Analysis: Failed coup will strengthen Erdogan

Erdogan is back in charge  but for how long? Picture: Anadolu Agency via AP

Erdogan is back in charge  but for how long? Picture: Anadolu Agency via AP

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a singular ambition to transform his office into a powerful executive presidency. This has generated discontent.

This failed coup was led by mainly low-ranking officers in the Turkish military. Their main gripe was what they see as the centralisation of power in Erdogan’s hands.

Turkey’s political climate is becoming increasingly polarised. The country has witnessed 14 major bomb attacks over the last year, many of them carried out by either Islamic State militants or the separatist PKK Kuridstan Workers’ Party. This increasingly means that Turkey is perceived as an unstable and insecure place – and the failed coup will strengthen that feeling.

Why did the coup fail? First of all, it lacked popular support. Most Turks – irrespective of their political affiliations – no longer support military intervention in political life.

It also lacked political support from the opposition parties. Crucially, it didn’t even enjoy the broad support of the Turkish military itself, nor did it find any support among Turkey’s international Nato partners.

In the short term, I believe this coup will strengthen Erdogan’s position, but over time the instability will intensify. We have seen urban warfare in the Kurdish-dominated south-eastern part of the country and this is linked to developments in Syria where the Syrian- Turkish fighters are considered closely linked to the PKK.

In the longer term this polarisation will further damage Turkey’s economy, which is heavily dependent on speculative financial flows. The Turkish private sector owes $225 billion – and this is becoming increasingly burdensome. Now that the coup has failed, that is Erdogan’s next big challenge.

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