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Category 4

The Attitudes of Countries and Institutions like the U.N., NATO, the EU, the U.S., Russia and Other Countries Against the July 15, 2016 Coup Attempt.

Turkey's July 15 Coup Attempt And The West's Organized Hypocrisy

Erdem ÖZLÜK

Key words: July 15, Western world, coup attempt, FETÖ, Turkey

The day of July 15 was catastrophic for Turkey’s democracy and future. A group within the Turkish military attempted to overthrow the democratically elected, legitimate government in a country with fair and free elections, which constitute the sine qua non of all democracies. The coup attempt organized by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) was the most murderous among the numerous coups and coup attempts in Turkey’s history. The putschists bombed crucial state institutions such as Parliament with fighter jets. That night, 249 civilians resisting the putschists died as martyrs and more than 2000 wounded.1

We need to examine the coup attempt, which was catastrophic for Turkey’s nearly 70-year-old democracy experience, with the other triggering factors since 2011. The investigations just after the coup attempt show that the coup attempt was very organized and members of FETÖ had attempted many small-scale coup attempts leading up to July 15 such as summoning the chief of the country’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) for interrogation in 2012, bogus corruption charges in 2013, supporting and financing the Gezi Park riots and stopping and confiscating MİT trucks in Adana in 2014.

Turkey clearly faced the danger of losing its democracy on July 15. The country’s experience of transition to democracy is exceptional in many ways since no country in the region other than Turkey was democratic in 1950. The literature on democratic transition shows that any country bordered by non-democratic countries only has an 18 percent chance to be democratic. Countries that have only democratic countries bordering it have an 82 percent chance of being democratic. As Samuel P. Huntington2 says in his pioneering book, Turkey was the first country to be democratic in its region. Turkey’s exceptional role in terms of its democratization process cannot be reckoned without taking the international support it received after World War II into account. Today, Turkey and its democratic experience is a model for many countries, especially those in the Middle East. Turkish democracy is of the utmost importance for both international and regional security and stability.

One would expect that the Western world’s promotion of democracy with all means after World War II would result in its support the democratization process in Turkey during the coup attempt that killed democracy in Turkey. It is necessary to analyze the process that begun in 2011 to understand why the Western world, which constantly criticizes Turkey for its democratization, took a totally different stance on the July 15 coup attempt. This has bred conflict between the Western world and Turkey, and Turkey’s Western allies have systematically weakened the country since 2011. The conflict between the Western world and Turkey is generally related to Turkey’s increasing regional influence, and more particularly, to the effects of the Arab Spring. For example, in this period, the Western world was indifferent to the civil war in Syria. A buffer zone could not be created in northern Syria to control waves of refugees and security issues both for the Turkish and Syrian people. Moreover, the West, which is very sensitive to humanitarian values, has not taken concrete steps in this matter. The political cleavage between Turkey and the Western world has become clearer with the attitude coming from the West concerning the July 15 coup attempt.

The Western world’s reactions on the July 15 coup attempt provide much more meaningful clues in terms of the West’s real thoughts. Turkey’s so-called allies in the Western world criticized not the coup plotters, but that the democratically elected government had fallen behind the developments in Turkey. The early reactions and statements from Western countries show their hypocrisy on Turkey. For example, in the early hours of the coup attempt, no official statement was made from EU institutions. After the coup attempt was aborted on July 16, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini declared “the need to return quickly to the constitutional order of Turkey and the supremacy of fundamental rights and freedoms.”3 The weak reaction and statements from Turkey’s long-standing allies such as the U.S., EU, NATO and many European countries were even more shocking. They started a smear campaign against Turkish citizens and politicians who courageously defeated a bloody coup attempt and saved democracy in the country.4

Instead of supporting Turkey for thwarting the coup attempt and maintaining democracy, many officials, such as the commander of U.S. Central Command, said the purge of the Turkish military is “something to be very, very concerned about”.5 NATO’s supreme commander also declared his support for the putschists by saying, “we’ve got some work to do there.”6 Then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned that Turkey’s NATO membership could be in jeopardy if it continues to purge thousands of officials and civil servants, although this was later denied.7 Many officials and columnists went one step further and analyzed why the coup failed. For example, they even claimed that the coup was unsuccessful due to the fact that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was not killed. Some analysts claimed that the fight against Daesh was under threat as a result of the unsuccessful coup attempt.8 A Sunday Times commentator also used lofty phrases for the coup plotters such as “the guardians of secularism” and “a force for progress”.9 All these quotations are examples of the West’s hypocrisy.

The attitude on the coup attempt of states, international organizations and NGOs such as the U.S., EU, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which all criticized the democratization processes in Turkey before the coup attempt, is fully organized hypocrisy. It can be claimed that if the FETÖ coup attempt has been successful, the Western world would probably consider the coup plotters legitimate because the rhetoric that FETÖ used in the Western world, which was deeply traumatized after 9/11, facilitated its acceptance through “moderate” Islam, dialogue and tolerance since 9/11. The effects of Daesh, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that do not represent real Islam legitimized FETÖ in the Western world. Nevertheless, this terrorist organization started to harm Turkey with its lobbying activities.

With an agenda to become strictly organized since the 1980s, FETÖ lost its civic aspect and finally become a murderous terrorist organization with the July 15 coup attempt. The putschists, whose allegiance to FETÖ is evident, did not hesitate to employ terrorist methods.10 By concealing their real identities in Turkey and other relevant countries, FETÖ members had been trying to enter critical state institutions such as the military and judiciary with a variety of identities.11

If the coup attempt had succeeded, the West would probably have legitimized the coup plotters. After the coup in Egypt, a U.S. official called it “the process of rebuilding democracy” rather than calling it a coup. The historical dilemma for the Western world is to either maximize its own interests or promote democracy in the region. The Western world has always supported “stable” regimes that meet its demands instead of supporting democracies. This preference naturally prevented the consolidation of democracy in the region. However, Turkey has a long history of democracy that is different from all other countries in the region. Although historically disrupted from time to time, Turkey implements all the rules and has institutions of democracy. The Turkish people also have a democratic consciousness, and on July 15, they showed it to the world. The Turkish nation showed an exemplary resistance in favor of the Republic and democracy. People flocked to the streets to protect the democratic order and to resist the coup attempt.12 On July 15, Turks defended their democracy and saw the Western world’s reactions as a sign of its historical antagonism.

Footnotes:
1. Nebi Miş, et al., Democracy Watch: Social Perception of 15 July Coup Attempt, Ankara: Seta Publications, 2016, p. 23.
2. Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late 20th Century, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.
3. Muhittin Ataman, Gloria Shkurti, “Batı’nın Darbe Sicili ve 15 Temmuz Darbe Girişimine Tepkisi”, Adam Akademi, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2016, p.62.
4. Burhanettin Duran, Fahrettin Altun (ed.), The Triumph of Turkish Democracy: The July 15 Coup Attempt and Its Aftermath, Ankara: SETA Publications 8, 2016, p. 8.
5. http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-turkey-crackdown-20160729-snap-story.html
6. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-28/turkey-unrest-to-affect-anti-terror-efforts-u-s-commander-says
7. DS Centre For Policy Studies, July 15, Gulenist Coup Attempt, Report Issue 3, July 2016, p. 18.
8. Can Acun, “Déjà vu: The West’s Effort to Transform Turkey into another Egypt”, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160802-deja-vu-the-wests-effort-to-transform-turkey-into-another-egypt/
9. Soumaya Ghannoushi, “Why Is Erdogan Being Demonized In The West?”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soumaya-ghannoushi/why-is-erdogan-being-demo_b_11112764.html
10. Nebi Miş, et al., Democracy Watch: Social Perception of 15 July Coup Attempt, Ankara: Seta Publications, 2016, p. 23.
11. Anadolu Agency, FETO’s Coup Attempt in Turkey: A Timeline, Ankara, Anadolu Agency Publication, August 2016, p. 5.
12. Department of Corporate Communications of the Presidency, July 15 Coup Attempt in Turkey and People’s Victory, Ankara, August 2016, p. 10.

Category 4

The Attitudes of Countries and Institutions like the U.N., NATO, the EU, the U.S., Russia and Other Countries Against the July 15, 2016 Coup Attempt.

1. Erdem ÖZLÜK

Turkey's July 15 Coup Attempt And The West's Organized Hypocrisy

2. Faruk TEKŞEN

The Continuity Of Constant Relations With Eouro-Atlantic Institutions And Normalization With Russia In The Aftermath Of The July 15 Coup Attemp

3. Erol UZUN

America And The West Before and After July 15