As you know, there was an attempted coup that was brutally suppressed, as most uprisings are. Now the smoke is clearing, what does the future have in store for the Turkish people – and the Middle East where Turkey is a key player in the arena?
There has been a massive and relentless purge and Marshall Law has been implemented. In truth, Marshall Law is a democratic concept. When democracy breaks down Marshall Law is an emergency, short-term option before returning to democracy once the emergency is over. Whether the Turkish situation is a legal equivalent of Marshall Law depends on one’s view and which side one is on. Returning to democracy, in this case, may take another 20-50 years.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has imprisoned over 9,000 people following a series of ‘witch-hunts.’ Democracy in Turkey has been heavily curtailed and is now virtually non-existent. In the first years of his presidency, President Erdogan was known as a reformer, promoting democracy, possibly only because the European Union had said that Turkey would only be accepted into their ranks under a truly democratic regime.
However, President Erdogan realized that he would never become a “member of the club” and it appears that he felt let down when his efforts towards democracy were not recognized. Similarly, the Turkish people felt let down by the promises he had made regarding getting them into the European Union. This left the door open for President Erdogan’s adversaries to take advantage of the situation and attempt a coup.
Turkey is now a textbook case of a dictatorship dressed up as a democracy, where ballots rule but there is no choice. Freedom of speech is non-existent. What we are seeing today in Turkey is actually the elimination of democracy. The country is primarily Muslim, but this is not a religious issue. For President Erdogan, it is about retaining power, not religion. The word on the street is that he is looking for support from Russia to help stabilize the new situation. Certainly, he won’t be getting any help from Europe.
As far as democracy in Turkey is concerned, it is back to the stone age for the time being. The bottom line is, as far as other democratic countries are concerned, there has been a massive diplomatic power shift in Turkey, away from the European Union, away from the West, and towards Russian who will step into the vacuum. As far as the war theater is concerned, it may not make much of a difference.
Most observers do, however, consider it a bad day for the West and a good day for the East!