July’s failed coup attempt in Turkey has exposed more than the coup plotters. Turkish President Recept Tayip Erdogan has realized that Western rulers and Nato members are not his real friends. Russia and Iran are.
July’s military coup attempt in Turkey was a nasty affair. Nearly 300 people, mostly civilians were killed while resisting the coup-plotters. It also exposed deep fissures in the Turkish armed forces as well as other state institutions. More than one-third of senior military officers were implicated in the coup.
Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan as well as other Turkish officials have repeatedly accused the US-based Fethullah Gulen, a secretive Masonic-type figure of being involved in instigating the coup. This is no doubt true. Some Turkish officials have also accused the US of involvement. Western reaction to the failed coup clearly showed their much greater concern for the coup plotters than the legitimate government in power in Turkey.
Erdogan, however, has sent mixed signals. He went on a highly publicized trip to St. Petersburg to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to make up. He called Putin “my friend” and had apologized in advance for shooting down a Russian plane over Syria last November.
Yet he also received General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and has not closed the US air base at Incirlik, from where the coup plotters launched their ill-fated attempt.
Last month, the Turkish parliament passed a bill restoring diplomatic ties with Israel while aware that Gulen has strong Zionist backing.
So what exactly is the cagey Erdogan up to, apart from playing typical political games bordering on the cynical?