Friday, July 15, 2016

Nations In Distress

Martial law declared in Turkey after coup attempt - UPI.com
UPI reports: "Civil unrest took hold in the streets of Turkey late Friday after members of the nation's military attempted to forcibly seize power in a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime. The coup attempt occurred in the capital, Ankara, and in Istanbul around 10 p.m. local time Friday -- plunging the nation into a chaotic power grab for control of Turkey's government. Hours into the overthrow attempt, both sides claimed the upper hand in the struggle."

Comment: I'm not sure how the media will spin this, but from my perspective, a military coup in Turkey could be a GOOD thing. Let me explain.

As I've noted in past blog posts, the elected government in Turkey is led by a man who is taking Turkey down an Islamist path and he has become increasingly autocratic and authoritarian.  This is noteworthy because modern Turkey was founded as a secular republic even though Turkey is a majority Muslim country. To many observers, President Erdogan has done everything he could to undermine secular institutions (like the free press) and promote Islam.

The military in Turkey, on the other hand, has long considered itself to be the guardian of secular rule and has a history of stepping in from time to time. So, if this is a course correction, a return to the traditional secular character of modern Turkey, this is indeed a good thing.

Let's also consider that President Erdogan has not joined the war against the Islamic State with the enthusiasm that his NATO partners would like and has allowed Turkey's border with Syria to be a porous border for Islamist fighters going to fight for IS in Syria and Iraq and also returning and going into Europe to plot attacks. It's very likely that a military government, even an interim junta, would would be much more assertive in attacking the Islamic State than the Erdogan government.

This is a fluid situation and we should watch carefully as events unfold.

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