What The F*ck Is Going On In Turkey? A Wonksplainer!
This photo by Gurcan Ozturk is one of many great pictures from the last 24 hours.
Remember many, many years ago, when we were all making fun of the Trump-Pence sexxx logo? (NSFW, because Donald Trump sex, ew.) Oh, how innocent we were, mid-Friday afternoon, before HOLY SHIT, TANKS ON THE STREETS OF ISTANBUL, PEOPLE POURING ONTO THE STREETS AND CLIMBING ON THE TANKS AND WOW, WTF!?
What appears to have been an attempted coup by a faction of the Turkish military has apparently failed, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government is claiming they are in control. The coup participants and other usual suspects are being rounded up. More than one hundred people were killed in fighting between the military rebels, other parts of the military, and police, while more than 1,000 were injured.
Erdoğan, you may recall, is a deeply corrupt, grandiose flaming asshole, paranoid and vindictive to Nixonian levels. His "Freedom and Justice" party has run Turkey since 2002, all the while causing suspicion that its center-right identity is merely a mask for its true Islamist intentions.
So naturally, some cheered the idea of the good old Turkish Army protecting Turkish freedoms by bombing its parliament and assassinating its president. Sometimes it is necessary to destroy the democracy in order to save it, amirite, professional Islamophobe Brigitte Gabriel?
Gabriel was part of a parade of Fox pundits last night who first applauded the coup attempt, then blamed Obama for its failure. You see, the weak, feckless tyrant Obama attacked Libya's dictator, but failed to attack Syria's dictator, which caused ISIS to spread in Libya AND Syria, which weakened Erdoğan, which led to the coup, which failed for lack of U.S. support, which strengthened Erdoğan, which = ISIS wins and we will all be killed in our beds. That's just math.
Donald J. Trump, meanwhile, kept his eye firmly on the ball by blaming Hillary Clinton for unspecified acts of foreign policy. We're pretty sure Trump couldn't find Turkey on a map, because no Miss Turkey has ever won the Miss Universe pageant (we looked it up because we are srs foreign-policy journal). But still, he has opinions and they are great, strong, beautiful opinions about, y'know, foreign stuff.
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Turned out that many Turks disagreed that the coup was such a good thing, as evidenced by the swarms of unarmed people who faced down tanks in the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. Erdoğan is deeply unpopular, but so was George W. Bush in 2008, and you wouldn't have seen much support for the U.S. Army rolling tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue. Unlike American wingnuts who see the entire world in terms of slavering Islamist murderers and their feckless, weak liberal enablers, Turks have their own stuff to deal with, and it's all very complicated.
Take the war in neighboring Syria, which can best be understood by a deep study of "Monty Python's Life of Brian." Erdoğan is mostly interested in fighting Kurdish nationalists, along with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, plus ISIS when he can get to it. The U.S. wants Assad out, but is mainly fighting alongside Kurds and other anti-Assad rebels against ISIS. Russia supports Assad against U.S.-backed rebels because he's provided them with a military base, and also out of general dickishness against Turkey and the U.S., and Assad and Russia are also fighting ISIS half-heartedly to win points in the Muslim world. Because EVERYBODY hates ISIS, they are literally the worst.
ISIS took credit for the recent horrific attack on Turkey's main international airport, which has wrecked the tourism industry and hurt Turkey's already mismanaged economy, and Erdoğan has recently moved toward a more serious commitment to fighting them and sealing the Turkey-Syria border.
Meanwhile, there's this whole matter about Gülenists, who we can't even, here just read this. Short version, Gülen is this anti-Erdoğan cleric/politico who lives in Pennsylvania, and the Turkish government says he's basically Osama bin Laden. He might be more like L. Ron Hubbard, we don't know, fuck, Turkey is complicated. Suffice to say that some wingnuts think Gülen is a Manchurian candidate, too, because what part of Islamophobia don't you understand?
The reason to care about Gülen if you're not actually cult-shopping is that the Turkish government is blaming him and his supporters for the coup, and saying any country that supports him is an enemy of Turkey. Since he lives in the United States, this could cause trouble; the big air base at Incirlik is key to air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
We are certainly no fans of Erdoğan, who is a corrupt shithead who has been undermining his country's judiciary in order to further rampant crookedness to go along with his religion-based homophobia and misogyny. (You know how some weird Americans are always saying our freedom "belongs to the troops?" In Turkey, the military historically defends multi-religious, secular society, aka actually enforces the nation's freedoms.)
But we also are not big fans of military overthrows of elected leaders, even when it's sort of your national thing.
Mainly, we would just like everyone to act more responsibly, so we can get back to this: