It’s 2016. Later generations will remember this as a really…weird year. We’ve seen so many deaths this year already, so many tragedies and the year isn’t even over yet. We’ve kind of just passed the “halfway through it” mark and already this is a year that I’d like to reboot very much. Just hit that “exit” button and continue on from an earlier savegame. But this is the real world. We’re not in a game, there is no replay, no restore to latest check point, what’s done is done.
Islamistic terror. Brexit. Many stars and icons of our youths and childhoods have found death in 2016. Most recent: just yesterday a select group within the Turkish military tried to stage a coup against its – at least on paper, calling Erdogan a 100% democrat is too sarcastic even for me – democratically elected government causing the death of over 100 people and leaving over 1000 injured and the world in shock and awe.
It all gets a bit weirder and more shocking if you actually know people there and if there are people you value, know and like right in the middle of it. I am happy that my friends in Istanbul and Ankara are safe. It did feel weird though sitting on my sofa at home, safe and sound, while these events unfolded. My bosses and I were supposed to be there for an annual team/community event and had we not decided – in light of what had already gone down in Turkey this year before – not to go we would have been there yesterday. It makes you feel weird…and humble. Us Westerners in our cozy and safe homes and surroundings, we often speak up and pretend we know things, claim to be brave and all and that we’d know how to react if things happened. We know nothing. We’re safe here in (Western) Europe. Compared to the people in Turkey, the Middle East, all those regions at war and in terror currently, we’re as safe as any human could be.
Where do we go from here? I have no idea. Many things are unclear about this whole situation. It could have all been staged by Erdogan himself, could very well be his very own “reichstag fire” enabling him to now erect the police state I believe he’s yearning for for such a long time now. He already announced “cleansings” that will take place in the military now. The last secular forces in the country can now openly and freely be attacked and taken down by him because they’ve been stupid enough to choose the wrong method to achieve the right goal. I do agree that Erdogan must go. I do agree that he’s deeply undemocratic, fundamentalist and anything but good for a democratic, secular and modern Turkey. I do fear he will lead Turkey back into dark ages. I do however think that a military coup can never really be the beginning of a democratic, peaceful reconstitution of a state. Look at the “arabic spring” and where it left us. Is any of those countries better off now than they were back then? Hardly.
The one thing I believe the most: you can never win such a situation if you don’t have the support of the general populace. The military didn’t which is why they lost. Erdogan had enough time to indoctrinate his citizens. With a majority of them he seems to have succeeded enough so that they would actually stand up against the military on his request. There’s no way you can fight against this and win. As long as the majority of Turks doesn’t want to get rid of Erdogan we will not see change there and trying to bring about change through a military coup is understandable…but wrong.