July 15th, 2016

Has the coup against Erdogan failed?

I was watching Fox News about an hour ago and most of the commentators seemed to be guessing that the coup in Turkey has failed and Erdogan is in control.

If true, this would not be a good outcome. The thought is that this will strengthen him and he will use it as a way to make himself—and his restrictions on dissent and opponents—even more powerful.

Meanwhile, President Obama has been backing Erdogan as the democratically elected leader of the country. However, not only is Erdogan an Islamist who would like to make religion a much bigger part of the traditionally secular Turkish government, but he is a power-hungry wannabee dictator a la Chavez (Muslim-style). Back in May the NY Times reported on a power grab:

Erdogan occupies what is supposed to be a nonpartisan, ceremonial role in a parliamentary democracy, where Davutoglu, a longstanding ally, was technically the leader. After serving as foreign minister for years while Erdogan was prime minister, Davutoglu became prime minister when Erdogan chose to run for the presidency in 2014. Davutoglu, it was imagined, would be the soft-spoken, bookish vizier to the tough, populist president.

A little background here—Erdogan had already served three terms as Prime Minister, the constitutional limit. Therefore this “chose to run for the presidency” business (the phrase the Times used) was because he was unable to remain as PM and yet wanted to remain in power, as others have done before him (Putin did a version of it in Russia, for example, from 2008-2012, although the titles were different). So Erdogan had every intention of remaining fully in charge—whatever his title and the relative powerlessness that was supposed to accompany it—and he did.


Erdogan and his colleagues made no secret of their desire to rewrite the country’s constitution — drafted by a military government in the 1980s — and expand the powers of an executive presidency…

Despite internal unease within the ruling Justice and Development Party, known by the Turkish abbreviation AKP, and heated protests from political foes, Davutoglu and other party officials embraced their president’s agenda, at least publicly.

Parliamentary elections last June threw a wrench in the works. Opposition to Erdogan’s push for a presidential system, as well as the rise of a leftist, pro-Kurdish party, saw the AKP lose its parliamentary majority for the first time in over a decade. This prompted months of discord and acrimony as Turkey’s parties proved unable to form a successful coalition government, an outcome which Erdogan’s opponents claimed was precisely what the president wanted.

New elections in November followed a wave of instability and violence across the country. The polls restored the AKP’s commanding majority in parliament and gave fresh momentum to Erdogan’s plans to reshape the pillars of the Turkish state.

Reports suggest the relationship between Erdogan and Davutoglu has been rocky for quite some time — with the latter frustrated by the former’s clampdown on political freedoms, including the arrests of academics and journalists, and wary of scrapping the parliamentary system for a presidential one.

Then Davutoglu, who is supposed to be the actual “democratically elected leader” of Turkey in conformance with the Turkish constitution and the title he holds (Prime Minister), was actually ousted recently in a power move by Erdogan, who is supposed to be the figurehead under him. Of course, the positions have always been reversed in this strange simulacrum of a democracy:

The clearest sign in the collapse of the tandem’s relationship came last week when Erdogan loyalists voted to strip Davutoglu of the power to appoint provincial-level party officials, something that he, as the sitting head of the party, would be expected to do.

Then, in May, Davutoglu announced his early retirement:

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu — Turkey’s leading political figure, at least on paper — announced Thursday that he plans to step down from power after less than two years in office…

Citing a “premature end” of his four-year-term, Davutoglu’s resignation comes amid concerns over Erdogan’s increasing authoritarianism, and many observers fear it will enable the president to further consolidate his power.

And then—surprise, surprise—a new Prime Minister was selected who turned out to be a strong ally of Erdogan’s:

Binali Yildirim, the country’s minister of transport, maritime, and communication, received 1,405 out of a total of 1,470 votes at a meeting of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP. Yildirim was the sole candidate for chairman at the special session called after Ahmet Davutoglu announced earlier this month he would not seek re-election.

Yildirim is a longtime ally of Erdogan…

Erdogan has been trying to consolidate the two offices in Turkey into one, giving himself more power. But with the selection of Yildirim, he pretty much did that already, because Yildirim is Erdogan’s yes-man.

Which brings us to today’s coup, or today’s coup that may have failed, and Obama’s early support for the Erdogan forces. This is giving me an extremely creepy deja vu feeling that harks back to one of the earliest things Obama ever did as president, support the wrong side in Honduras. I wrote many many posts on the Honduras matter at the time and later (here’s a relatively recent one).

The details in Honduras were rather different from those in Turkey. But this is what I wrote back in 2009 about what the side Obama supported in Honduras was trying to do there, and it somewhat resembles what the Erdogan side has been doing in Turkey in its consolidation of power:

The way is clear: tyrants very often use “democracy” as an excuse to get the people to override a constitution and grant them what turns out to be dictatorial, or near-dictatorial, powers, as well as the ability to extend or abolish term limits and stay in power longer than the constitution says (and in many cases indefinitely). Once the rules are changed about term limits, and power is consolidated and the voting apparatus compromised, staying in power is a relatively easy matter, really a trifle.

[NOTE: You can find updates on the Turkey situation here.]

[ADDENDUM: Daniel Pipes opined in November of 2015 that the AKP’s election victory was fraudulent.]

30 Responses to “Has the coup against Erdogan failed?”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    If you are going to kill the King, kill the King. Military should have killed Erdogan first thing. Idiots.

  2. AesopFan Says:

    “This is giving me an extremely creepy deja vu feeling that harks back to one of the earliest things Obama ever did as president, support the wrong side in Honduras. ”

    I recall thinking at the time that this was proof positive (if any were still needed) that Obama was a totally ideological socialist.
    However, in the immediate case, my first thought was of the day Obama stuck a knife into the Iranian rebellion by supporting the Ayatollah and his government.

  3. miklos000rosza Says:

    Too bad if the coup has failed.

  4. AesopFan Says:

    Cornhead Says:
    July 15th, 2016 at 11:03 pm
    If you are going to kill the King, kill the King. Military should have killed Erdogan first thing. Idiots.
    * * *
    One has uneasy remembrances of the attempts on Hitler’s life that failed for lack of resolve (or desire to live on as his successor).

  5. Cornhead Says:

    And how disgraceful is Obama and the NYT.

    A shining city on a hill my ass. More like we support strongmen because. RWR spinning in his grave tonight.

  6. parker Says:


    Yes kill the king first, no matter where the king may be. Rot always begins in the head of the fish.

  7. blert Says:

    Cornhead, they couldn’t get to him.

    It’s that simple.


    No-one can doubt that our President would LOVE to stay in office past January 20th.

    It’s the way he rolls.

    Maybe George Soros financed riots at the Cleveland convention will do the trick.

    It’s obvious that Barry lusts for a full on race war — so that he can signal his virtue by cracking down on crackers.

  8. Cornhead Says:

    Iran. Egypt. China. Honduras. Turkey. Cuba.

    See any pattern?

  9. Cornhead Says:


    He was out of the country. They should have done this when he was in town.


    And Obama says he was democratically elected. Yeah, like the way the Dems always win Chicago, but worse.

  10. parker Says:

    Sometimes much blood must be set loose to flow like a river.The elephant in the room is when/if the time comes for rivers of blood in Europe and North America. It is beginning to look like a question of whether we in the West revolt or Islam weilds the sword.

  11. Cornhead Says:

    And Turkey allowed the ME refugees free passage into Europe.

    Europe will never recover. Reconquista.

  12. Cornhead Says:

    And how sick are we of these Islamist barbarians?

    What the hell is wrong with those people?

  13. AesopFan Says:

    Here’s a good update:

    As Dyer says, getting rid of Erdogan is a good thing for Turkey.
    So, of course Obama condemned the coup, which looks like it wasn’t very well supported by the top brass in the military (which Erdogan has been salting with his own supporters for years).

    As they used to say, stay tuned.

  14. AesopFan Says:

    As long as we’re on the subject of chaos in the Middle East, here are some other disquieting developments in Mr. Obama’s drive to destroy Western Democracy.


  15. Cornhead Says:

    Tank soldiers surrending on the bridge. It’s over.

  16. Beverly Says:

    Sidebar: News for Yahoos is now running a headline describing the Nice jihadi as engaging in road rage.

    I Kid You Not. Yahoo “News” has become a naked pleader for the Hard Left. Utter bilge.

  17. junior Says:

    He was out of the country. They should have done this when he was in town.

    It’s a toss-up.

    If you go after him in the capitol, then you might take him out quickly and easily. But he’s also at his strongest, and surrounded by his defenders. If you wait until he’s not around, then you’re hoping that his supporters will freeze up (which is a legitimate concern in any organization that is led by a strong man) long enough for you to deal with them before he can attempt to return home and take charge. Evidently they gambled on the latter, and it appears that they have failed.

  18. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Edward Luttwak wrote “Coup d’Etat: A Practical Handbook- A Brilliant Guide to Taking Over a Nation”. The coup planners should have bought a copy before they acted; around $14.00 on Amazon.

  19. Yann Says:

    US explicitly supported Erdogan.

    Of course, it was not expected to support the secular military. But SILENCE is a perfect option when there’s nothing good you can say. You could just say “we’re waiting to see the outcome”.

    You weren’t able to say shit about the 100 years of Armenian Genocide. You practiced silence then, but not now. It was great to say NOTHING about the hundredth anniversary of Armenian Genocide, but now, you needed to support Erdogan in an explicit way.

    So THANK YOU AMERICA for supporting radical Islam. Oh, you’re helping to make the world such a better place.

    At least there’s fucking karma in this world, and you’re gonna become soon a Third World country, a clone version of Mexico.

    Enjoy. I won’t cry about it.

  20. Baklava Says:

    Only your reporting was worth reading. Only yours. Analysis and writing by my favorite go to place for perspective. Than you

  21. Hector Says:

    Hillary subscribes to this same example of “democracy”. Silencing your first amendment rights where criticism of her reign will not be welcomed.

  22. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    Neo. I went to bed last night saddened by the fact that the coup was failing, and this morning brings no hope. But, more to the point, what you have written here — this minor tour d’horizon taking us back to Honduras (I had forgotten that sorry mess) is precisely why we come to you day in and day out for analysis and perspective. I fear you are encouraging intellectual sloth on my part. I’ve always been pretty good at smelling rats and eventually getting to the right room in the house. But when I click on “Neo” I can depend on seeing the whole floor plan and the X marking the spot. You are a treasure.

  23. Cornhead Says:

    Obviously poorly planned but think how desperate the plotters must have been to attempt this. And they knew death or prison if they failed.

    What I don’t get is why they didn’t use overwhelming force. Should have killed top civilian leaders and leveled key government buildings right away. It looks like Erdogan’s call for the people to take the streets worked.

  24. Nick Says:

    There shouldn’t have been any need to kill Erdogan. In fact, killing him would have likely hurt the coup.

    Military coups are different in parts of the world that have experienced them before. It’s generally understood that they aren’t power grabs, but a reassertion of the natural order when a government has strayed too far from its course. A military coup should be perfuctory.

    The question is, why didn’t that work in this case? It could be that the most capable and authoritative military leaders are in prison or out of power.

  25. Sharon W Says:

    Great comment Ralph Kinney Bennett. So true.

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    Ralph Kinney Bennett:

    Thanks so much! I appreciate it.

    But I wish there weren’t so many rats around to smell.

  27. Yancey Ward Says:

    I think it possible, even likely, that Erdogan staged the coup himself, or knew it was coming in advance and allowed the plotter so openly hang themselves.

    Literally, Erdogan couldn’t have come up with a more successful plan to concentrate and extend indefinitely his grip on power. All of his legitimate opposition is likely to end up in front of a firing squad now.

  28. Eric Says:

    Coup or “coup”?

  29. Ymarsakar Says:

    Erd is competing for the Caliph title and will want to remake Turkey under Allah, submissive to Allah, in the Caliphate.

    One true Islam, means Sunni Islam.

  30. Ymarsakar Says:

    It was great to say NOTHING about the hundredth anniversary of Armenian Genocide, but now, you needed to support Erdogan in an explicit way.

    That’s what people get when they vote in Democrats and allow evil to take hold in the USA.

    As back in Civil War 1, Civil War 2 is also going to have similar issues.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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