With chaos happening in all parts of the world, you might have missed what happened in Turkey recently. July 15, a faction of the Turkish military attempted a coup to overthrow the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.
There are several factors that make this military coup seem like a staged one and the Editorial Board thinks the actions of Erdogan are suspicious.
First, Erdogan appeared in Istanbul less than 24 hours after the coup had begun and after almost 200 people were killed as a signal that the coup was failing. During the first hours of the coup, the location of Erdogan was completely unknown.
The surprise dramatic return to Istanbul hours after the coup began is weird.
After Erdogan arrived back in Istanbul, he spoke to supporters and said, “A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity. What is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason. They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.”
Supporters of Erdogan took to the streets July 16 after hearing his call to punish the military coup operators, demonstrating the slow demise of the coup itself.
The Andalou Agency, which is run by the state, reported 200 soldiers surrendered to Turkish police in Ankara and more than 1,500 soldiers linked to the coup had been detained across Turkey.
During a time when Turkey has been attacked by the Islamic State, is fighting a Kurdish rebellion in the southeast of the country and is flooded with refugees from the Syrian civil war, this coup does nothing but make the country more unstable and President Erdogan more desperate to maintain power.
Martial law has been declared in Turkey, which is another terrible sign things are only going to get worse from here. The United States is involved not only as an ally to Turkey and fellow NATO member, but the U.S. is also harboring Erdogan’s political enemy, Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen is a Muslim cleric that lives in exile in Pennsylvania. Erdogan had a bitter break with Gulen in 2013 and has held a grudge against the U.S. for extraditing him.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry both denied any U.S. involvement in the military coup and both said they, “support the democratically elected government of Turkey”, as reported by Politico.
Harboring Gulen puts the U.S. in an uncomfortable position with a newly unstable government in the Middle East, a position we all are tired of being in. The Editorial Board recognizes this situation is complicated.
We hope the U.S. does not get involved beyond political support and no further harm or violence occurs. However, we are not naïve to the fact that these situations often do not end well.