Corporate media’s Turkey spin: “Attempted coup” bears the marks of an authoritarian power grab orchestrated by Erdoğan
Last week’s events in Turkey leave astute observers with more questions than answers
Recip Tayyip Erdoğan has to be the most exotic political figure to come down the pike in who can say how long. “Tinpot” is too good a term for the Turkish dictator. Desperate for a place in the larger-than-life file, he nonetheless comes over as smaller — crudely corrupt, artless in his political schemes, delusions of grandeur but no grandeur. It is astounding to watch as Erdoğan, who possesses the very soul of a mooching client, brazenly abuses the interests of those who prop him up in the service of his parochial self-aggrandizement.
And that is what Erdoğan is doing as we speak.
We do not yet know with certainty if Erdoğan was the object of a coup attempt last Friday or if the Islamist autocrat has just treated the world to another bit of the political theater — make that vaudeville — of the kind he uses to preface his purges. But that matters less than one might think when placed against the larger realities: This guy is now embarked on the final stage of his long campaign to turn Turkey into an Islamist nation. This seems to be it—the moment he has spent his political career preparing for. And as he witchhunts a nation of 80 million people, he is once again — and it seems to me willfully — playing Washington and the Europeans like violins.
Watch now as Erdoğan buries what remains of Turkey’s long secularist tradition and “annihilates”—his prime minister’s term—all opposition. Then watch as his Western sponsors continue to pretend they support a “flawed democracy”—the New York Times’ very flawed description Monday of the limitlessly cynical Erdoğan’s devastating regime.
The Obama administration gets the worst of it. Erdoğan, long consumed by vengeance and resentment, now demands that the U.S. extradite a Sufi cleric named Fethullah Gulen from his self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen—moderate in his political views, patently opposed to violent political action and bearing no mark of Islamic extremism—is charged as the mastermind of last Friday’s events. It is shocking to watch President Obama parries Erdoğan as he persists with his extradition request—leveled with a veiled threat to scuttle the bilateral relationship entirely if Washington does not cooperate.