The coup in favor of the government: how Erdogan is exploiting the failure of the coup

A supporter of the current government poses at the captured tanks of the rebels near the Turkish Parliament in Ankara

The coup did not take place

In the afternoon on Sunday, July 17, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, speaking on television, stated that the life of the country after a day and a half of uncertainty is back to normal. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attending the funerals of people killed during the attempted military coup, has vowed to continue fighting the virus that led to the coup in all state institutions. Erdogan once again in recent days noted that during the coup responsible group, headed by spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen (the last 17 years living in the United States and is opponent of Erdogan). Erdogan noted that gulenist managed to destroy the army, and now arrests are being conducted at all levels of the army hierarchy.

The victims of the coup in Turkey began at least 290 people. On charges of a coup d’etat was arrested about 6 million people — primarily the military and the judiciary. Among the detainees were several high-ranking commanders.

A mutiny occurred on the night of Saturday. The first official recognition of the Turkish capital of Ankara, the attempt of a military coup (about 23:00 MSK), made by Prime Minister Yildirim. The Prime Minister assured that the authorities keep the situation under control and not allow the rebels to gain the upper hand, but after about a half hour Turkish television channels quoted the e-mailed appeal coup. On behalf of the organization “Council for peace in the country,” the military announced that completely took power into their own hands. Their actions, they explained the necessity of restoring constitutional order, rights and freedoms of man and the rule of law, which, in their opinion, had been violated. In a statement, “the Council for peace in the country, announced the introduction of martial law and a curfew.

President erdoğan, who at the time of the coup was on vacation outside of the capital, soon found the opportunity to speak on television — the President’s speech was broadcast via iPhone using FaceTime. Erdogan urged ordinary citizens to go to the area in order to resist the coup. In the end, the call Erdogan responded to tens of thousands of people that determined the failure of the coup.

At night, the situation in Ankara closer to the fighting. Helicopters of rebels attacked ground targets, tanks surrounded several government buildings, including Parliament house and the TV went to work in a restricted mode, some time only showing the weather forecast. Supporters of the coup for a few hours managed to occupy some buildings in Ankara, including the building of the Turkish General staff, taking hostage its chief Hulusi ACAR.

However, at about 3 a.m. Moscow time, the representative of the National intelligence of Turkey stated that the coup attempt failed, the building of the General staff released, and the most involved in the events of the soldiers arrested.

Arrived that night in the Istanbul airport, Erdogan said that the use of the coup attempt to purge the army. Erdogan resorted to the usual in recent years, the rhetoric, accusing him of attempted coup “parallel structure” led by Gulen. According to Erdogan, a network of “parallel structures” covers the most important state institutions of Turkey.

The motivation of the military

The reasons for the military coup should be sought in the policy of Erdogan and the ruling justice and development aimed at the Islamization of secular Turkey, writes The Wall Street Journal. In the last time Erdogan relied on the military as never during his 14-year rule. This is due to activation of the rebels of the Kurdistan workers ‘ party and the General growth of the terrorist threat (last year in Turkey have been about 50 attacks).

Now Turkey has all three factors, against which the country traditionally takes place strengthening the military on the political scene, noted in his article for the Carnegie Moscow center in February Turkologist Paul Shlykov. According to the expert, we are talking about external threat, the activation of the Kurdish movement and the political crisis. It is precisely the Kurdish issue until recently has been seen as a possible trigger for action by the military.

To take the situation into their own hands the military would spur, in particular, the increase in the number of attacks and out-of-control situation in the Western cities of Turkey, wrote in may 2016 in his column for Foreign Policy, the head of the Center for Turkish studies Middle East Institute in Washington gionul Tol.

Among the various versions of the incident are those who say that military action was only a pre-emptive against the repression that Erdogan planned. In particular, the influential Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, citing an unnamed source said that the revolution began because of a leak of information that at 4:00 on 16 July, was to begin a large-scale operation to sweep the army from representatives of the “parallel structure.”

There is a version according to which the coup from the beginning was “a hoax” that would help to unleash Erdogan’s hands to consolidate its control over the armed forces and the General strengthening of authoritarianism. In his microblog in the Twitter the correspondent of the publication Politico Ryan Hat has led the opinion of their Turkish source, who said that events on July 15-16 was the “fake coup” that would help “fake fighter for democracy” (Erdogan). According to the source, it is likely that after the coup will be followed by early elections, which Erdogan guarantees that the incredible majority of votes. In turn, this will cause another 10-15 years “elective dictatorship”.

Experts agree that the coup failed because the military did not support either the opposition (in particular, the Kurds have publicly condemned the coup attempt), nor the masses. According to the expert of the Moscow centre Carnegie Alexey Malashenko, “they didn’t realize how popular Erdogan”. In addition, for a coup in a country such as Turkey needs the leader, the expert adds. “Live must be the person in uniform, not some girl,” said he, remembering the broadcast message of the military at the state TV channel TRT.

Photo gallery
A military coup in Turkey. Photos



On the night of July 16, in Turkey there was a military coup attempt. In Ankara, the helicopters of the Turkish army attacked government buildings, in particular the General staff and the headquarters of the intelligence…

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Impact on relations with the West

The coup has created additional tension in relations between Turkey and the United States. The Turkish foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said about the involvement in the coup with a military NATO base in Incirlik. Flights of military aircraft of the United States, which was made from the base combat sorties against “Islamic state”, was almost a day suspended, and the head of the base Bekir Erkan, Wang was arrested.

Join to reporters in Istanbul on the afternoon of 17 July, Erdogan, in enough rigid form has demanded from the USA to pass Gulen Turkish side. “If we are strategic partners — answer the request of your strategic partner. When you like, so we gave you the terrorist, we did it. Now we are saying give us this guy from our list of terrorists.”

Secretary of state John Kerry in his talks with his Turkish counterpart, said that insinuations about the US role in the failed coup are absolutely false. He also warned that such statements harm relations between Washington and Ankara.

The US and EU condemned the coup attempt. President Barack Obama and Kerry supported the “democratically elected government of Turkey.” EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy Frederica Mogherini called on all parties in Turkey to “show restraint and respect for democratic institutions.”

Erdogan is not popular among Western leaders, but the sudden prospect of the overthrow of the President, Parliament and the Turkish democratic system would have on Washington and Brussels are a quick and sobering effect,” says Guardian columnist Simon Tisdall.

“Erdogan had disagreements with the US regarding the Kurds and Syria, with the EU on the issue of mass migration and refugees, with the Arab neighbors and Israel against the jihadists, Russia — about the violation of boundaries. His actions concerning the matters of human rights and freedom of the media, faced with growing criticism in the West, ” says Tisdall. But the sudden appearance nobody elected the military junta in the country, which is a key strategic ally and NATO member, is [for the West] is much worse.” Browser Guardian predicts the period of support, the Turkish President from the Western countries, which before was not.

“In the American media called Turkey a key partner of the United States in the middle East. Erdogan is seen as a politician with their ambitions, intractable, but it is not seen as the enemy, so the claim [of Turkey] to the United States — is not an indicator turn Turkey to other side, and the anti-American rhetoric is more a product of internal use”, — said the head of the St. Petersburg centre of studying of the modern Near East Gumer Isaev.

Erdogan uses the rebellion as the only reason for the purges in the army, said the commentator, but to strengthen its “undeclared war” against the Kurds in the South-East, strengthen the prosecution of Pro-Kurdish and other opposition politicians (although they condemned the coup), to strengthen their power by making “controversial” amendments to the Constitution and to strengthen the persecution of the independent media, journalists and scientists. In such a scenario, according to Tisdall, the President will quickly lose the support of Western countries, and the solidarity shown towards him the people on the streets will subside.

It is unlikely that what happened in Turkey events will impact on its foreign policy, but, of course, will affect the domestic, stated in an interview with RBC Irina Zvyagelskaya, chief research fellow, Center for Arab studies Institute of Oriental studies. Under attack Erdogan can get not only military, but also other groups whom he considers disloyal, she points out.

Military coup attempt in Turkey

In direct contact with us via video phone, the scientist-orientalist Alexander Sotnichenko.

How to change relations with Russia

Russia along with the US and the EU condemned the coup attempt. 17 July the President of Russia Vladimir Putin met with Erdogan telephone conversation in which he expressed condolences in connection with death of people and wished a speedy restoration of order. The presidents also reaffirmed their intention to meet in person, than before we agreed during a telephone conversation in late June. According to the press-Secretary of Putin, Dmitry Peskov, the meeting may be held in early August.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara has sharply deteriorated in November last year, when the Turkish military shot down a Russian su-34 bombers allegedly violated Turkish airspace. Putin called Turkey’s actions a “stab in the back”. Cooperation with Turkish authorities was almost aborted. The effects of the incident — the introduction of Russian food embargo, the ban on organized tourism in Turkey, the prohibition of Charter communication — a serious blow to the Turkish economy. In December last year, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Mehmet Simsek said that the sanctions could cost Turkish economy 0.3–0.4% of GDP, or $9 billion.

29 Jun Erdogan on the phone apologized for the downed bomber and expressed the desire to normalize the situation. Moscow apology accepted. The day before the attempted coup, the Deputy foreign Ministers of Russia and Turkey Alexei Meshkov and Ali Kemal Aydin discussed in Moscow the prospects of a gradual recovery in the cooperation between the two countries including the resumption of political dialogue and expanding trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian cooperation. The Russian foreign Ministry said that Moscow is ready to work with the current government, including “to the search for effective solutions to pressing international issues, primarily related to countering the threat of terrorism.”

Qualitative changes in Russian-Turkish relations will not happen, but the trend after the apology, Erdogan will continue, believes Malashenko. “On the one hand, after the attempted coup, Erdogan has strengthened its position, with the other he understands that unnecessary problems don’t need him now,” — said the expert.

Political warming may affect the economic cooperation between the two countries (see).

According to Malashenko, Turkey will be shown more tolerance towards Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — “this was the main problem in Russian-Turkish relations”. “Turks for a long time he was criticized and hated. We were accused Turkey that they are accomplices to ISIS, and in the end it turned out that it is not, so it’s only a matter of interpretations”, says Malashenko.

The attempted coup and accusations of Washington’s involvement in it is unlikely to seriously weaken the relationship between the US and Turkey and to spur the process of restoring relations with Russia, Isaev said. According to him, the Russian leadership does not trust Erdogan, “there is still residue after the events associated with the plane.” “The fact that Erdogan found himself in a difficult situation in connection with the coup, does not negate the fact that Russia and Turkey have significant political differences,” — recalls the expert.

Russian projects in Turkey

According to the Federal customs service (FCS), the trade turnover between Russia and Turkey in 2015 amounted to $23.4 billion In the first four months of 2016 he fell more than $18 billion to $4.8 billion Exports of Russia to Turkey has decreased by 43%, import from Turkey — more than two times. Major assets in Turkey of Russian business a little bit.

Gas

Turkey is the second export market for Gazprom after Germany. In 2015, the monopoly supplies to Turkey 26.9 billion cubic meters in 2014, a little more — 27.3 billion cubic meters), or 55% of its needs. According to the source RBC, Gazprom, gas supplies from Russia to Turkey are in operation, and on July 14-15, even slightly increased. Gas is supplied to Turkey via Ukraine in the TRANS-Balkan gas pipeline and the Blue stream gas pipeline, which runs under the Black sea.

In December 2014, Gazprom and Turkish Botas signed a Memorandum on building a gas pipeline across the Black sea “Turkish stream” capacity of 63 billion cubic meters. m. However, in the past year due to political problems the project was actually frozen. According to senior analyst of Sberbank CIB Valery Nesterov, prospects for the resumption of the project, but not more than one thread of the pipe. Turkey, like Europe, is taking steps to diversify gas suppliers, it is difficult to hope that Russian gas deliveries in the country will continue to grow significantly, says Nesterov.

Fuel

Significant player in the Turkish market — LUKOIL. The company owns in Turkey, more than 600 filling stations, occupying about 7% of the market. The Turkish market oriented refineries in Bulgaria and Romania, but plans to participate in construction of a refinery in Turkey, the company refused. According to Nesterov, LUKOIL has no significant prospects for growth, fuelling business in the country, as it doesn’t own oil refineries.

Energy

In 2010 was signed the Russian-Turkish intergovernmental agreement on the construction of “Rosatom” NPP “Akkuyu” in Turkey. After the deterioration of relations, Erdogan said that this will not affect the construction of nuclear power plants. But energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the issue of implementation of the project remains open. The representative of Rosatom told RBC that while work is continuing on the preparation of documents for justification of the license.

“Inter RAO UES” owns in Turkey gas-fired power plant Trakya Elektrik. The Russian company refused to comment on the impact of the conflict on the Turkish business. At the end of may 2016 in a conference call with investors, a company representative said that Trakya Elektrik shows good results and sell it “inter RAO UES” has no plans.

Air

Because of the ban on flights to Turkey, Charter operators could lose at least 15 billion rubles, counted Director General of the Agency Pososhok.ru Cyril faminskii. To compensate for lost income, they had to develop other areas: the Crimea, Krasnodar Krai, as well as Croatia, Montenegro and Bulgaria. According to the head of analytical Department of Agency “AviaPort” Oleg Panteleeva, the lifting of the ban Charter flights to Turkey will not compensate airlines for the drop in passenger numbers on international flights in General.