views his survival as a mandate to assert greater control over the country, he’ll likely start with his long-running plan to rewrite the constitution to create an executive presidency that will give him greater power at the expense of the legislature and the prime minister.
It is now written on the wall that Erdogan will swiftly move to further tighten his iron grip over the country, further gag the media and dissenting voices and clear the way for absolute power in his hands. The coup will eventually strengthen the hands of president Erdogan to realize his dreams of becoming an all-powerful Sultan of Turkey.