The coup and its aftermath in Turkey have been so dominating the news that my plans for scheduled blogs this week has been all but upended, but in any case, there are more things to consider as the news keeps coming out of Ottoman Turkey as the nutty Ottomaniac Sultan Erdogan rolls the clock back on the heritage of Kamal Attaturk. But first a review:
In Saturday's special News and Views from the Nefarium, I outlined four basic possibilities - which I also explicitly pointed out were not an exhaustive list - for the coup: (1) it was an internal affair staged by the Sultan himself, to strengthen his hand in Turkey, (2) It was an internal affair staged by other groups in Turkey, among which one might assume (a) the pro-secularizing camp, namely the military, which in Attaturk's vision was to be the guarantor of Turkey's Islamic secular republic, or (b) Fatullah Gulen's network, which doubtless included some of the military (interesting how the American media is saying he's simply a "cleric", a wonderfully benign term that reminds one of Archbishop Fulton Sheen), or (c) some other internal network, perhaps like Turkey's notorious "Grey Wolves", a nationalist, neo-Fascist "Turkish supremacist" group with its own murky background, including connections to the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, and yes(here is comes) its own murky connections to Nazism and all of its wonderful throwback institutions.
Then there were two other basic possibilities(again not exhaustive, and in fact for an interesting take on things, see the YouTube comments on Saturday's special News and Views, as one lady offered yet two more plausible ideas): (3) the coup was external and staged by some external power, perhaps unhappy with the Sultan's sudden and sweeping reversal of policy by (a) apologizing to Russia and offering compensation to the famiuly of the Russian pilot, (b) wanting to normalize relations with Assad's Syria, and (3) restore the six year breach of relations with Isreal. Such an about face was bound to have provoked someone, someone who wanted to see the continued rise of jihadism in the Middle East, and/or someone who wanted to see continued chaos in that region; and finally (4) an external coup staged, not by some external power, but rather, by some external group.
:With this context in mind, consider the following stories:
!1) The Sublime Porte is now blaming the USA for being involved in the plot, in addition to the "cleric" Fatullah Gulen, who lives in asylum status in Pennsylvania, and oh, guess what, he has ties to Hillary Clinton(no sir, no geopolitical fallout from her breach of the law with her emails here folks!):
Now, this raises an interesting possibility for high octane speculation: a US sponsored coup, connected to the Clintons, for the purposes of installing a "cleric" even wanting even more Turkish Islamicization than Sultan Erdogan?
(2) Whether the Sultan staged his own coup or not, he is certainly siezing upon the crisis as a crisis of opportunity to initiate a bloody purge of his own, and,yes, most of it appears to be directed any anyone in the Turkish government who favors more secularization:
(3) As noted above, the Sublime Porte is blaming US-based "cleric" Fatullah Gulen for being behind the plot, and has demanded extradition, which, as of now, the USA is has refused. Now, leaving aside the nasty question of why the USA would be giving asylum to such an individual, note that the Sublime Porte has now apparently shut down the power and access to the US Air Force base at Incirlik, Turkey, and is not allowing US flights and bombing missions against ISIS to continue:
This, to my mind, is the most extraordinary story yet about this whole mess, for on the one hand, prior to the coup attempt (if indeed that is what it was), the Sultan appeared to be ready to reverse his policy across the board, and the way the timing looked, he was doing so perhaps in concert with the then-upcoming visit of Secretary of State Ketchup Kerry to Moscow, where indeed the USSA and Russian Federation agreed to cooperate in their anti-terrorism efforts and to table the "Assad must go before anything else can happen" position it had clinged to like a barnacle on a sinking ship. The Sublime Porte's reversal vis-a-vis Syro-Turkish relations could be seen as a compliment to the wider reversal.
But if that's the case, then why is the Sultan now making egregiously threatening moves against the US air base at Incirlik? Does he want an excuse to send a raiding party into the base to "get those nukes" before the US has a chance to dispose of them? Well, I don't think even the Sultan, corrupt and wacky as he is, is that stupid. So what's the game?
As of this moment, it appears to be (1) more Islamicization at home (i.e., consolidation of the Sultan's power) while (2) cooperating with the new pattern emerging between Russia and the USA. In one sense this butresses the idea that the coup may have been external, and led by some group or power that wants to see a continuation of chaos in the Middle East, so that ISIS-style jihadism will grow.
For the moment, I'm still leaning to the idea that this was a plot, not by the USSA-CIA-Gulen folks(after all, why overthrow someone who has signaled his intention to "play ball" with the USSA by reversing his OWN policies so sweepingly, and in concordance with the Kerry-Lavrov visit?), but by a group intent on sucking the USSA and Russia into the chaos of the Middle East and perhaps into conflict with each other. That would appeal to people with the warped and bent views of Daesh, or with the twisted delusions of Riyadh, or, for that matter, veterans' groups in and around San Carlos di Bariloche, Argentina...
The Sultan's reaction here is to my mind the key: he's acting not only like a corrupt nut -- and let's face it, we knew all along that not only was he a nut, but that he could give even Hillary Clinton lessons in corruption and lawlessness - he's acting like someone genuinely panicked, and who perceives himself surrounded by enemies, or who has suddenly woken up to the awareness that there are vast and deep cabals swirling around him.
See you on the flip side...