There has been a lot of talk about “coups” the past two years, not just in the U.S. but around the globe. As I have noted in recent articles, failed coups in particular have been very popular as a way for certain governments to solidify power and assert dictatorial changes. In some cases, there has been no concrete evidence presented that the coup ever really existed.
In Turkey in 2016, Recep Erdogan claimed “success” in stopping a potential coup involving numerous government employees and military personnel which included active combat around major government sites such as the presidential palace and Turkish parliament. Erdogen argues that the coup was a part of the “Gulen Movement,” a political opposition movement surrounding Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogen who has resided in the U.S. since 1999 and had a falling out with the Turkish president in 2013 after criticisms of Erdogen’s corruption.
So far, evidence of actual “combat” with coup forces is thin to the point that it is questionable whether a coup ever really happened. Most reports cite fire from tanks and planes, as well as nearly 300 people killed. Video footage shows random firing, some explosions in civilian areas as well as Turkish citizens mobbing aimlessly around tanks. With tens of thousands of government employees imprisoned or dismissed after the event, the amount of kinetic conflict seems rather limited and tame.
Two years later, Turkey has yet to produce any hard proof of a coup, let alone proof that the “Gulen Movement” was involved. In July of this year, Erdogen submitted “evidence” which he says is grounds for extradition of Fethullah Gulen. This evidence appears to revolve around alleged visits made to Gulen’s FETO compound in Pennsylvania by accused members of the coup, but does not provide any clarification on evidence of the coup itself.
The chaotic event lasted mere hours and smells of a “wag the dog” scenario; a completely fabricated “Reichstag Fire” attack which could have been easily scripted by Erdogen himself as an excuse to assert totalitarian controls in Turkey and to remove pesky political critics and people within government and the military that held contrary views to Erdogen. Erdogen pointed a finger at the Gulen Movement before the smoke even cleared on the coup attempt,