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Geopolitics of coup in Turkey 

Geopolitics of coup in Turkey 
Highlights

Turkey’s labour minister accused the United States of involvement in the failed coup in Ankara. Though it received strong indignation from Washington, the close scrutiny of the recent geopolitics suggests that there’s no smoke without fire. 

Turkey’s labour minister accused the United States of involvement in the failed coup in Ankara. Though it received strong indignation from Washington, the close scrutiny of the recent geopolitics suggests that there’s no smoke without fire.

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the coup bid on supporters of U S based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he has frequently accused of trying to foment an uprising in the military, media and judiciary. Erdogan called on the United States to extradite Gulen. But, the post coup war of words between Turkey and US has history.

Though, democratically elected, the present right wing Islamic regime in Turkey nurtured a conservative religious vision for Turkey’s future. President Erdogan was even accused of imposing an authoritarian rule in the country relatively known for its democratic and secular ethos. Yet, the United States found in this political Islamist a close ally.

Thus Turkey is an important ally of US led NATO. The reason for US love for Erdogan was his government’s readiness to join forces with NATO in its war in Syria. The US led allies including Turkey were backing Islamist opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who had the support of Russia.

Reports suggest that irritants seem to have developed in US-Turkey relations. Analysts believe the reason to be Turkey‘s strategic shift towards Russia in the recent past. Though, Ankara is a US ally, its present regime took pride in ancient Ottoman Empire for which Turkey believes to be its cynosure. Turkey aspires to reincarnate its role in the modern era too. Thus, Turkey fails to settle for a subordinate role to US.

Historically too, Turkey tried to be an interlocutor between United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war period. More recently, Turkey is softening its relations with Russia from which it faced sanctions. The business and industrial lobbies in Turkey hard hit by Kremlin’s sanctions also wanted President Erdogan to reconcile ties with Moscow. Russia and Turkey are on the opposite sides of Syrian conflict.

But, Turkey seems to be moving towards Russia especially after the latter gained upper hand in the Syrian conflict. Thus, the recent shift in Turkey’s strategic relations reportedly angered Washington. Hence, the credence to the speculation that US may be behind the coup in Turkey as accused by its labour minister of a government friendly to Washington.

In fact, mired in corruption scandals, authoritarian dispensation and fundamentalist tryst for the country, President Erdogan has got alienated from large sections of the country’s population. Major cities have also witnessed large scale anti-government demonstrations. But, the aborted coup gave an opportunity to the discredited regime to consolidate its hold.

President Erdogan’s regime cannot be considered as a trusted ally in the war on ISIS as it had a history of allowing free movement of ISIS across Turkey’s borders and even trading with ISIS oil supplies. However, destabilisation of Turkey can lead to chaos that could have unpredictable consequences for the region and the world alike. However unpopular President Erdogan may be, military coups or external intervention in the name of regime change cannot determine the destiny of the nation.

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