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.

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


Key words: Euro-Atlantic institutions, normalization, democracy, rule of law, FETÖ

July 15, 2016 was one of the crucial turning points in the history of Turkish democracy. In the first place, the failed coup looked like it was planned and organized by Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members in the Turkish Armed Forces, but it surely had strong connections in other significant institutions in the country. In order to respond to how the post-coup attempt process has been shaped with regard to the relationship between Turkey and the outside, it is better to focus primarily on the relationships between Turkey and the U.N., NATO, the EU and U.S., which were more than shaky even before the failed coup attempt. Therefore, this article will study the stance of significant international organizations and the great powers on Turkey in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt to illustrate that sharp changes did not take place in Euro-Atlantic institutions or the U.S. and that the Russian stance was an exception.

In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt, it is necessary to at first give basic definitions of the institutions. It is written in the establishment purpose and principles of the U.N. to take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century such as peace and security, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism and governance.1 However, with regard to the failed coup attempt, considering risks of internal war and the insecure environment for both the Middle East and Europe it was expected from the U.N. to set out a clear stance against those who gave financial, organizational or logistical support to the coup attempt. However, this did not happen as expected. Therefore, it is quite difficult to argue that relations between Turkey and the U.N. have been on the right track considering inconsistency in the status quo in the Syrian conflict. After the failed coup attempt, the recently elected secretary-general of the U.N., António Guterres, visited Turkey and expressed his appreciation for the country taking in 3 million refugees, but the future of the Syrian conflict and U.N. support for Turkey’s fight against FETÖ still remain unclear. Accordingly, it might be said that the U.N.’s attitude on the Syrian conflict, Daesh and FETÖ members in different countries is not satisfactory from the Turkish government’s perspective.

NATO’s description of it as a political stance is that it “promotes democratic values and encourages consultation and cooperation on defense and security issues to build trust and prevent conflict.”2 Under the shadow of the definition of NATO’s political stance and considering Turkey’s membership in the alliance since 1952, NATO’s position on the pre-coup and post-coup processes seems problematic and suspicious. There have been certain doubts as to whether NATO knew of the coup attempt before it took place. Some Turkish military officials who decided not to surrender to Turkey even requested political asylum from the countries where they are. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg officially visited Turkey 40 days after the coup attempt, and that official visit was far from sincere since Turkey has not received any concrete steps from NATO.

Turkey-EU relations have historic links, but mostly consist of connotations at the same time. In order to evaluate the EU’s stance in the post-coup attempt process, it might be better to decide what distinguishes the EU from the other international organizations. In this sense, the most significant characteristics of the EU arises with its values such as democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, which are enshrined in Article II of the Treaty on the European Union.3 The EU was created with the notion of democracy. However, after the failed coup attempt, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini tried to give Turkey a lecture on democracy, saying that “Turkey must respect democracy,”4 just three days after the failed coup instead of declaring the EU’s support for the country’s democratically elected president and government. Therefore, there is a certain gap between Turkey and the EU concerning the perception of the coup attempt. While Turkey considers itself legitimate in fighting against members of FETÖ, the EU evaluates the process with arguments about putting rule of law in danger and that democracy does not simply only mean elections.

Concerning Turkish-U.S. relations, there has always been certain ups and downs at different points of history. Regarding current affairs, the disagreements about policy and preferences in the Syrian conflict and the future of Bashar al-Assad have become more apparent. Former U.S. President Barack Obama did not keep his promise to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about creating safe zone on the Syrian-Turkish border, and this cost Turkey economically and politically. Regarding the U.S.’s stance on the coup attempt, owing to the fact that the U.S. has one of the greatest intelligence service in the world and has a strong structural existence in NATO, it would be almost impossible for them not to know whether there would be a coup attempt in Turkey. This evidence is multiplied by the Obama administration’s silence on the coup attempt, calling the Turkish government to respect democratic values and as the country in which the head of FETÖ has lived for more than 10 years and not even considering Ankara’s allegations of him being a terrorist. The Obama administration behaved no differently to Turkey before the failed coup attempt in it, policy preferences.

After giving a brief summary about stance of Euro-Atlantic institutions and the U.S. in the aftermath of failed coup attempt, it is necessary to explain Russia and other regional countries’ stances as well. In the aftermath of Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane in 2015, tensions between the two countries increased and caused a deep rift in relations. As such, relations were nearing an end politically as well as economically. However, the failed coup attempt was another milestone for Turkish-Russian relations. Although there have been rumors regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin providing help to Erdoğan to prevent a coup against him and the democratically elected government, it is unclear whether Russia was a key player to get rid of threats coming from coup plotters. However, what is certain in the post-coup attempt stance from Russia is that Russia has been giving its official support to the democratically elected president and government, especially in Syria, in Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield. Additionally, in the assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov in Ankara, Russia took Turkey’s side and did not let relations falter.

Lastly, but not less importantly, I argue that the stances of the U.N., NATO, the EU and U.S. after the coup attempt have continued the same as before. However, the Russian support for Turkey strengthened in certain areas to increase economic and political interdependence. Furthermore, relations with the countries that had friendly relations with Turkey took the side of Turkish citizens and have been trying to support Turkey in its fight against FETÖ and its organizations in their countries as much as they can.

1. United Nations, “Chapter I, Purposes and Principles”, http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-i/index.html (accessed February 17, 2017)
2. NATO, “Political and Military Alliance”, http://www.nato.int/nato-welcome/index.html (accessed February 17, 2017)
3. Petra Bárd, Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild and Dimitry Kochenov, “An EU mechanism on Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights”, European Parliamentary Research Service, 2016, p.8.
4. Reuters, “Turkey must respect democracy, rights: EU’s Mogherini”, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-eu-democracy-idUSKCN0ZY0VL?mod=related&channelName=worldNews (accessed February 17, 2017)

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.

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