An attempted coup in Turkey

Military factions in Turkey have attempted to seize control of the country President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s Islamist president and Barack Obama’s pal, was forced to use his iPhone’s FaceTime app from an undisclosed location to broadcast messages beseeching the public to resist the coup attempt, according to the New York Times.

It seems uncertain at this moment whether Erdogan will be able to retain power, but several factors may be working in his favor. The armed forces reportedly are divided. Leaders of opposition political parties, who have otherwise worked against Erdogan’s government, also spoke out against a seizure of government by the military. Kurds also are reportedly supporting the government.

None of this would augur well for the attempted coup. However, it seems too early to predict that the coup will fail.

Walter Russell Mead is blogging the coup attempt. He is my go-to source for up-to-date information and analysis of this development.

Mead suggests that a coup against Erdogan might enhance democracy in Turkey:

It’s not actually clear what outcome bodes best for Turkey’s fragile and increasingly endangered democracy. Before the coup, Erdogan was setting world records for locking up journalists; if he holds onto power through the coup he’s unlikely to mellow. More likely, the reverse, and democracy may be the biggest loser, whoever holds power when this settles down.

There’s a case to be made (which is not the same thing as supporting the coup) that a military coup offers the greatest hope for Turkish democracy. In the past, the Turkish army has returned to its barracks and restored civilian government.

Erdogan likes to say, “democracy is like a train; you get off once you reach your destination.” I won’t shed tears if Erdogan gets kicked off the train before it gets to his.


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