The Middle East is famous for wild conspiracy theories. A majority of Arabs don’t believe that American astronauts ever landed on the moon, and think that Israeli Mossad agents staged the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Friday’s failed Turkish coup d’etat attempt seems so bizarre and pointless, that it makes fertile ground for conspiracy theorists.
True, President Recep Erdogan had been cracking down on the press, political opposition, and those who would resist his authoritarian Islamist rule anyway. Now he has an excuse to ferret out disloyal army brigades, to arrest and even execute his political opponents. He’s already arrested 3000 people for treason and sedition, including 5 generals and a colonel.
Erdogan has said that the military members behind the mutiny will be treated no differently than terrorists. It is interesting to note that he has not traveled the 200 miles from Istanbul to Ankara, the capital. Some believe this indicates that the capital is not in the governments control after all.
But others note that he did seem to put this mutiny down more easily than taking a Turkish bath.
Twitter of course was full of conspiracy theories. They opined that the coup was in fact a deliberate false flag event. “Now they will have an excuse to purge the military which they want to do anyway.” Another user said “I just want Turkey to be a secular state like it used to be.”
“This is truly awesome. Turkey was funding the enemy, ISIS, by buying oil. Coup is sketchy but a good thing, said another Twitter post.
There were of course the usual anti-Semitic Middle Eastern conspiracy theories that Erdogan is actually Jewish and in league with the Zionists. This one goes as follows:
Turkish-Israeli relations which had been good prior to 2004, took a downturn during the Gaza flotilla. Despite US mediation, no improvement came.
However, in December 2015, Turkey and Israel began to negotiate on restoring diplomatic relations by holding a secret meeting, in the aftermath of the 2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown by Turkey the previous month, and the subsequent crisis with Russia and the increasing isolation of Turkey.
The two countries reached an agreement on 27 June 2016 to start the process of normalization, reported Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz. It is uncertain how the mutiny will actually affect the process. But the essence of the conspiracy theory is that the US wanted Turkey, the most powerful military in the region, to normalize relations with Israel prior to invading Syria and Iraq. This event gave Erdogan cover to “reconcile with the Zionists.” The timing of the coup, just 2 weeks after the agreement, is more than a little suspicious, no?
If none of this appeals to your sense of logic, it’s because you didn’t grow up in the Middle East. Ergün Poyraz, in his 2007 book Children of Moses, wrote that Turkey’ Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his wife, are crypto-Jews, who secretly work with Israeli intelligence. The Turkish public has turned against Israel generally in recent years, especially over the Gaza issue. The theory here is that Erdogan, being Jewish, wanted to distract the Turkish Public from “Zionist war crimes” committed in Gaza.
In 2007, Poyraz was arrested and eventually sentenced to 29 years in prison by the Erdogan government. Here’s why: Poyraz claims that Erdoğan came to power as part of a Zionist conspiracy devised by Turkey’s JİTEM, a secret government intelligence unit.
JİTEM is believed to be behind many bombings, attacks and assassinations, and is believed to be linked to Ergenekon, which was part of the CIA’s Operation Gladio.
And if you believe all of this, I own a bridge across the Bosphorus that you might want to consider buying.
The failed Turkish Coup attempt of 2016 is a serious matter. 104 rebel soldiers were killed and 3000 arrested. 41 police officers and 2 soldiers died defending the government.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Turkish_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat_attempt
On 13 July, less than two days before the coup was launched, Erdoğan signed a bill giving Turkish soldiers immunity from prosecution while taking part in domestic security operations, requiring cases against commanders to be approved by the prime minister, while cases against lower-ranking soldiers may be signed off by district governors.
The immunity bill was seen as further evidence Erdogan himself staged the coup–he gave the soldiers immunity from prosecution 48 hours before the revolt began.
Commentator Fareed Zakaria says that no country has had a successful middle-class revolution since Argentina in the 1980s, following their disastrous military adventure in the Falkland islands. Most political scientists would agree, and Turkey is largely prosperous and middle-class by Middle Eastern standards .
Turkey is a member of the European Union and NATO, and is usually used as a model of stability within the Islamic world.
Erdogan led Turkey from 2003 to 2014 and as the Mayor of İstanbul from 1994 to 1998. He founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001 and led it to three general election victories in 2002, 2007 and 2011 before standing down as leader upon his election as President in 2014. Originating from an Islamist political background and as a self-described conservative democrat, his administration has overseen social conservative and liberal economic policies.
Nationwide protests against the perceived authoritarianism of Erdoğan’s government began in May 2013, with the internationally criticised police crackdown resulting in 22 deaths and the stalling of EU membership negotiations. Following a split with long-time ally Fethullah Gülen, Erdoğan brought about large-scale judicial reforms that were criticised for threatening judicial independence. A US$100 billion government corruption scandal in 2013 led to the arrests of Erdoğan’s close allies, with Erdoğan himself incriminated after a recording was released on social media.
Erdoğan’s government has since come under fire for electoral fraud, demeaning the Constitution, alleged human rights violations and crackdown on press and social media, having blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on numerous occasions.
Opposition journalists and politicians have thus branded him a “dictator”.
For more about Israeli-Turkish relations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Turkey_relations