Turkish coup fails and the purge begins: Daily Bullshit, July 16, 2016 (updated)

Updated for a Politico story on Barack Obama’s relationship with the Turkish president.[1]


Failed Turkish coup

To me the world is such an awful place that I tend to favor any change that I don’t know enough about. This even though probably every U.S. president since Nixon has been worse than he was—among other things, he actually eventually got us out of Vietnam, the Environmental Protection Agency was created, and the social safety net was expanded—and I’m pretty sure that, if elected, Hillary Clinton will be even worse than Barack Obama. And so it is with the Turkish coup.

That President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sucks is not much in dispute[2] at least outside the plurality consisting largely of rural religiously conservative Turks who support him.[3] But enough people apparently feared the alternative offered by the coup enough that they helped prevent a coup that doesn’t look like it could have succeeded anyway—Juan Cole labeled it a “poorly planned junior officers’ coup”—from succeeding.[4]

A lot of the reporting is rushed—see especially the Wall Street Journal story whose final paragraph isn’t quite a final paragraph—and there are more questions than answers. Like why the coup plotters launched their coup without being sure of full support from the military and what kind of training they’re getting that lets them think they could have succeeded. Like why authorities bothered to cut power to Incirlik Air Base when the base can continue and is continuing to operate on internal reserve power. And what, since the U.S. uses and has a major presence on this base to launch attacks against the Islamic State, U.S. and allied forces were doing if this base was in fact a center of coup activity.[5] (Apparently unsubstantiated “reports that the United States was actively plotting to depose Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan” surfaced a few months ago.[6] Like what the specific grievances of the plotters—whoever they really are (“Erdogan blamed the coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, and called on the United States to extradite him”[7] but it looks to me like Gulen denounced the coup before it was clear that it would fail[8])—are (their statement[9] seems noble enough but no one seems to be taking it seriously). This is all incredibly sloppy reporting, I’m guessing I might never see answers to these questions, and I’m really pretty fucking disgusted about that.

Michael Crowley, “Did Obama get Erdogan wrong?” Politico, July 16, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/obama-turkey-225659

Juan Cole, “Turkish People Power foils attempted Coup,” Informed Comment, July 16, 2016, http://www.juancole.com/2016/07/turkish-people-attempted.html

Erin Cunningham, Liz Sly, and Zeynep Karatas, “Turkey foils coup attempt; president demands U.S. turn over cleric he blames for uprising,” Washington Post, July 16, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/after-bloody-night-turkeys-president-declares-coup-attempt-foiled/2016/07/16/9b84151e-4af7-11e6-8dac-0c6e4accc5b1_story.html

Deutschewelle, “US: Turkey’s Incirlik air base used to fight ‘IS’ is sealed off, power cut,” July 16, 2016, http://www.dw.com/en/us-turkeys-incirlik-air-base-used-to-fight-is-is-sealed-off-power-cut/a-19404844

Global Security, “Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) Statement: President deluded, misguided and even traitors; Peace Council in the administration of the country abroad confiscated!” July 16, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/turkey/2016/turkey-160716-turkey-forces02.htm

Ned Levin, Yeliz Candemir, and Emre Peker, “Turkey Arrests More Than 2,800 Linked to Failed Coup,” Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/turkeys-erdogan-reasserts-control-after-attempted-coup-1468658670


  1. [1]Michael Crowley, “Did Obama get Erdogan wrong?” Politico, July 16, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/obama-turkey-225659
  2. [2]Juan Cole, “How Turkish President Erdogan went Wrong: Dividing and Not Ruling,” Informed Comment, December 4, 2015, http://www.juancole.com/2015/12/turkish-president-erdogan.html; Michael Crowley, “Did Obama get Erdogan wrong?” Politico, July 16, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/obama-turkey-225659; Michael Rubin, “Could there be a coup in Turkey?” American Enterprise Institute, March 21, 2016, https://www.aei.org/publication/could-there-be-a-coup-in-turkey/
  3. [3]Stephen Starr, “Turkey protests: about more than a shopping mall,” Global Post, June 2, 2013, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/130602/turkey-protests-taksim-square-anti-government-erdogan
  4. [4]Juan Cole, “Turkish People Power foils attempted Coup,” Informed Comment, July 16, 2016, http://www.juancole.com/2016/07/turkish-people-attempted.html
  5. [5]Erin Cunningham, Liz Sly, and Zeynep Karatas, “Turkey foils coup attempt; president demands U.S. turn over cleric he blames for uprising,” Washington Post, July 16, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/after-bloody-night-turkeys-president-declares-coup-attempt-foiled/2016/07/16/9b84151e-4af7-11e6-8dac-0c6e4accc5b1_story.html; Deutschewelle, “US: Turkey’s Incirlik air base used to fight ‘IS’ is sealed off, power cut,” July 16, 2016, http://www.dw.com/en/us-turkeys-incirlik-air-base-used-to-fight-is-is-sealed-off-power-cut/a-19404844
  6. [6]Michael Crowley, “Did Obama get Erdogan wrong?” Politico, July 16, 2016, http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/obama-turkey-225659
  7. [7]Erin Cunningham, Liz Sly, and Zeynep Karatas, “Turkey foils coup attempt; president demands U.S. turn over cleric he blames for uprising,” Washington Post, July 16, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/after-bloody-night-turkeys-president-declares-coup-attempt-foiled/2016/07/16/9b84151e-4af7-11e6-8dac-0c6e4accc5b1_story.html
  8. [8]Steve Almasy, “Turkish President Erdogan declares coup attempt over,” CNN, July 16, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/15/asia/turkey-military-action/index.html
  9. [9]Global Security, “Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) Statement: President deluded, misguided and even traitors; Peace Council in the administration of the country abroad confiscated!” July 16, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/turkey/2016/turkey-160716-turkey-forces02.htm

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