It is not easy to hear Western politicians and bureaucrats say anything substantial, and it is obvious that those individuals in the EU in particular are experienced in negotiation and dialogue processes. Yet, it is easy to find a Western politician who would regurgitate rhetoric regardless of their truth or factualness, and even if you do not garner enough support in your country or cannot persuade your community with your arguments, you can often find a Western politician that will repeat your ideas.
We have recently seen the name of European Parliament Vice Chairman Graf Lambsdorff repeated through Turkish media outlets. Last week, he assertively said on a TV program that the Dec. 17 operation was not a coup. He said that he did not think it was a coup, but an operation organized to reveal systematic corruption. He also added that the Turkish public knows the meaning of coup very well since they have experienced military coups in the past. For him, the government is trying to evoke negative connotations in the minds of most Turks by using the word "coup."
I do not think Lambsdorff listened to his own words or even thought about them since he always gives the same statement and seems to be fixed on this idea. So, we would like to take this expert opinion seriously that, according to his logic, Dec. 17 is not a coup and does not have anything in common with any coup at all. As it is known, however, public surveys in Turkey have revealed that the most common belief in society is that "there [is] both corruption and [a] coup." However, for Lambsdorff, the prosecutors of the operation nearly represented a puritan approach, since they were trying to understand if there was corruption. Consequently, for him, they could not intend to deliberately charge the government since their position is so neutral.
This opinion also implies that the government tries to evoke negative connotations by calling an innocent operation a "coup" in order to cover up the corruptions it exposed. However, according to Lambsdorff, there is a specific populace before the government that has experienced all the varieties of coups so far. So, they could not be easily deceived. But there is an outstanding oddity in such a picture. How come, then, according to public surveys, 70 percent of the public that is very familiar with the coups said the government could not possibly deceive them? Also, how come the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) received 44 percent of votes in the local elections held in March while media outlets supporting this "innocent operation" were predicting that the parties they support would get 30 percent? More importantly, how could Recep Tayyip Erdoğan receive 52 percent of votes in the presidential election, even though police officers were discharged from duty and there was an explicit intervention in the judiciary?
Lambsdorff might answer these questions in two ways. He might say the Turkish public is gradually shifting to ideological Islamism. Otherwise, the support given to the AK Party would not be very realistic, even though the definition of coup is known and it is believed that there is corruption. This is a quite well-thought answer. Because if this is the reality, of course Turkey's membership in the EU cannot even be considered, which would please Lambsdorff. But also there is a second possible explanation: That a coup was actually staged on Dec. 17 and the Turkish public directly recognized the coup. But Lambsdorff probably does not even want to think about the presence of such a possibility since he thinks there was no coup on Dec. 17 and would not doubt the certainty of his idea as a Westerner. As he maintains this expert opinion, media outlets will undoubtedly host him for numerous times since a Western perspective that is not experienced about coups is still regarded as being highly needed.