Failed coup in Turkey – Initial Thoughts

from The Saker

When I first heard that a coup was in progress in Turkey my first thought was that it was the USA’s way to punish Erdogan for his sudden apology to Russia. Yes, sure, I realized that there were many other possible explanations, but that was the one I was hoping for. I even told my family that if this was a US-backed coup and if Erdogan or his supporters said so, there would be hell to pay for the USA. Less than 24 hour later my hopes were fulfilled:
Turkish Minister Blames US Authorities for Organizing Coup Attempt
Kerry Blasts Turkey for Insinuating that Washington Plotted Coup of Erdogan
Erdogan was undeterred and he went on to publicly declare:

Dear President Obama, I told you this before, arrest Fethullah Gulen or return him to Turkey. You didn’t listen. I call you on you again, after the coup attempt – extradite this man from Pennsylvania to Turkey. If we are strategic partners, do what is necessary,”

He also explicitly called any nation supporting Gulen “an open enemy of Turkey.”
Now we need to remember that Erdogan has a history of zigs followed by zags, so I would not put it past him to warmly embrace Obama in the near future, but I find that unlikely. Why? Simply because there is a lot of indirect evidence that the USA was, indeed, behind this coup. Consider this:
The coup involved a very large number of people. We can get a sense of the magnitude of this coup by looking at the huge purge now taking place in Turkey. According to various sources it includes no less than 6,000 people, many senior officers (including 5 generals and 29 colonels), 2’745 judges and prosecutors. So the first thing we need to ask ourselves is how likely is it that the USA did not know what was being prepared by the coup plotters? I submit that in a country essentially at war, where US forces which are involved in combat operations in nearby Syria and Iraq are deployed and where the US reportedly keeps 50 tactical nuclear weapons, the notion that the USA did not see this coming is far fetched. Turkey is a NATO member state, which in practical terms means that the US has full control over the Turkish military, and we know thanks to Sibel Edmonds that the Turkish deep state has very close ties to the US deep state – and we are to believe that nobody in the USA saw this coming?
Furthermore, when Erdogan says that the USA did not hurry to condemn the coup, he is absolutely correct. In fact, it was rather amusing for me to see that all the western media was indicating that the coup had succeeded, while the Iranians and Russians reported that the coup had failed. If that was case of wishful thinking on both sides, what does it tell us about the wishes?
Now let’s look at the cui bono angle.
Some, including Fethullah Gulen, have suggested that this coup was an a false flag operation by Erdogan himself. And it is true that he declared that this coup was a “gift from God… because this will be a reason to cleanse our army”. But the reality is that this coup is a huge embarrassment for Erdogan who had already purged the Turkish armed forces many times over and who could not take the risk of having a planned “false flag” turn into the real thing: even General Bekir Ercan Van, the commander of Turkey’s Incirlik airbase, has been detained by Turkish authorities accused of complicity in the attempted coup. So not only did this coup show that Erdogan was hated at the very top level of the Turkish armed forces, but the failure of the coup has now resulted in a huge purge which will tremendously weaken the Turkish armed forces who are involved not only in Syria but also in a bloody civil war against the Kurds. So the notion that Erdogan triggered this coup himself appears very far fetched to me.
Then, of course, there is Russia. And while I wholeheartedly agree that Russia will immensely benefit from this failed coup, I also am convinced that the Russians never had anywhere near the means needed to trigger a coup in Turkey. Neither the Kemalists nor the supporters of Gulen are pro-Russian and Russia simply does not have the kind of access in this major NATO country to trigger military coups.
As for the USA, had the coup succeeded, they could have placed a compliant, and probably far more reliable, military leader at the helm of power in Turkey. Now that the coup failed and now that Erdogan appears to be furious at the USA, the USA is the big loser in this outcome. But had the coup succeeded?
Keep in mind that the war in 08.08.08 and the case of the US “multiple personality disorder” over Syria have shown that there is no unified US foreign policy. There is a White House foreign policy, there is a CIA foreign policy, then there is a Foggy Bottom foreign policy and a Pentagon foreign policy. We even know that there is a separate Neocon foreign policy. Any one of them could have pushed the coup plotters to take action just like the Neocons pushed Saakashvili to attacked South Ossetia.
Now that the coup has failed, however, the situation has the potential to strongly turned in Russia’s favor and even though the Russians will never trust Erdogan, they are also fully aware of the objective advantages Russian can reap from the current situation. The ultimate success would be to trigger a withdrawal of Turkey from NATO, but I personally doubt that this is possible. A more realistic goal could be to accept that Turkey will nominally remain in NATO, but that at least in Syria Erdogan will accept the Russian-created reality on the ground. The fact that Lavrov and Kerry have agreed to a joint long-term ceasefire whose exact terms are to remain secret indicates to me that the Russians forced the US into concessions which the latter don’t want to be made public (and not the other way around because Moscow holds all the cards now and Kerry has therefore no means to put pressure on Russia). In other words, now that even the USA has basically caved in, at least temporarily, the Turks have no reasons left to try to impose anything on Syria.
The current situation holds a tremendous potential for developments favorable to Russia. I hope that the Russians will apply some creative thinking and make maximal use of this new situation to create a fait accompli on the ground in Syria. The best option for Russia would be to have a reliable and predictable partner in Turkey. Alas, this is not going to happen. The next best option is to have a weak Turkey wasting most of its resources and energy dealing with internal crises. This seems to be what will happen in the foreseeable future. By any measure, this is a good thing for Russia, Syria and, really, the entire region.


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Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Jul 19, 2016 7:39 AM

I have to beg to differ with Saker on this one: even if the western MSM do not regard it as ‘conspiracy theory’, the idea that Erdogan staged a fake coup seems very plausible to me. As my Turkish contacts point out, all of the real Kemalists were purged from military years ago at the Ergenekon show-trials. The current commanders are all Erdogan loyalists; these low-ranking officers who participated in the coup attempt were just some patsies being flushed out. Erdogan’s motives for staging the coup were twofold, I believe: 1.) He will now rewrite the constitution and turn Turkey into and Islamic Republic, probably with himself as ‘supreme leader’. 2.) As Saker correctly intimates, he will use this a pretext to break with NATO, which abandoned Erdogan on Syria, and which now threatens to create a Kurdish statelet in eastern Syria–a non-starter for Ankara. Since Erdogan is objectively now… Read more »

Jul 19, 2016 3:04 AM

I originally posted this comment at Moon of Alabama’s blog and I think it worthwhile to repeat it here (with some changes). “Consider also the possibility that the coup might have had foreign backers who were aware that President Erdogan was planning to purge the Turkish government and the armed forces because he believed that there were people in the military and civil service were plotting against him. So the coup plotters decide to set a trap (that he has walked straight into) with the aim of getting him to purge Turkish institutions and weaken and destabilise them enough that the country cannot resist a later coup which topples him and replaces him with a more extreme government even more sympathetic to and eager to co-operate with the US Deep State. The botched coup and the false flag plot now become part of the general narrative. Whatever Erdogan does becomes… Read more »

Jul 18, 2016 10:22 PM

Reblogged this on TheFlippinTruth.

luther baba (@baba_luther)
luther baba (@baba_luther)
Jul 18, 2016 10:12 PM

looking at the generals, as a Kurdish man, almost all of these high ranking officers have conducted the recent war on Kurdish cities which were almost flattened, and were awarded by Erdogan. And, funnily enough, some of the officers who disobeyed the ‘coup’ plotters were the ones who were stopped by Erdogan to be promoted because of their possible threat to Erdogan. Now, we have new generals who were seen threat in the past are taking their new positions. Very very weird situation. I still believe the coup plotters were back-stabbed by their comrades, and possibly by the US.

Chris Cook (@paciffreepress)
Chris Cook (@paciffreepress)
Jul 18, 2016 7:57 PM

I don’t follow Saker’s thinking, re: “The coup involved a very large number of people. We can get a sense of the magnitude of this coup by looking at the huge purge now taking place in Turkey.”
It seems Erdogan is using the event to justify a purge taking in a much larger circle of perceived enemies than could plausibly be involved. Would 2700+ jurists, (or even 27) really have been in on the planning of any of this? Likewise, one explanation of why the US would not see this coming is because it was planned outside the Turkish Deep State, the US allies inside Turkey, and instead by the president himself.
edited for layout clarity – ed

Jul 18, 2016 6:46 PM

Can someone please explain why RT was hit by a massive DDos attack during the Turkey coup? (See https://www.rt.com/news/351645-rt-massive-ddos-attack/) I am not a computer expert (so may be wrong here), but it appears to me that such an attack takes planning and timing, i.e. that it must have been known in advance by the DDos attackers that something very big was about to happen last Friday when the coup attempt was performed. Something that was not supposed to be seen at RT. Can there be any reason why Erdogan would like to have RT offline during the coup? I see none, but this appears to me entirely different for the USA, IF they were the instigators behind this failed coup. Any other thoughts about this DDos attack and its timing? And yes, I agree with Saker’s initial analysis that it is not likely that Erdogan himself is behind this coup,… Read more »

Meriem Kheira Peillet
Meriem Kheira Peillet
Jul 18, 2016 6:43 PM