The attempted coup d’état in Turkey was the last gasp of the pro-secular forces in that country against the Islamification and drive to authoritarianism under Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) party.
The Turkish army has always viewed itself as the protector of the secular state set up by modern Turkey’s founder, Kemal Atatürk, and even the statement used to announce the coup directly quoted from him.
Although Erdogan has blamed a former AKP ally Fethullah Gülen—now in exile in the US—as being behind the attempted uprising, the naming of Supreme Military Council member and four-star Turkish air force general Akin Öztürk as the coup leader attempt has definitively showed the true forces behind the weekend’s events.
According to the Turkish Hürriyet newspaper, General Ozturk has been arrested and identified as the person who ordered the attempted coup. For this purpose, he used his influence in the air force to launch the operation, calling out F-14 jets and attack helicopters to support selected ground troops.
General Ozturk and a number of other officers will now be put on trial for treason. Erdogan has also rounded up nearly 3,000 troops and issued arrest warrants for 2,745 judges, in what will clearly be a purging of the last remaining opposition elements within the Turkish civil service.
“This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army,” Erdogan said after the coup had been suppressed.
The army plotters called themselves the “Peace at Home Council,” which was declared to the governing council of Turkey at the height of the coup attempt.
The “Peace at Home Council” denounced Erdogan’s increasingly non-secular style of government and said that they were taking over the country to “reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was damaged.”
Significantly, the “Peace at Home” phrase is derived from Atatürk’s famous saying “Peace At Home, Peace in the World.”
Atatürk, a racially-European type with blue eyes and blond hair, was a stridently secular revolutionary who was primarily responsible for the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1922 from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1931, Atatürk first used the phrase “Peace At Home” to describe Turkey’s internal and foreign policy. “To describe the stable and general diplomacy of the Republican People’s Party, I think this short sentence is enough: We work for peace at home, peace in the world,” he said.
That doctrine became the byword for his policies, the so-called Kemalist ideology, which effectively destroyed Islamic religious law in Turkey.
In 1926, for example, Atatürk abolished shari’ah law in Turkey in favor of an adapted Swiss, German, and Italian civil code, dissolved all Sufi Islam orders, and even made it a criminal offence to wear a fez.
The Turkish army—which Atatürk had led during the struggle to establish the Turkish republic, was the single strongest supporter of his reforms, and has maintained that support of the secular state ever since, interfering in politics more than once when it deemed that the Kemalist ideology was being threatened.
Erdogan’s AKP party—which clearly has majority support inside Turkey today—sprang directly from Islamism, and although it has officially abandoned that ideology in favor of “conservative democracy,” critics maintain that this is a disguise meant to hide its intentions of turning Turkey back into an Islamic state.
Erdogan makes little secret of his where his sympathies lie. For example, he is on record as calling for the “conquest” of Europe by Islam “through emigration” into Europe during a 2015 speech to celebrate the 562nd anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire’s Muslim armies.
* The controlled media has repeated Erdogan’s claims that Fethullah Gülen was behind the coup, even though there is no evidence at all to support the allegation.
Gülen has in fact dismissed the attempted coup d’état on his personal website as a “a study in ineptitude,” and said that a “successful coup would have been a disaster” because “Erdogan has massive support in the Anatolian heartland, particularly among religious conservatives.”
Furthermore, he wrote, “Mosques all over the country were lit through the night as imams echoed the president’s call for people to pour into the street. There can be little doubt that any military-controlled administration would have faced a Syria-like insurgency of Islamists and others. The blow to what is left in the Middle East of democratic institutions and the rule of law would have been devastating.”
Gülen split with Erdogan in 2013 over a corruption scandal involving the latter’s allies. Without any evidence, Erdogan accused Gülen of being behind the corruption investigations and placed him on Turkey’s most-wanted-terrorist list and there is an arrest warrant out for him.
The US has, however, refused to extradite Gülen, saying there is no evidence that he has participated in any terrorist activities.