As the attempted armed coup in Turkey dies down, we try to decipher who was behind it and why did they do it.
It’s been four days since relatively quiet ambience of Turkish capital Ankara was destroyed with the noises of tanks, guns and helicopters.
What was earlier seen as an army coup, it brought the world to a standstill because it was unexpected not just for the world but also for Turkey itself.
Who was behind it?
The earliest reports said it was US backing army generals who tried to overthrow the president and take charge, the reason given was simple- Turkey was not cooperating with the US in the fight against ISIS.
This led to another speculation, that the army was supported by ISIS, although government officials have vehemently denied this claim a certain section believes that ISIS did have a major role to play in this whole debacle.
President Erdogan blames Islamic religious leader Fethullah Gulen for starting the unrest but it comes as no surprise to anyone since Erdogan has for long blamed Gulen for trying to do something of this sort. Gulen has openly criticized Erdogan’s policies and has been pretty vocal in his desire to establish the ‘Caliphate’ again.
This is where it gets complicated!
Once friends, Gulen and Erdogan are now bitter enemies. Gulen has huge mass support in Turkey, he runs schools, hospitals and other welfare institutions, thus for him to start a coup is easy since his followers are everywhere- in the army, government and courts.
But Gulen was one of the first to condemn this coup and Erdogan’s decision to not let Gulen enter Turkey is also seen as an attempt to save the condition from deteriorating.
Turkey now has a divided army.
Thousands of soldiers have been arrested and hundreds of judiciary members removed since Friday’s uprising, which left at least 290 people dead and more than 1,400 injured in a chaotic night of violence.
The arrests include the commander of the Incirlik Air Base. The United States uses the airbase to launch airstrikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
If the army generals truly wanted to seize power, then the reason is evident- they wanted the control Erdogan had taken from them. Turkey has a strong and politically active army, but since Erdogan took power he has controlled the army and its management. The coup is a retaliation of his methods.
The motive has been unclear but it is guaranteed that the coup was backed by external forces and the roots of coup ran deep into the army. Turkey needs to strengthen itself against further such attacks if, ISIS is truly the mastermind.