Turkey: the Coup that Failed


As Nice was attacked by a Muslim jihadi (Bastille Day), a segment of the Turkish army attempted to arrest Turkish "president," Recep Erdogan. Once again, the world was being roiled by Muslim issues: in France, by a violent immigrant from Tunisia who demonstrated his hatred for French secular society; and in Turkey, when the secular military desperately tried to remove their country's increasingly dictatorial and Islamist leader.

o     Nice.  France is learning the cost of their generosity in admitting millions of people fleeing their dysfunctional Muslim homelands. Unfortunately, many of these new refugees are not grateful to their host countries; they are able to find excuses for their depressingly dysfunctional lives in Muslim jihadi propaganda, preached in mosques and on the Internet.

A jihadi killer need not be pious or a scholar of Islam; he or she just needs to find "permission" in Muslim rhetoric to attack their host country. The Nice killer rented a truck and killed or wounded hundreds of celebrators enjoying France's national secular holiday; Islamists loathe secular life.

The Tunisian-born killer was volatile and habitually beat his wife, who was able to divorce him only because they were in France. But Islamic propaganda gave him permission, as a Muslim, to get revenge on France's secular society. ISIS proudly claims that he was one of theirs! He certainly was inspired by them.

o     Turkish Coup. Turkey formerly was the only Muslim-majority state that was proudly secular. Their founding father, Kamal Ataturk, insisted on it and supported his action by deliberately abolishing Muslim institutions: outlawing the veil for women; outlawing the fez for men (a brimless hat that permitted men to touch their heads to the ground in prayer); and finally, replacing the Arabic alphabet with the Roman one, leaving most Turks unable to read the Koran in Arabic (not that they understood Arabic).

Ataturk was an admired army general who entrusted the military to be the guarantors of Turkey's secular democracy. This worked for more than seven decades, until the government of Turkey wanted to be admitted to the EU, just as they had been admitted to NATO.

Europeans were were reluctant to have a Muslim member. The EU demanded changes to Turkey's autocratic democracy in order to qualify them for membership. They criticized the military intervention a number of times over the years when the government became dysfunctional. They insisted that Islamist political parties be allowed to run for office (democracy demanded it), They criticized the ban on the Muslim headscarf from public institutions.

An Islamist Party, led by Recep Erdogan, ran for office and when the army protested, the EU chastized them. Nobody noticed how Turkish democracy had changed. The population of poor, ignorant, and pious Eastern Turks had fled to the cities, living in slums, and they voted. Their birthrate had outrun the birthrate of Turkey's educated, secular population. The Islamists won.

Erdogan was clever; he engaged in a stealthy process of re-Islamizing secular Turkey. He even fooled the British magazine, The Economist, into calling his party "mildly Islamist," (like being mildly Pregnant?).  Erdogan locked up hordes of army officers as "traitors," replacing them with devout Muslims. And he gradually rid himself (often violently) of uncooperative press, judges, and officials. He restored religious instruction to schoolrooms. Headscarves proliferated and were permitted everywhere. Now, Turkey is ensnared in the warfare roiling its neighborhood, making everything worse.

The military (rightly) tried to remove him, but failed. Erdogan's last election was fraudulent. Turkey's "democracy" is in meltdown. Erdogan is now free to become one more nasty Muslim dictator-for-life.  So much for thinking that voting is enough to make a country a democracy.

In Turkey's modern history, military coups have been oddly patriotic. In all four of the modern coups (1960, 1971, 1980, 1997), the general staff has shown a disciplined understanding of its role -- to right the ship of state and then get out of its way. (See Daniel Pipes, NRO 1468, July 20.)

The West is wrong-headed in condemning this attempted coup. NATO should expel Turkey for its increasingly autocratic governance. Secular Turkey is one thing; Islamist Turkey is another.

Contributing Editor Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of How Do You Know That? You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.

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