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Failed Coup Will Scare Erdogan Into Closer Relations With Russia

Turkish military have always been anti-Russian and pro-NATO while the US were not quick enough to denounce the attempted putsch

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The author is an anti-Zionist Israeli publicist of Soviet origin.

The sun had risen over the Bosporus when the rebels laid down their arms. This is how the dramatic coup, which started with an assassination attempt on Erdogan and the taking of hostages, ended.

The bridges over Bosporus had been blocked and hit by the rebels. Aircraft and helicopters bombed the AKP ruling party office.

Turkey hasn’t seen a military coup for a long time – before they happened very often. The Turkish army considered itself as ‘the guarantor of the constitution and the republic, and if politicians did anything the army didn’t like, they perpetrated a coup. The army stood for friendship with the USA and Israel, for NATO, against Islam, for the secular ideology of Kemalism  – Turkish nationalism named for its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

President Erdogan removed the army from power, arresting many generals, seemingly depriving it of the possibility of interfering in policy. But not forever, although key generals refused to take part in the coup. Usually the chief of the general staff would appear on TV to announce it, but he didn’t do it this time. Only a small fraction of the general staff, who support the powerful preacher Fethullah Gülen – took part. Erdogan had been close friends with Gulen, but now Gulen, who lives in the USA, is Erdogans’ enemy.

There were persistent rumors connecting the downing of a Russian bomber over Syria to Gulen, who wanted to set Russia against Turkey – which he succeeded in doing for a  while. If this is true, the attempted coup could be related to the reconciliation between Turkey and Russia – which very much annoyed the United States. Gulen’s army supporters were also unhappy with Erdogan’s apology to Moscow.

Actually, the Turkish public was glad of the reconciliation with Russia. Over the years of cooperation,  many mixed Russian-Turkish families were created. Turks don’t have historical suspicions towards Russians, they rather like Russia, and they have serious doubts about Europeans and Americans.

Unlike all previous coups and attempts to take power from Erdogan, this time the major media didn’t support the putschists. Even the most anti-Erdogan newspapers and liberal bloggers disapproved – pointing to the small number of rebels. If there had been more rebels, the media would have supported them, since not not everyone likes Erdogan. But this didn’t happen.

Apparently, the attempted coup failed, which is good for both Russia and Turkey. Historically, the Turkish military were anti-Russian and pro-NATO. Russian tourists didn’t suffer during the revolt.

In spite of the advice of armchair warriors, Russia supports legitimate power in neighboring countries, in particular Turkey. The attempted coup cannot but frighten Erdogan and his party, and he can be expected to tighten the border with Syria, blocking access by jihadists. His appeal to the nation, and the people’s readiness to support him show that the Russian President made the right decision when he made up with the Turkish leader.

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