I am seeing so much unhelpful verbage vomited out by the cottage-industry jihadologists like Shadi Hamid on the failed Turkish coup that I have to correct the record. First, this is an enormous blow to Barack Obama and the US covert plan to create a “moderate” Islam (See Rand). Second, the failure of the coup was utterly predictable in the sense that ever since the Sisi coup in Egypt Erdogan has been preparing for an attempt like this, and probably even before, given the history of military coups in Turkey.
One of the most important things Erdogan has done was the formation and fierce support of loyal religious police and intelligence services to counter the military. The police and intel agencies subscribe to a traditional conservative islamic ideology which is very different from Güllenism– which is a kind of reform or “pluralist” Islam designed by Rand Corporation (see Fixing Islam) and covertly promoted by the US.
Police praying. So here is the first difference: Sisi had both the military and the police, and the intelligence branch on his side. But Erdogan had the support of loyal police and intelligence forces. This is why we saw the putschists attacking not just the presidential palace and parliament, but Police and Intelligence Headquarters. When the military coupists fired on the crowd the attempt was finished– the Egypt military never fired on the crowds in Tahir– nothing deligitimizes a coup attempt like live fire on civilians.
Although the elements that made up Sisi’s coup are roughly equivalent to the turkish putschists– secularists, military, deep state– there is a major difference btwn the islamic defectors (Noor Party in Egypt) and the turkish islamic defectors (Güllenists). That is, public support by KSA. Although the US was secretly very much in favor of the coup in Turkey, it could not be seen as publicly supporting it for a variety of reasons: NATO, Incirlik base, Syrian refugees, etc. Obama had hoped for an eventual “soft” coup and the ascendency of güllenist “reform” Islam– this is now delayed for at least 50 yrs. Who knows what Obama had to promise Erdogan to get Incirlik opened again before IS slaughtered all his kurdish mercenaries. But if Erdogan really wanted Gülen I am positive Obama would have had to give him up. The failed coup also showcased Incirlik value as hostage– it hosts some 50+ NATO nukes and is the lichpin of Obama’s kurdish mercenary protection plan.
I don’t think its in Erdogan’s advantage to extradite Gülen and try him– what he is doing is much more powerful– purging guellinsm from the military, the judiciary, and most importantly from academe. In Egypt Mubarak currated appointments of jurists to Al Azhar for 30 years– creating a sort of statist reform Islam that Sisi has been able to exploit. Now even Gullenist intellectuals are barred from leaving the country. Erdogan is simply using Gülen to embarrass Obama. The overture to Russia is just insurance. Obama thought he could bully/persuade Erdogan into doing any thing Obama wanted– that relationship is shattered now. Erdogan is rightly suspicious, and will be even more careful going forward.
The second difference is social media and flash mobs. Ataturk was a dictator that outlawed the arabic alphabet and the adhan– both of which Erdogan has restored. It is ironic especially that the adhan was used to call flash mobs to the street to protest the coup. Westerners seem to have a terribly hard time distinguishing between forced secularism of tyrants and consent of the governed (democracy). What actually destroyed the coup was a single CNN Turk anchorwoman and Erdogan facetiming his citizens on an iphone. I hope she got a medal.
When Sisi prepared to slaughter the peaceful protestors in Rabia square he shut down the cell towers– so the world wouldn’t see him burning muslims alive in tents and bulldozing their bodies. A big mistake of the putschists was failing to shut down the internet. So the coup was defeated by social media and flash mobs, while Erdogan’s loyal police and intel forces stood off the putsch long enough for Erdogan to mobilize the citizenry. The funniest thing to me is now that Erdogan has reaped incalculable power gains from the failed coup, there is all this western conspiracy theory about how the coup MUST have been staged! Because western sympathizers could never have possibly executed so poorly– 911 truthers is the best analogy.
To me the most important outcome of the failed coup is the epic destruction of güllenism– practically eradicated from Turkish society and culture, demonized and deligitimized for the next half century at minimum. The validated purge of discredited gullenist professors, jurists, and intellectuals on a vast scale…it says to me that Erdogan learned a great lesson from my hero Malcolm X.