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Military coup underway in Turkey: Erdo-gone?

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, July 16th, 2016 - 135 comments
Categories: colonialism, Europe, Globalisation, im/migration, International, iraq, Syria - Tags:


It seems clear now that the attempted military coup has failed in under 12 hours. Over a thousand military personnel are under arrest. The death toll from the incident stands at just under 100. Dozens of senior military officers have been relieved of their positions.

It is clear that the coup was poorly planned and poorly executed, and the coup plotters are now facing grim days as Erdogan leads a purge and tightens his grip over every aspect of Turkish life.



It appears that the coup plotters have made a critical error in not shutting down access to the internet. Tens of thousands of Turkish citizens have heeded calls by Erdogan and others to turn out on the streets and confront the military forces. BBC is reporting that the state broadcaster is back on air after Erdogan supporters swamped the building.

As it stands, momentum is now against the coup plotters. They will not be facing a happy ending at this rate.

(Fact: Turkey has the largest military out of all European NATO countries, i.e. even compared to the UK, Germany and France).

The moment an explosion hits the Turkish Parliamentary buildings:

Early reports in via RT and Zero Hedge

Tanks, military personnel and fighter jets have been deployed around Ankara – all without Turkish Government permission.

It is quite possible that secular elements of the Turkish Armed Forces are no longer confident in the Erdogan’s government pro-Islamist handling of the Syrian/Iraqi/Kurdish/Russian confrontation which has deeply hurt both the Turkish economy and Turkish security over the last 2-3 years.

From RT:

Part of the military is attempting a coup in Turkey, the country’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said, following reports of military jets and helicopters flying low over Ankara and Istanbul.

“Some people took illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim told news network NTV. “The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so,” he added.

According to the PM, Turkish security forces were doing what needs to be done to resolve the situation.

The Turkish Military say they have now got control of the country (via Zero Hedge):

The State broadcaster TRT, occupied by military officers, announces that military has taken over the authority all across Turkey. The military just declared martial law.






More updates as they become available.

Update: The BBC is reporting that thousands of citizens have taken to the streets and are confronting the army coup plotters. The main TV station appears to have been liberated from the military and there are reports that the police have arrested some of the military. President Erdogan is trying to re-enter the country (he was on holiday) and he has spoken to the nation via social media.


Live Updates:

The Guardian






135 comments on “Military coup underway in Turkey: Erdo-gone? ”

  1. mauī 1

    President Erdogan is reported being loved by half the population and hated by the other half… sounds familiar lol.

  2. It does seem to be a reaction to Erdogan’s bending of the rules. Turkey is a secular state, but his party has tried to Islamify the country and at the same time destroy religious and political opposition.

    Erdogan’s government has regularly censored the internet and attacked freedom of the press. Ironic that the coup leaders have done the same.

    According to the BBC, the head of the military is under house arrest, the two major bridges are blocked off, the State broadcaster has been forced to read propaganda, and the main airport has been surrounded.

  3. Ad 3

    Pretty hard to have much sympathy for Erdogan as a domestic leader. He attacks the press including the big bust-up of the leading newspaper last month, loathes gays, rampant suppression of all religions except Islam, won’t solve the PKK search for autonomy, and pretty crap at managing the economy.

    A sad irony that he now wants The People to rise up and defend him.

    But here’s where my sympathy gets balanced.

    Turkey has had a massive impact from the Syrian war.
    It is dealing with millions of refugees and defeated rebels.
    It is under military threat from its Syrian and Iraqi borders.
    None of its neighbors provide much economic support as they are basket-cases.

    Democracy in Turkey has been a fragile thing for multiple decades.

    I don’t support Erdogan, but I support a military takeover of a three-times elected government even less.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      The reason that Turkey has suffered a massive negative impact from the Syrian War is that Turkey has been logistically and financially facilitating the Syrian War.

      It has supported to the hilt Islamist rebels – including ISIS and al Nusra – that Ankara had hoped would be the stone that would kill two birds: the Kurdish “problem” on it’s Syrian border, and Bashar al-Assad. Turkey has permitted its border to be completely porous to Islamist fighters, munitions, oil and money.

  4. It appears to be the Gulen movement, an Islamic cult, that has launched the coup.

    • Bill 4.1

      A presidential source says it’s the Gulen movement. According to CNN, so does Erdogan.


      The Gulen movement and Erdogan worked hand in hand as recently as 2012.


      And the Gulen movement does seem to be deeply woven into the fabric of Turkish scoiety.


      • dukeofurl 4.1.1

        Doesnt really seem to be cult in western terms seems to be a descendant of the Ataturk style modernisations

        The movement has been characterized as a “moderate blend of Islam.”
        Gülen and the Gülen movement are technology-friendly, work within current market and commerce structures, and are savvy users of modern communications public relations.
        Within Turkey the Gülen movement keeps its distance from established Islamic political parties.
        Usually referred to as Hizmet (“the Service”) by its followers and as Cemaat (“the Community/Assembly”) by the broader public in Turkey-Wiki

        • Bill

          Their website. (It’s in English)


          From the scraps of info and on first impressions, I’d pick them as a far better option to Erdogan’s dictatorship, but hey…

          • te reo putake

            Not if they are intend changing the constitution from secular to religious. Eerdogan isn’t a dictator, btw. He’s elected.

            • Bill

              He was elected off the back of an election whose legitimacy was deeply contested. From memory he shut down all news outlets that were critical of him and his party. And no doubt there was other stuff…can’t say I’ve followed Turkey’s domestic politics very closely.

              On the broader claim that a dictator can’t be elected….Hitler?

              • Hitler was indeed elected. But he installed himself as Fuhrer shortly after. Erdogan, for all his many faults, has operated inside the constitution.

                • Bill

                  From the BBC – not known for being a critic of “Official Friends”

                  Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party enjoys a fierce and loyal support among Turkey’s conservative, Muslim base, while outside the country outrage grows over his silencing of critics, often by force.

                  Turkish journalists have been investigated and put on trial, foreign journalists have been harassed and deported. Last month, police raided Turkey’s biggest newspaper, Zaman. Its staff emerged bloodied and cowed.

                  Zaman’s last independent edition said Turkey’s press had seen one of its “darkest days”. Its first edition under state control carried unabashedly pro-government articles.

                  And Mr Erdogan’s authoritarian approach is not confined to Turkey’s borders. His bodyguards harassed reporters in the US, and a German satirist is under investigation in his home country for offending the Turkish president on TV.

                  It goes on to catalogue more abuses.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You do not recognise the actions of a dictator held in place by violence?

                    • Bill

                      Wow. None of that matters trp? It’s (according to your contention) all “within the constitution” and so fine?

                      There comes a point where cleaving to a conservative establishment line becomes really fucking unsavoury – like when abuses get excused or waved aside on the grounds that they’re (allegedly) entirely constitutional.

                    • And you apparently think governments you don’t like should be overthrown by military coups. Scratch a libertarian and see the fascist beneath.

                    • Bill

                      Oh dear, confronted with the threat of intelligent debate and a need to think critically, you trp, yet again dive for the cover of ad homs and utterly insubstantial allegations.

                      Well done.

                    • Jackboot Billy gets upset because he accidentally exposed his ugly side. Sad, really.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                    • A couple of comments from this thread were (hopefully unintentionally) deleted.

                      Peter Swift:
                      Date published: 4:22 pm, July 16th, 2016

                      “gets upset because he accidentally exposed his ugly side” Not for the first or the last time one suspects. “Jackboot Billy” lol

                      Te Reo Putake
                      2016/07/16 at 4:52 pm

                      I think there’s a corollary with the coup plotters.

                      If its the cult that was identified earlier behind the coup attempt, then, on the surface, they appear to be religious moderates. However, one of the the first things they intended to do was suspend the secular constitution and replace it with one of their own.

                      The mask quickly slipped.

                    • Bill

                      No trp.

                      But when you (presumably) cut and pasted the content of the comment that I’d moved to open mike (that’s now sitting in trash), the idiot response from Peter Swift disappeared because it was nested under the comment of yours that had been moved.

                      In other words, Peter Swift’s comment was on ‘open mike’ , not here – as you well know.

                      It disappeared because that’s what happens when you take it upon yourself to play the silly bugger with comments that have, for good reason, been moderated and shifted.

                      This from you was also apparently (search functions are kind of nice) posted to Open Mike and not here….I think there’s a corollary with the coup plotters. If its the cult that was identified earlier behind the coup attempt, then, on the surface, they appear to be religious moderates. However, one of the the first things they intended to do was suspend the …

                    • Peter Swift

                      You got mad, Billy, and you reacted typically.
                      TRP, in my opinion, is quite correct on this.

                      And jackboot Billy is funny as lol
                      I got a mental picture now that will never fade. Damage done.

                      [Jack Boot Bill would actually scan better. Y’know “tak – tak – tak”…three, one syllable words having a more, how to say, sharp aural impact reminiscent of authoritarianism or fascism than the one, one, two pattern used by trp. Anyway, that aside, you’re telling lies about an author. And for being stupid enough to jump with evident enthusiasm into some rickety night cart trp is hauling because you though it was some kind of a bandwagon worth jumping aboard, – you pick yourself up a six week ban.] – Bill

          • te reo putake

            Not if they are intend changing the constitution from secular to religious. Erdogan isn’t a dictator, btw. He’s elected.

            • Ad

              Erdogan has been repeatedly elected to Prime Minister and then to President by pretty good majorities since 2003.

              Prior to that he was elected multiple times to be Mayor of Istanbul.

              • Bill


                The June 2015 elections resulted in a hung parliament. and a second election, where a campaign marked by intimidation and violence set against a backdrop of growing state oppression, resulted in an increase in the vote for the AKP… that’s hardly indicative of the sanguine “people came, people voted” image your comment suggests.

                • Ad

                  His party has 315 seats out of 550 seats in the current parliament.

                  My bet is, once he’s shot the rebelling General and a few of his cohorts for treason, he will simply invite a new coalition partner.

                  And we will be back to parliamentary rule. As Turkey should be.

                  I am guessing though that you have some alternative in mind.
                  But then, so does the traitorous General and his troops.

                  • Bill

                    You’re guessing wrong. I have no “alternative” in mind. I just want to understand shit so that my opinions are better informed.

                    Erdogan gives not one whit for accountable parliamentary governance. He would willingly use it to establish unaccountable Presidential power. That much I understand.

                    As for those seeking to execute the military coup, I have no real idea who they are or, were they to succeed, if things would improve for people in Turkey or what changes (positive and negative) would take place with regards Syria, Kurds etc.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            I wouldn’t. I can’t see a scenario where Ergodan (foul as he is) is worse than a civil war. Enough Turks apparently agree.

            Having said that, Ergodan’s misrule surely makes these kinds of responses more likely, if not inevitable.

    • esoteric pineapples 4.2

      This is an interesting comment on the situation from the Kurdish Female Fighters YPJ Facebook page. They would know a thing or two about what is going on.

      “Would like to let everyone know.

      There’s nothing clear in the situation about weather it’s coup or not.

      This can be one of the old style, typical Ottoman’s game to oppress minorities or it can be an internal power sharing conflict between Pro Erdogan’s regime (president of Turkey) and Turkish cleric, Fetullah Gülen or Kemalists, (Mustafa Kemal Ataturk) who’s known as Ataturk by Turks.

      On 5 July a Turkish military chopper that had military commanders and their families inside, mysteriously crushed and 7 Turkish military personals, including their family members killed in this chopper crush, but Turkish media didn’t cover this so much. This seems to be an internal power sharing conflict between, current Turkish regime, Turkish cleric, Fetullah Gülen and Kemalists. These three names have both military and police personal loyalists, but in general, police personals are with the Turkish Erdogan’s regime and military is mixed. Military can have Kemalists majority.

      There’s not much difference between Erdogan and Gülen, the Turkish cleric. Erdogan used to be the student of Gülen and they were working together against Kurdish people until 6-7 years ago. But then everything changed after these two internally fought each other over the power sharing and Erdogan imprisoned all Gülen’s loyalists within Turkish military, police and other Turkish official institutions. Erdogan betrayed his teacher and purged military, police and law enforcement from his teacher’s, Gülen’s loyalists.

      All of these mentioned names are against Kurdish people. The situation for Kurdish people in northern part of Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey) won’t be any better if not worse. “

  5. mauī 5

    Some civilians are being shot on streets of Instanbul according to CNN. Shit

  6. dukeofurl 6

    is it a ‘colonels coup’ or from the top brass forming a junta?

  7. mauī 7

    It looks a very dangerous situation, with Erdogan able to make a broadcast through that facetime app thingy calling his supporters onto the streets. Now the military who are blocking bridges etc are surrounded by hundreds or thousands of angry civilians. Not good.

  8. Poission 8

    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

    Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

  9. joe90 9

    It's almost 2 a.m. and mosques across Istanbul are relentlessly calling people to the streets to resist and protest the military coup.— Ceylan Yeginsu (@CeylanWrites) July 15, 2016


  10. One Two 10

    The ‘next distraction’ arrived more quickly than I had anticipated

    The fake weapons and ID card of Nice, is yesterdays news

    • Infused 10.1

      You just have no clue what’s going on in the world.

      • One Two 10.1.1

        Ignoring that there were fake weapons and a passport (I mean ID) the script followed is the same used [name the event], and as I predicted yesterday, the next distraction arrived on cue. Sooner than I expected being the only delta

        As you have no clue who I am, your comment is that of an imbicile, which reading your archives is about the level you operate at around here

  11. Bill 11

    Very informative piece by Daryl McCann writing for the ABC. I’ve cut and pasted some of the more salient points, but the entire piece and the links it provides are well worth taking the time to read and explore if you’ve an interest in forming a reasonable picture of what sits behind on-going unrest in Turkey.

    These days (March 2016) president Erdoğan increasingly behaves like a cross between Macbeth and King Lear, jailing hundreds of cartoonists, journalist and even children for “insulting” him on the one hand, and laying waste to large swathes of Turkey’s south-east on the other.

    …even the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), oppose Erdoğan’s quest to make himself the “elected dictator” of Turkey and create a constitution more to his liking.

    Erdoğan initiated a sectarian war during the second half of 2015 to secure a majority of seats for the AKP at the November 1, 2015 re-election.

    Erdoğan ought to stop burning down the house in order to get his hands on the title of the deed.

    • Ad 11.1

      I have little sympathy for Erdogan given his rule, as I noted above in 3.

      But I find it hard to agree with the author of your link that Erdogan’s brutal style of rule is the necessary cause of the terrorist attacks in Turkey in March. It would certainly be very neat.

      There are alternative causes of instability to consider.

      Perhaps the harshest and longest war the modern world has seen has thrown some pretty nasty people over its Syrian border. Would seem highly likely in fact.

      A certain degree of sustained security in governmental rule could arguably be warranted with Turkey beset by chaos on every border around it. Kurdistan region. Iraq. Armenia. Greece. Syria. Russia breathing down. Saudi Arabia not lifting a finger to help, again.

      Would be pretty hard not to choose sides in that war, and be seen not to choose sides. And yet Turkey has been pretty important in brokering the truces and occasional bits of peace that have broken out. They were going to be on one wrong side or other; either the Assad/Iran/Russia side, or the Saudi/ISIS/US whatever side.

      Turkey has done pretty well without EU support to sustain millions of refugees it now contains. But they put a fair old pressure on its society.

      Turkey’s economy has not been doing well since 2008, despite being touted nearly a decade ago as a rising BRIC. That’s not entirely in Erdogan’s control. Although a lot more of it could be.

      Not to speak too loud about it, but the history of coups in 1960, 1971, and 1980 have been dampened for a while. Erdogan’s style of rule has something to do with that.

      So while it’s convenient right now to make Erdogan the symbol for everything wrong in the society (and I ain’t defending his style of rule as noted in 3), and hence attribute to him some inevitable cause of a coup attempt, I think there’s a bit more going on.

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        Why are you totally ignoring Turkey’s active support of anti-Assad and anti-Kurdish Islamist fighters, including allowing ISIS military units to use Turkey as a logistics, medical and financial base?

  12. Infused 12

    From all accounts it looks good he’s gone.

    • Ad 12.1

      Well fuck.

      Events are in the saddle, and we ride.

    • Ad 12.2

      Nope, looks like the worst is over.

      If so, first time a major Turkish coup has been defeated in decades.

      His purge will be massive.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1

        …and is exactly the sort of witless stupidity that makes coup attempts more likely. Ergodan is a disease.

  13. Sanctuary 13

    Well, if the coup has failed then that is the end of Turkey’s brave experiment to be both a muslim country and a modern secular state. Turkey will now slide into religious radicalism, corruption, and totalitarianism. The Russians will be breaking out the champagne at the return of the sick man of Europe, and the Greeks just got a whole lot more important to NATO. Kemal Ataturk will be weaping in his grave. If you haven’t visited Gallipoli yet, do it soon because Turkey is about to become an unsafe place to be a westerner.

    • Ad 13.1

      Far too early for such sweeping judgements.

      Erdogan’s background is not radically Islamic.
      The failure of the coup is good news for democracy as a principle, and a massive win for the people who took to the streets in support. But also a real wakeup for all nearby countries.

      Erdogan will use this as partially legitimate rationale for purging all sorts. Regrettably that will also include the media, the PKK, and general dissent. He will make the military cower to him. Which is not all bad, particularly given this is the first big coup to be stopped dead in its tracks in decades.

      • Psycho Milt 13.1.1

        Erdogan’s background is not radically Islamic.

        So? Any kind of “Islamic” is toxic to secularism, the rule of law and human rights in Turkey, as witnessed by the guy’s entire time as president. The failure of the coup isn’t any kind of news for democracy, as democracy in Turkey is on the way out whoever wins this. The demise is a bit more obvious if the military win, but that’s about it.

        • Ad

          Shock news: secular governments are not the only effective governments.

          Bring the smelling salts.

          • Colonial Viper

            That’s right, there was effective government in medieval times too. But not democratic ones.

            • Ad

              Plenty of religiously-inclined governments are also democratically elected. Completely secular ones are the exception globally.
              Happy to grant also that there can be too much religion in government.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                too much

                That would be “some”. Yes, I’m aware that several NZ public institutions genuflect to the sky-fairies, and that strangling the last priest will be a slow and painful process. After all, the oldest books in the world point out how religion is all you have left when you’ve given up ethics and morality.

                Good things take time.

                • Ad

                  I’m sorry for your anti-religious bias. It doesn’t become you.

                  Helpfully, the secular minority in this world is rapidly declining.

                  Those who understand the religious impulse understand the post-western world that is well on its way.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Triumphant words indeed. Proud even. My anti religious bias (or any other part of my state of mind) isn’t yours to be sorry for, although I note the insult.

                    Careful, your values are showing.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    And the trend is accelerating.

                    • Ad

                      I’ll probably have to slide from Ad to Adbusters here.

                      For whatever reason, since 9/11 we have seen more and more of the old western presumptions that secularism, and the post-WW2 institutions that built on them (UN, IMF, World Bank, EU etc), corroding and breaking down. And, agreed, that trend is accelerating.

                      It is very easy to see huge rises in less-or-more radical versions of Islam as a repudiation of western values.
                      Repudiation of godless western capitalism.
                      Godless western sexuality.
                      Godless western materialism.
                      Godless western families.
                      Godless western individualism.
                      The new believers get to have a life sufficiently disciplined that it can be sustained despite the total saturation of such biases throughout the MSM and other media against religion in any form.

                      And they get to presume that their values are more powerful than capitalism, communism, state control, intelligence gathering.
                      And they are winning.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I forgot who said it: the most common way people give up their power is by believing that they have none.

                      Therefore the corollary is: the most common way people regain their power is by believing (having faith) that it is theirs.

          • Psycho Milt

            Sure (after all, “effective” also encompasses “effective at suppressing all opposition”). Secular governments are however the only ones in which the rule of law and civil rights have a shit’s show.

            • Ad

              Go right ahead and prove that.

              You should be able to show that all secular democracies always have superior rule of law and civil rights to non-secular democracies, precisely because they are secular.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                “Should” according to what? The Book of Empty Rhetoric?

                • Ad

                  According to PsychoMilt’s claim.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Correction: according to your (deliberate? Probably) misrepresentation. Why are you bearing false witness?

                    • Ad

                      “Secular governments are however the only ones in which the rule of law and civil rights have a shit show.”

                      Go right ahead.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Yes, I know what his claim is and I saw how you attempted to establish false premises for testing it. Try again.

                    • Ad

                      “Secular governments are however the only ones in which the rule of law and civil rights have a shit show.”

                      Go right ahead.
                      Defend that stated proposition from PsychoMilt.
                      You sound keen to.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Now you’ve moved from putting words in his mouth to putting words in mine, As I said: false witness. Toodles.

                    • Ad

                      Neither you nor PsychoMilt were able to defend the claim within the quote.

                      Back to the domestic league for you.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Your glorious victory over your strawman says nothing about PM’s claim. When you attack it, I’m sure someone will brush you off with ease. Again.

              • You should be able to show that all secular democracies always have superior rule of law and civil rights to non-secular democracies, precisely because they are secular.

                “All” secular democracies? I made no claim that secularism necessarily entails democracy, the rule of law and civil rights – only that Islamist governments are incapable of them. (“Islamist” in place of “non-secular” here because there’s currently only one religion that’s also a political ideology).

                Can you name even one Islamist government for which democracy, the rule of law and civil rights bear comparison with the world’s secular governments?

                • Ad

                  I missed you making it particular to Islam.

                  “Secular governments are however the only ones in which the rule of law and civil rights have a shit show.”

                  It’s up to you to prove your claim.

                  • In Vino

                    Perhaps it is an idealistic, utopian claim, in that it has not happened yet. I could also point out that I have never seen a religious regime achieve anything like the ideal. Galileo comes to mind, and I have little confidence in any government that is not secular. Religion is fine for individuals, but is poison for state government. Unless you want dogma, indoctrination, etc.
                    Mind you, capitalism gives us roughly that anyway. The marketers become the priests.

                    • Ad

                      So your point is what?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And how does that compare with what we are slaving under right now i.e. where the financiers, bankers and economists have been elevated to our Faux High Priests?

                    • In Vino

                      Ad seemed to miss the point, so thanks CV. Just hoping this post comes in at the right place.

                  • Well, OK, non-secular in general then – Modi’s pushing it pretty close in India, after all.

                    My claim is based on three things:

                    By definition, a non-secular state doesn’t have freedom of religion. One religion is advanced over other religions that citizens might follow, so civil rights are in the bin.

                    Second, a non-secular state necessarily involves enshrining at least some of the prescriptions and proscriptions of a religion in legislation (if it doesn’t, it might as well be a secular state). If rules are arbitrarily enshrined in law based on magic woo rather than will of the people, rule of law by definition can’t exist. And if religious rules are imposed on citizens who aren’t adherents of the religion, civil rights are again removed.

                    Third, a non-secular state usually involves the elevation of religious authorities to positions of political power, without due process. That’s both democracy and rule of law in the bin.

                    If there’s a way to create a non-secular state that doesn’t involve the above, nobody’s come up with it yet. Certainly Erdogan has no intention of being the first.

                    • Ad

                      I’ve run out of comment tabs now.

                      Try this as a post, stabilize your definitions, and let’s get to it.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      The legitimacy of a theocracy is likely to hang on its popular support.

                      “If rules are arbitrarily enshrined in law based on magic woo rather than will of the people, rule of law by definition can’t exist.”

                      If the religion is practically ubiquitous the ‘magic woo’ based law will reflect a popular or authentic conception of justice.

                      You have perhaps a romantic view of the integrity of legislatures – ours pass laws with great frequency that do not and could not attract a popular mandate. The Kantian process of common law gets little more than a disrespectful nod nowadays.

                      The problem with theocracies, aside from the corruption and character faults which plague all governments, is when pretending to religious virtue becomes a ground of competition within the state hierarchy. When that happens people are promoted on zealotry and are likely to impose more stringent impositions upon people than is compatible with the culture. Arguably some variations of political correctness can become a similar area of competition.

            • Stuart Munro

              Not all theocracies have been terribly oppressive – Tibetan rule was relatively benign by all accounts. Religion is largely what people make of it – and the same criticism can be made of democracy.

              • Ad

                And one could argue that the worst and most murderously geonocidal states we’ve ever seen were the most rigorously secular. USSR. China. Cambodia. Germany.

                • In Vino

                  Hitler’s regime was cuddled up to Catholicism. He was not an atheist. “Gott mit uns.” Take Germany out of that group please, and stop projecting your wishful thinking. None of those regimes you quote have done worse than religious ones – only equally badly.
                  But cheer up – I am sure that somebody somewhere will do even worse.

                  • Ad

                    Take Germany out if you like.
                    You can argue the point later with Bonhoeffer.

                    I’m not the one blaming religion for bad government.

                    • In Vino

                      Nor was Bonhoeffer an atheist. Hard to argue against him. I do not remember him accusing the Nazi regime of pushing atheism: just cruel immorality. Or amorality.

                      It would be nice to know who we should blame for bad government. I fear it is us.

              • Colonial Viper

                Iranian theocracy is scientifically advanced, intellectually liberal and civically modern. Compared to Saudi Arabia, anyway.

                • Stuart Munro

                  In some countries, like Algeria, where the population is overwhelmingly Muslim, a state that does not reflect that would be almost improper. The early European democracies were emphatically Christian but still made social progress. It is fair to press theocracies for tolerance however.

                  Saudi is complicated – at once liberal and tolerant and viciously conservative. The northern coastal area is relatively westernised. The royal family do not lead the faith however, so theocracy is not quite the term. I think psychologically one might describe Saudi a bit like a Mongol horde – consisting of highly mobile tribal groups with rather idiosyncratic cultures all under the ruling family.

                  We hear nothing good about Wahabism in the west, but Wahabi himself seems to have been a bit Rousseau like with respect to ruler’s duties to their people – so the Saudi state is generous to its citizens and in terms of distributive justice an example of a better managed oil state than Venezuela for example.

                  Have to be a bit careful in stating “Saudi did X”, when it may be “conservative minorities in Saudi did X”. America would not like to be broad-brushed as Westboro Baptist or the Waco cult.

                  • In some countries, like Algeria, where the population is overwhelmingly Muslim, a state that does not reflect that would be almost improper.

                    Why do you think the population is overwhelmingly Muslim in such countries? Hint: look up “apostasy in Islam.”

                    • Stuart Munro

                      The electoral results for FIS, the government of which Ahmed Zaoui was a part, were very strong, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_legislative_election,_1991 You’ll notice that the balloting system meant FLN as the lesser third party would have secured no further seats. I don’t see any legitimacy in such an action from a government retaining less than 5% of seats.

                      Terrorism in Algeria was particularly fraught – the government forces were as implicated in atrocities as the rebels, they had a reputation for torturing or disappearing people who reported terrorist activity. A friend of my friend returned home once to find pieces of his wife and children hanging from wires in the trees.

                      Yes, I’m aware of the apostasy issue with Islam – it is the kind of issue that makes the separation of church and state desirable. But I’m inclined to think that if one is serious about democracy then the views of very substantial majorities must be respected. FIS certainly commanded a very substantial majority – and by voter choice, not by the draconian enforcement of apostasy laws.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Tibetan rule was relatively benign by all accounts.

                Are you sure about that?

                • Well, “relatively” is of course a relative term. Benign in comparison to other theocracies, maybe?

                  • Stuart Munro

                    You may be setting the bar a little high – democracies and monarchies are not without problems. But not all theocracies are Aztec empires or Borgia Catholicism – asserting that they are manifestly wrong may be a step too far.

      • Sanctuary 13.1.2

        In the case of Turkey, it is most definitely NOT good news for democracy as a principle. Do you know anything about Turkish history? Basically, Ataturk created the modern Turkish state as a modern, secular institution out of the ruins of the corrupt and medieval Ottoman empire. Ataturk then made the army the guardian of that secular state.

        Erdogan is mobilising rural conservative Islam against the secular urban classes. That would be fine, if he was committed to democracy, the rule of law and freedom of speech but he isn’t. He is an incipient (probably full blown now) dictator who passes laws to stop people making fun of him.

        Assuming Errdogan has defeated the coup, he will move to become a full blown dictator. And the usual cycle of corruption, mob rule, economic collapse and the use of xenophobia as an excuse for the regimes failings will now take place. And we will see the flight of the skilled secular middle class who will easily fit into western societies.

        The Russians will be absolutely delighted. We are witnessing the collapse back into Ottoman orientalism of one of the southern bulwarks against Russian expansion. I hope Roger Fenton is dusting out his photography wagon, because history is about to repeat.

        The Greeks will be most pleased. They’ve just become too important to fail on NATOs southern flank. If I were them, I’d be going back to the Troika saying they just got dealt a stronger hand.

        Everyone else will feel sad. Turkey is a beautiful place and full of wonderful people, but only dark times beckon.

        • Ad

          Comparing Erdogan to Ataturk doesn’t serve any purpose.
          Ataturk had to clean up after the spectacular defeat and collapse of the entire Ottoman empire. It’s an entirely different state now, and different context.

          I have no need to defend Erdogan. He is indeed a thug. But defeating a coup as big as that needs extremely decisive government at all levels.

          What we have narrowly missed today however is an expansion of chaos in the Islamic-governed world from Pakistan to Nigeria. A small blessing.

          • Colonial Viper

            Again, you completely ignore Erdogan’s role in feeding Islamic extremism in Iraq and Syria, as well as shooting down a Russian jet in an attempt to involve NATO into a conflict against Russia. Chaos is Erdogan’s middle name.

            • Ad

              Erdogan could have supported the local Damascus florist and been shown to support extremists.

              You probably have more detail than I on who are the Syrian good extremists to support, and who the bad extremists to support. From where it looks to me, supporting any faction in Syria is supporting an extremist. The CIA couldn’t find eight actual individuals to call moderate, and support them. I’m sure you can generate some greater moral certainty for me on who should be supporting whom there.

              • Colonial Viper

                The answer is pretty simple and pretty cheap, you conditionally support the legitimate Syrian government of al-Assad until all the Islamist groups (or alphabet soup of terrorists as Moscow calls them) have given up arms, then you transition him out of power via democratic elections and set him and his family up in a $10M condo in Switzerland.

                • …the legitimate Syrian government of al-Assad…

                  Comedy gold.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    There is none other, despite the regime changing dreams of the western empire of chaos.

                    Who would love to see the black ISIS flag raised over Damascus and al-Assad rectally reemed by a knife, like Gaddafi was, in their previous project Libya.

                • Ad

                  I knew it would be simple.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It’s the plan that Russia has been trying to advance for over a year now.

                    Focus on getting rid of ISIS and the rest of the Islamists first, then move Assad on, maintaining a democratic secular government throughout.

                    The main problem here is that Turkey, the US and Saudi Arabia quite like their Fundamental Islamist proxies in Syria.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Your dire predictions have the ring of truth to them, and yet I cannot help but wonder whether the people who faced down tanks today are simply going to go along with it.

          I suppose they might all be Ergodan’s centre-right thugs…

          Es funktioniert auf die gleiche Art und Weise in jedem Land, but those good Germans didn’t have Facebook..

          • b waghorn

            “I suppose they might all be Ergodan’s centre-right thugs…”
            They might also know that stability under a thug is preferred to chaos in a vacumm like their neighbours.

  14. Tory 14

    This has Ergodans fingerprints all over it, no parliamentary majority so why not set up a coup followed by a state of emergency/enhanced parliamentary powers followed by a purge of the military. Turkey is heading back to the stone age and no doubt increased military strikes against the Kurds.

    • In Vino 14.1

      Such cynicism – yet I fear that you may be right. No pun intended.

    • Graeme 14.2

      Yeah, it’s a very un-Turkish coup, generally the Turkish military are very good at planing and executing them. The place has a history of running off the rails when operating as a democracy and getting put back on the track by the military. It’s brutal, but effective.

      I spent the evening reading up on the history of them, there’s been 4 since 1960. In the wikipedia article on the last one in 1997 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Turkish_military_memorandum there’s this quote, which I thought summed up the role the military plays in Turkish society well,

      “Çevik Bir, one of the generals who planned the process, said “In Turkey we have a marriage of Islam and democracy. (…) The child of this marriage is secularism. Now this child gets sick from time to time. The Turkish Armed Forces is the doctor which saves the child. Depending on how sick the kid is, we administer the necessary medicine to make sure the child recuperates”.[14]”

      If this is a put up job by Ergodan, expect the real thing very shortly

    • RedLogix 14.3

      @ Tory

      I’ve held back from saying anything about these events. Nothing passes any kind of sniff test.

    • Paul 14.4

      From the Guardian

      ‘Elaborating on the idea that Erdoğan may have staged the coup attempt, Aslandogan said Friday’s events did not match the pattern of previous coups.

      “The coup appears to be poorly planned,” he said, “very poorly executed and everything seems to be playing into Erdoğan’s hands. There are many big question marks of how [this attempted coup] was executed.”’


      • Colonial Viper 14.4.1

        Military units saying they were ordered out of base on impromptu exercises ordered by superiors…then suddenly finding themselves part of a coup.

  15. One Two 15

    No chance the coup fails if it were ligitimate

    Mark Thatcher must have been involved

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      A very strange and inept coup. Internet and media kept broadcasting. Top 100 Erdogan officials – including Erdogan himself – still at large instead of held incommunicado in secret location.

      And now the counter-coup is in full force with thousands of judges, prosecutors, other govt officials purged out of the system, to be replaced by Erdogan Islamists.

      BTW Erdogan must already had all these purge name lists pre-drawn up before the coup. No way you investigate who was involved in the coup and identify 3000 or 4000 conspirators names over night.

  16. Chooky 16

    ‘Astonishing NATO nations did not come to aid of Erdogan govt’


    …”It’s interesting that the Prime Minister so quickly blamed the Gulen movement. Now, who is this movement? The cleric lives in the US. Well, that is the movement that reportedly funds the Hillary Clinton campaign. Certainly there will be people in Ankara not wishing for a Clinton presidency anytime soon given that so many supporters right now are being arrested. There are ties here that show how complex the events of the past 12 hours are….

    ‘Turkey coup attempt: Erdoğan demands US arrest exiled cleric Gülen amid crackdown on army – as it happened’


    (Recently Turkey had been trying to resume friendly relations with Russia

    ‘Putin Ends Russian Tourism Ban to Turkey After Erdogan Talks’


    ‘Erdoğan has apologised for downing of Russian jet, Kremlin says’


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/28/erdogan-russia-turkey-foreign-policy )

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      “Astonishing” to anyone who believes what they read on rt, perhaps.

      On Earth, neither Ergodan – nor anyone else in the Turkish government asked for any such aid, which would be a prerequisite for deploying it.

      I wonder who profits from such feeble understanding of international law.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        On Earth, neither Ergodan – nor anyone else in the Turkish government asked for any such aid, which would be a prerequisite for deploying it.

        How did you get access to Turkish diplomatic communiques?

        Or do you mean that the Turkish govt didn’t use CNN to ask for NATO assistance so clearly they didn’t?

        • Paul

          Still don’t understand why a coup leader wouldn’t wait till 4 a.m. to start their move. More chance of surprise, surely?

          • Colonial Viper

            It was a very unusually disorganised coup. With no apparent coup leader appearing on TV and no apparent explanation to the public why they should support it. It appears to have involved less than half of military personnel.

            It totally failed to apprehend and isolate (and execute?) Erdogan and his 100 top lieutenants.

            And not turning off the internet and social media? Come on guys, this is not the 1980s any more.

            Everyone who launches a coup knows that if it fails, you will be up against a stone block wall, guaranteed.

            So it is very surprising that it was such a half arsed effort, and essentially over within a few hours.

            Even more surprising is Erdogan pointing the fingers at the USA. Which makes you wonder if the neocons, or the CIA, or some other faction of the US system, played a role somewhere.

            • Bastables

              The “unusually disorganised” canard for explaining a failure after the fact does not square with the accounts of witness to the attempted coup.


              “But as Turkey picks up the pieces after the failed coup, new details are emerging of how it unfolded, and just how close the military intervention came to succeeding. Many observers have labelled the attempt amateurish, but accounts by officials contradict this characterisation, describing it as well organised and very nearly successful.”

              “President Erdoğan himself was at the resort of Marmaris, but had left the residence where he was staying some 20 minutes before coup plotters attacked it. Around 25 soldiers in helicopters descended on a hotel there on ropes, shooting, in an apparent attempt to seize him just after Erdoğan had left, broadcaster CNN Turk said.”

              and bits were they were successful:
              “The top counter-terrorism official responsible for Turkey’s campaign against Islamic State did go to a “meeting” at the presidential palace in Ankara. He was later found with his hands tied behind his back, shot in the neck, according to a senior official.”

              • Colonial Viper

                What would “eye witness accounts” know about how well put together the coup was?

                The coup plotters:

                1) Were unable to lock down the capital under martial law.
                2) Allowed major broadcasters to keep broadcasting for at least an hour even after the coup was launched.
                3) Allowed the internet and social media to keep operating throughout the night.
                4) Did not isolate (or have on board) Erdogan’s centres of power including his cabinet, his police headquarters, his intelligence service head quarters.
                5) Had no one to front the coup to communicate with the public.
                6) Failed to shoot down Erdogan’s plane which was in the air for much of the night and even had its civilian location transponder on.
                7) Was only able to mobilise only a tiny fraction of Turkey’s several hundred thousand strong army.

                How do your eyewitness accounts match to these facts?

                • Bastables

                  There are several successful coups which did not “lock down” the capital, Suharto’s attempt in Jakarta merely relied on having sized the centre monuments with Kostrad and Kopassus units and taking over a single radio station. The ARVN coup of 1963 seems to have similarities to the recent Turkish one in that conspirators held “security” meetings briefings where loyalist officers were taken into custody under false pretenses. If as in the case of the recent Turkish coup officers/ministers did not turn up to the meetings loyalist forces would not have been paralysed by lack of leadership. The guardian story quite clearly shows how things shifted in Turkey as loyalist members of the government/police/army failed to be arrested/assassinated unlike the ARVN 1963 coup.

                  The ARVN coup of 1963 much like Suharto’s “counter” coup relied on early successes with various factions and individuals falling inline, the former in a drawn out process of labeling persons communist and purging them.

                  Failing to shoot down Erdogan’s plane or eliminating him earlier in the hotel helo raid indicate issues poor execution and/or lack of luck as opposed to “highly disorganised”. Failure is not the same as “highly disorganised”.

                  The ARVN rebel pre-taped coup declaration radio message did not begin till 1630hr, 6+hrs from it’s recording. Suharto did not declare his “counter” coup till 2100hr on his day. Both relied on sizing just the national radio stations and both only made their public declarations after they were certain of their success.

                  The Internet (including social media) is a new ingredient, and may have been the thing that really turned the tide, including a hilarious medieval throw back call to prayers from Mosques as a result. I don’t see how anyone can shut these things down never mind by small sections of coup plotters operating in secrecy until a decisive day? Cut all power? Explode a nuclear weapon to emp every piece of electronic equipment including your own? Have sections or detachments tasked with destroy/incapacitate every transmitter in the AO? Have a entire regimental sized signals unit tasked with jamming every frequency and no one noticing you vetting every single cross attachment to your oversized Electronic warfare regiment with it’s equipment and power needs, while hoping loyalist units do not jump onto your own clear frequencies and then jam your units while trying to transmit themselves?

                  Read the guardian story, and remember to keep in mind that the chaos of a army in action even in a coup does not denote “unusually disorganized” especially when it fails in it’s objectives, as any reading of successful coups tend to highlight mistakes and missed chances even on the “winning” side.

                  Most coups do not mobilize more than a tiny fraction of their larger militaries . . . as they tend to be factional in nature and rely on secrecy of a coterie to avoid exposure.

                  Your facts are not historically rooted, nor seems to draw on any experience of Military conduct/capabilities or even reading the guardian story.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          As you rightly point out, rt must have access to Turkish diplomatic communiques


  17. Bastables 17

    It might be a good idea to include actual Turkish media reports such as http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/anatomy-of-a-failed-coup-attempt.aspx?PageID=238&NID=101705&NewsCatID=409

  18. Paul 18

    Why start a coup at 9.30 p.m on a Friday night?

  19. XU100 BIST NATIONAL 100 78664 -4161.71 -5.13 -3.27 Jul/18
    Meanwhile back at the Turkish stock exchange as at 12:56 pm Monday. down 5.13? with a yearly average down of 3.27? what ever all that means?

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