Erdoğan’s ‘Reichstag fire’

Matthew Karnitschnig writes: Even before the last shots were fired in the small hours of Saturday, it was clear that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wouldn’t let a coup attempt go to waste.

Whatever faint hopes there may have been in Washington and Europe that he would capitalize on the outrage over the attempted putsch among the Turkish population and the political opposition to show a commitment to democratic ideals quickly faded, however.

Within hours, the purges of the judiciary and military had begun. While it could take months to determine what this “cleansing” will mean for the future of Turkey, this much is certain: Ankara’s fraught relations with the West just got a lot more complicated.

“He had a golden opportunity to change the narrative,” said Jonathan Eyal, associate director at the Royal United Services Institute, a U.K. think tank. “Instead, he chose the path of vengeance and score-settling. That will make it far more difficult for Western allies to stand by him.” [Continue reading…]

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