The Fog of War in Turkey

However much I would like to write about Turkey the situation is completely unclear to me. With the control of state media still seeming to be in control of Erdogan-loyalists no assessment can be made about the current strategical situation. Nor can it be said who staged the coup, it might be the army, but just as well the army might have been staged by Erdogan himself in order to create a climate which allows him to further establish his power basis.

The coup does shed light on the unexplainable moves made by Turkey in the recent past. Having supported the Islamic State by buying and reselling its oil, allowing IS fighters to be treated in its hospitals, shooting down the SU24 jet. A few months later, Turkey suddenly apologizes to Russia for shooting down its aircraft and started to be less hostile to the Kurds fighting in Syria. These sudden shifts puzzled many and indicated that Turkey had either had incompetent political leadership that couldn’t see the consequences of its actions. Now however, these strange moves might very well be the effect of a weak power basis for the political lead of Turkey, forcing them to adjust their policy to the political climate.

Expanding on this possible weak power basis, the coup, whoever staged it, might turn out very beneficial to Erdogan. If Erdogan survives the coup this will give him the political motivation he will need to further purge the armed forces. In the past, already, a group of around 250 men were tried for organizing a coup back in 2003. The alleged conspirators were found not guilty in 2015. This current coup attempt positions the Islamist Erdogan administration better to better deal with suppressing resistance coming from the mostly secular army. Hence, the coup attempt might very well further establish Erdogan’s power basis.

As for now, nothing can be said. For as in any war, the perception of the people who is winning is vital for for who will win. Hence any news channel should be considered a battle field and every news report as a weapon.  For now, it seems as if Erdogan loyalists are in control of media outlets and hence our perception of who is winning the battle. It is yet to be seen who is truly in control of the streets.



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