It looks like the coup attempt in Turkey has failed. The rebels seemed to not have the support of most of the military nor the support of opposition parties, who took to the streets against the coup-plotters along with supporters of President Erdogan. That effect had odd echoes of the ouster of Marcos in the Philippines, where "people power" (and some of the military) refused to let him steal a presidential election.
The coverage last night was somewhat surreal, as a very confused situation had reporters scrambling. Turkish broadcasters were raided by the rebels, and Erdogan was left to connect via a Facetime app, as a uncaptured station put the camera up to a cell-phone with Erdogan's feed playing; now that's a 21st century moment.
Erdogan has been far from helpful, showing an authoritarian streak, closing some unfriendly media outlets and escalating tensions with their Kurdish minority. He's also been rather problematic geopolitically, backing Hamas in Gaza and working at cross-purposes to the US in Syria, bombing Syrian Kurds who are allied with the US against ISIS and Assad and giving ISIS and al Nuzra fighters freedom of movement.
As I was toggling between Fox News and CNN last night, I was getting a bit exasperated with the Fox team, who seemed to be rooting for the rebels.
The elephant in the room that I haven't mentioned so far is Islam. Erdogan leads a pro-Islamic party, which in an era fearful of Islamic terror creates an instinctive dislike from American conservatives. Conservative Americans who would decry secularism when it encroaches on Christian culture are cheering the secularist heirs of Attaturk on when they try to stifle Islamic culture in Turkey.
For instance, merely wearing a scarf to work or school was a no-no in the pre-Erdogan era in their push to create a secular public square. Turkey's not alone on that front, for France has moved in that direction as well. Fox News has a regular column from Todd Starnes chronicling secularism on the march in schools and government against Christian expression and other non-PC activity, yet they seem to cheer on that march when it is Muslims being stifled.
When you add pro-Hamas and not-enough-against-ISIS moves by Erdogan in the recent past, he becomes persona non grata to the cause of prosecuting the "war on terror." That was hammered home last night.
A more secular government in Ankara would be helpful in the short term in Syria and to a lesser extent vis-a-vis Israel, although there has been a bit of a rapprochement between Israel and Turkey as of late, recovering from an incident a few years back where Israeli troops had to violently board a Turkish ship sending weapons along with humanitarian aid to Gaza. One would assume that a secularized military would be more anti-ISIS, less pro-Hamas and possibly a bit less confrontational about turning Turkish Kurds into "mountain Turks."
However, that would take the most democratic Muslim country (you can't quite say "only democratic..." since Indonesia is working on it, but is not as far removed from military rule) back to the "he's our SOB" era, where a large chunk of the population becomes disenfranchised. If only secularized folks need apply to work or send their kids to school, then it drives folks of faith out of the public square and fuels resentment. Without a peaceful outlet for redressing grievances, they might turn to violence, something all too familiar in that region.
Erdogan will likely need to purge the military, but he might need to couple that with being less confrontational with his peaceful political foes. The latter sadly seems to go against type, since he seems to have an in-your-face MO that is easy to dislike if you are on the other side of the aisle.
If Erdogan is smart, he'll not squander the goodwill generated by the coup and and respect human rights and be more polite to his critics. However, I have a degree in Poli-Sci, not Pollyanna, so it would be well within character to go into "kill them, kill them all" beast mode.