Erdoğan may be divisive, but a coup in Turkey would have been devastating

Fawaz A Gerges writes: Of all the coverage of the attempted military coup against the Erdoğan government, the many “what if” have received hardly any scrutiny. For instance, if the coup had succeeded, the fallout would have been seismic for Turkey, the Middle East and the western security architecture, particularly Nato.

Even die-hard opponents of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, including secularists and the Kurds, were vehemently opposed to the coup for fear of the unrest and instability it would have undoubtedly caused at home and in the region. The Turkish people do not have fond memories of four military interventions in Turkish politics in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997, which exacted a heavy toll on state and society.

If the uprising had succeeded, it would have been likely that the military would have suspended the democratic process in Turkey and brutally persecuted Erdoğan and his allies, plunging the country into civil strife. The deep historical tensions that exist between Turkey’s military, which views its role as the guardian of the secular state, and Erdoğan, whose AKP party has its roots in moderate Islam, would have escalated into all-out war. Entrenched in both Syria and Iraq, Islamic State and al-Qaida would have found a fertile breeding ground in another conflict zone. Political instability in Turkey would have been a godsend to Isis jihadis. [Continue reading…]

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