Quo Vadis, Turkey?

Now it looks as if the referendum giving huge new powers to Ertogan (if the next election goes as expected) is going to pass. From all the events of the past few months, I have some questions that I think it would be interesting to discuss.

This looks like the death or at least extremely serious debilitation of democracy (and probably secular rule) in Turkey. Will that country be inclined to, and able to, turn this around back towards those two goals, without either a military coup or full-on revolution?

Is a military coup still possible, considering what happened after the last attempt?

Can and should NATO continue to keep Turkey in the alliance, given the retrograde dictatorial actions taken already and likely to be taken in the future by its leader? How much repression of dissent can NATO tolerate?

Although it never occurred to me at the time, given what Erdogan has made of it, is it possible that the attempted coup of a few months ago was at least partially a false flag operation? For example, potential coup supporters may have been lured into committing themselves and then betrayed by higher-ups who were secretly loyal to Ertogan all along. Likely?

For my part, I frankly doubt if anything like real democracy will be seen again soon in Turkey. Opposition is already ruthlessly suppressed, and most of the populace seems to support that. They prefer the ordered rule of a dictator to the uncertainty of democracy. Also, this looks like a victory for rural tribal traditionalism vs. urban secularism.

I think a military coup might still be possible, but it would take some major betrayals by military leaders who seem currently loyal to Erdogan.

I think NATO will keep Turkey as long as it possibly can due to its extremely strategic location, and only an identifiable genocide or something of equal moral weight will be enough to turn NATO completely against Turkey.

As for the coup attempt earlier, I don’t really think it was a false flag operation but I am keeping an open mind.

Technically, NATO doesn’t have a choice. A member country can withdraw from NATO and any member of NATO can veto the entry of a new member. But once a country joins NATO, there’s no procedure for expelling them.

Is there any mechanism for NATO to alter the terms of their relationship? Something like an amendment process?

Reading this article by Dexter Filkens, it sure does sound like the coup attempt was real and was organized by followers of the Gulen fellow who lives in the Poconos. It was poorly executed partly because they were acting in haste to get it done before the investigation into an encrypted messaging program they were using to communicate revealed all their identities and got them purged from their positions.

If all reads like Turkey’s version of Scientologists gone amok.

I can believe there’s no procedure now, but under enough provocation one could be invented and passed as a change to the alliance charter if a large enough majority (say, all members but one) voted for it. Or the alliance could be dissolved and re-constituted without Turkey under another name. These are extreme measures and quite difficult to make happen, but if Turkey were to become truly horrible (which I don’t really expect) something would be done. There’s always a way out.

Can you please show the part of this article that specifically deals with evidence Hizmet was running the coup under orders from Gulen? I tried to read it, but it’s been one boring paragraph after another of buildup without getting to the point.

When I think about Gulen verus Erdogan, I see Gulen as a religious leader who values secularism running a bunch of schools that help poor kids with test prep in Turkey and bring strong STEM-based education to the world’s poor including here in America. Those are the only tangible facts I can get about Hizmet.

This stands in stark contrast to Erdogan whose government has jailed more journalists than any other country in the world, has led a witch-hunt against anyone even remotely involved in Hizmet, who labels almost any opponent a terrorist, has jailed the leadership of the Kurdish-oriented HDP, actively supports mobs attacking protesters, and in this referendum brazenly suppressed the opposition. These are just the things I can think of off the top of my head.

Given this contrast of the actual facts, I need to know more to accept anything the Turkish government has to say about the origins of this coup attempt.

Regarding the “end of democracy in Turkey”, I think this constitutional change is just the latest iteration of the same problem in Turkey. Now the Islamists are doing to secular people what secular people did to Islamists. The problem is there are weak institutions with far too much going to the victor in elections.

The North Atlantic Council (provided for by Article 9) is the political decision making body within the alliance. They operate based on unanimous decisions though so Turkey would have to vote against letting themselves stay in.

Article 12 addresses revisiting the treaty itself but doesn’t mention a mechanism (link to the entire, and brief, text of the agreement)

That’s pretty much it. The entire treaty is a very quick read.

Somehow this brings to mind a Mission: Impossible episode. The crew has to kidnap and replace the Turkish ambassador who taking the train to Brussels from Istanbul to represent his country at the key NATO summit. Martin Landau then impersonates him with a handy latex mask to cast the deciding vote to expel his “own” country.

But really NATO has a long history of tolerating autocrats in its ranks - from Turkish coup leaders, to Greek juntas, to that charmer Salazar in Portugal. Figuring out a way to toss Turkey because of a democratically ( maybe, sorta ) elected autocrat like Erdogan would actually be a bit innovative.

I’m hardly familiar enough with Turkey’s domestic politics to hold a firm opinion of what really happened, but I also have my doubts that Gulen himself was directly involved, which is why I pointed my finger at his followers and not him. It’s not too hard to see how the movement he began could be operating independently from him in his old age and exile.

But as for your forming an opinion of what happened based on your own value judgements, you should consider who you would side with if the Scientologists led a coup against Trump.

Sorry for any nightmares I might have just caused.

I side with facts and the conclusions I reach based on those facts. Could you do me a favor and point out the part of the article where the writer gets to the facts. It’s a huge article full of a lot of unnecessary build-up. Just something I could use a Ctrl+F with would be great. A quote is great too.

I don’t know much about Scientologists, but if they’re in the habit of bringing much needed educational opportunity to the poor all around the world then I am cool with Scientologists.

I never claimed to have all the facts and neither does the article. In these sorts of things, we hardly ever get such luxuries. If I read anything further though, I’ll let you know.

There are many religions that make it a habit to help the poor. Still doesn’t mean I want any of them trying to take over via a shadow government or coup.

Uh, NATO has had authoritarian countries in its ranks before. (Greece and Portugal, both of whose leaders were much more authoritarian than Erdogan has any intention of being). I don’t see why they would do anything differently this time.

The only way NATO can eject Turkey is if they themselves capture the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles and leave Turkey with the rest of the country. Eg it’s not going to happen because that would start WWIII. The minute NATO ejects them, they go to Russia for a mutual defense treaty and all of a sudden you’ve got Russian Naval bases on both sides of the Turkish straits.

Erdogan knows this, which is why he’s willing to push it so far.

Yeah, we’ll see what Erdogan’s intentions are. The first ask is always relatively mild compared to the eventual reality.

My take is, a bit like the PATRIOT act, the coup was a genuine thing that gave Erdogan the opportunity to put into action his pre-planned takeover.

The PATIOT act was almost certainly written a decade or more before 9/11 and was sitting on a shelf somewhere in the bowels of the federal law enforcement / intel bureaucracy just waiting for the provocation to use it. Give the preamble a couple tweaks to nod towards current events then send it over to the Hill for a vote.

Erdogan had purges and legislation and emergency orders all planned at least in outline. Then he was waiting for a big enough provocation to start that ball rolling. It was his extreme good fortune that he got a provocation so big that most of his public are going along happily, not grudgingly, in the paddy wagon to Totalitariansville yet at the same time the coup unequivocally failed without much death and physical destruction.

What facts lead you to believe a religious shadow government that helps the poor attempted a coup?

He’s not going to answer that question, because there wasn’t anything specific in the way of facts. He just had an opinion.:dubious:

It’s a preponderance of the circumstantial evidence along with my confidence in the contacts and instincts of Dexter Filkens (from years of reading his work) that guided my suspicions. I certainly wouldn’t hang anybody or make any policy decisions based on just that, but it’s enough for me to form a general, vague impression of what probably happened.

If you have no such confidence and can’t even stand to read the article, that’s fine, but I’m not going to start pulling isolated quotes to present as facts for your judgement here. From the article, there does sound like there would be loads of hard evidence, but I haven’t been following along closely enough to know if/when any of it will be available. We’ll see.

Though, I very much doubt there will ever be any evidence that Gulen himself or the overt side of the organization are directly implicated.

The circumstantial evidence? Do you mean the confessions from tortured prisoners?

What kind of writer can this guy be if his article only manages to leave you with the sense the Gulen movement is like “Scientologists run amok”. Either he wrote a hit piece against the Gulen movement or perhaps you are not giving a very good account of what is in the article?

I think it’s nuts in the extreme to suppose that the coup was pre-planned. You don’t take such risks, with an armed institution which hates your guts and has a propensity for Coups. If you ask them to pretend to take over, they might forget the “pretend” part.