By Nikos Nikitoglou
It was only a few hours after the coup. At the main square of Ankara, Kilizay, the mob is holding Erdoğan’s portraits with the words “Benim Baskanim”, “My president”. On the Fatih Sultan Mehmet and Boğaziçi bridges over the Bosphorus, as well as at Atatürk airport, people who took over the streets disarm, detain and verbally abuse young soldiers. Military officers and judiciary members are arrested. The coup is over, and a weird day is dawning in Turkey.
If the war in Vietnam came to be known in history as “the television war”, with hundreds of correspondents and thousands of hours of audiovisual material, then the coup of 15th July 2016 in Turkey will be remembered as “the live streaming coup”. The bombing of information –and misinformation- about the events in Turkey flooded the internet, the social media, the TVs, with the spectators facing the 21st century, where photos and videos are published by users, everything is live streamed, whereas tanks, military vehicles and armed soldiers look like museum exhibits.
With private TV stations not being under the putschists’s control, Erdoğan used the technology to deliver his speech to the Turkish people. He called on people to take over the streets and defend democracy and the institutions. Which democracy, however? And which institutions?
The questions resulting from the coup are many. Questions relating to the size of the forces mobilized; questions relating to non-arrest of political figures, with non-shutting down telecommunications; questions relating mostly to the plan of action. However, some political questions also arise. What was their plan after overthrowing the regime? Did they have any references on political level? Had they contacted any politicians, parties or movements which were oppositional to Erdoğan’s regime? The operation’s result seems to be the epitome of sloppiness.
In 1997, in the preface of Selahattin Celik’s book “The Criminal State”, professor Christodoulos Gialouridis stressed out:
“The Criminal State does not have an internal state legitimacy, since the democratic authorities apply in a twisted and distorted manner, and exist so that Turkey can participate in the occidental institutions as a an allegedly democratic state. It is a state which does not respect human and individual rights, does not respect its own citizens, whereas justice and other state institutions are manipulated and guided by the army’s, the National Security Council’s uncontrollable and non-transparent operation and the odd connection between the state and deep state’s gangs”.
Thus, this is an aspect of “pre- Erdoğan” Turkey. An aspect focusing on the determining relation between the military and the state, which instilled Turkey’s political system across all its dimensions, versions and parameters, social, political or state structures and institutions.
Turkey, nonetheless, since many years, has been living the “Erdoğan” era and many are those who approach the Turkish case through the Kemalism-Islam dipole. But these approaches belong to the past.
Erdoğan managed to establish a new order in Turkey. And this attempt had emerged already from his first mandate as prime minister, the Ergenekon scandal, his interventions in the military and the justice, the persecutions of academics, the imprisonments of journalists, the arrests of HDP and DBP members, the planning of a very dangerous deep state.
So, the truth is that on the night of 15th July no coup took place. The coup in Turkey is constant. A coup against free expression, individual freedoms, collective actions, whichever political procedure. And the main losers, up to this point, are the people of Turkey.
*Translated in English by Afterwords