Let’s hope evil leads to good in Turkey

Let’s hope evil leads to good in Turkey

Turkey has been in turmoil since the bloody coup attempt of July 15 and the future is still unclear. Nevertheless, the worst case scenarios did not happen and Turkey is in better shape than it was a few days ago, or even a few months ago. A successful coup would have been the worst case scenario and a counter coup by the ruling party would be another nightmare. 

Fortunately, things have taken an unexpected twist over the last few days, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party seemed to opt for a reconciliatory and moderate path. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) started to be considered as an democratic political actor, and an inclusive mood replaced the divisive and hostile political discourse. If the evil of the coup attemp has played into the hands of good, it is welcome. 

It may be too early to be optimistic and, of course, this may also lead to an authoritarian consensus, but the CHP opposed “the state of emergency” in parliament and the ruling party refrained from making a fuss about it. 

In fact, the details of what actually happened on the night of the coup attempt are still unclear, and no story is more convincing than the other. So it is silly to try to make healthy analyses in the absence of the extensive knowledge of the unfolding events. Erdoğan has even claimed that he did not get intelligence about the coup attempt from the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), but learned about it from his brother-in-law. Under the circumstances, the whole affair seems to be more complicated and dark than it seems at first sight. 

Some people looking for easy explanations claim that Erdoğan staged a pseudo coup himself in order to tighten his grip on power, as they think Erdoğan is a monster who is capable of all sorts of evil. Such theories are evidence of a sick mind. Others among the supporters of Erdoğan have lost no time in accusing the U.S. and/or “global masterminds” of staging a plot to kill Erdoğan in order to drag Turkey into disaster. This is a sign of another kind of sick mind. 

It is obvious the Gülen movement played the major role, but it seems that it was either a half-baked attempt or, curiously enough, was not even designed to be successful. The heroic resistance of Erdoğan’s supporters who flocked to the streets and the resolve of the opposition to stand up against military intervention deserve to be appreciated, but they could not be the sole explanation for the failure of the coup. It seems that pro-coup soldiers were only a small segment in the army, without the help of the majority. The rest remains unclear. 

The great purge and emergency law that have come after the coup attempt are really alarming for the prospects of Turkey’s democracy and indeed for individual freedoms. Nevertheless, in truth Turkey has had no democracy for some time. As for now, it is unclear whether the Gülen group will become the scapegoat for all evils in Turkey and lead to some sort of political consensus against “the common enemy,” or whether it will be used as a tool of legitimacy for a further purge against all opposition. It is also unclear whether the ruling party will use popular support to further mobilize the religious and nationalist masses to change the political system, or will choose to revise its ideas about the parliamentary system. 

So far, the discourse of Erdoğan and his party has been much milder than before. His relations with the opposition party have improved in a positive way and even the Kurdish conflict has been overshadowed by the conflict with the Gülen group. Last but not least, the media is more united in the name of democracy. After all, Erdoğan and his party members used CNN Türk as a major channel to communicate with the public during the coup attempt, whereas this media group has long been condemned for plotting against Erdoğan’s rule. 

The only hope for Turkey is the continuation of this mood, and to let evil work for the good.