Turkey: An unintended coup for Erdogan

7:21 pm on 19 July 2016

Analysis - In a half-baked show of uncertain, hesitant and badly organised military force, the instigators of the failed coup in Turkey last weekend have given President Tayyip Erdogan the perfect springboard for sweeping political change.

For the authoritarian Mr Erdogan, it has been a huge "told you so" moment vindicating the increasingly conspiratorial tone of his speeches about the dark forces at work within the Turkish state.

Pro-Erdogan supporters gather in front of the president's residence at Kisikli Neighborhood in Istanbul after the failed coup attempt.

Pro-Erdogan supporters gather in front of the president's residence at Kisikli Neighborhood in Istanbul after the failed coup attempt. Photo: AFP / ANADOLU AGENCY

This failed coup, in which more than 200 people were killed when a faction of the armed forces tried to seize power, allows Mr Erdogan to effectively present cleric Fethullah Gülen and the Hizmet movement as terrorists who exert influence through Turkey's media, politicians, judiciary and military with the aim of unseating the government.

And the president can now stand tall with a renewed mandate and a major injection of political capital. He can present his increasingly autocratic actions as a battle against those who are both anti-democratic and anti-Islamic.

Nearly 20,000 members of the police, civil service, judiciary and army have already been detained or suspended since Friday night's coup.

The swift and broad crackdown, and calls to reinstate the death penalty for plotters, has drawn criticism from Western allies who say Ankara must uphold the rule of law in the country; a NATO member whose cooperation in the fight against Islamic State is crucial to Washington.

Turkey's foreign ministry said criticism of the government's response amounted to backing the bid to overthrow the government.

The failed coup also strengthens Turkey's position with large international players, reaffirming its status as the stable NATO bulwark in the east. The US released a statement that reaffirmed its absolute support for Turkey's government.

Pro-Erdogan supporters gather in front of his residence at Kisikli Neighborhood in Istanbul.

Photo: AFP / ANADOLU AGENCY

Russian and European leaders have also declared support for Mr Erdogan, and even the newly-appointed UK foreign minister Boris Johnson was forced to defend the Erdogan regime only two months after winning a poetry competition in The Spectator with an entry that involved Mr Erdogan committing a sexual act with a goat.

In the coming months Mr Erdogan is likely to consolidate power by calling for a referendum on a new presidential system that will further consolidate his position as leader. Given the public support shown for him during the attempted coup, he appears to be moving into a far more secure political future.

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