It is not hard to imagine the U.S. cooperating with the coup plotters, namely the Peace at Home Council, instead of cooperating with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, because as they expressed in their statement, the coup perpetrators promised to accept all the criticism made by the U.S. with regard to Turkey and correct them according to their wishes. The plotters wanted to pursue an introverted foreign policy that doesn't object to the People's Protection Units' (YPG) seizure of land to the west of the Euphrates River and support for the withdrawal of its military presence in Mosul if the U.S. wished so.
President Erdoğan has annoyed the U.S. by not making any concessions in Turkey's independent foreign policy following the coup attempt. Unlike former leaders, what motivates Erdoğan is not pleasing Washington. His sole motivation is to defend the interests of the Turkish people. Recently, the Turkish Stream project, which will transmit gas from Russia to Europe through Turkey, was signed. With this agreement, rapprochement in Turkish-Russian political relations has been consolidated. Also, the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, which is to become the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, is being constructed in cooperation with Russia. All of these are significant factors.
In return, the U.S. is trying to put pressure on Turkey through its economy and in field conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Also, it is planning to keep its attacks on Turkey's state mechanisms, which are struggling to survive following endeavors to purge a shadowy structure that infiltrated the state apparatuses over a 40-year period. It is evident that the structuring of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) does not resemble any other cults in terms of hierarchical order. Even though it is clear that FETÖ-linked names were appointed to state positions because FETÖ supplied the questions and answers to its followers for the Public Personnel Selection Exam, the U.S. still wants to question why FETÖ-linked teachers have been discharged from duty. Or, they argue that Erdoğan is a name who disregards the law and polarizes the state despite increasing popularity in Turkey.
What they could not see is that Turkey is accustomed to such attacks, particularly in the aftermath of July 15. For instance, Michael Rubin, who wrote in March 2016 that a coup attempt was coming, wrote in his latest article for the American Enterprise Institute that the purge of FETÖ-linked officers caused much more damage to Turkish democracy than the coup attempt itself, in which some 241 citizens were killed within 12 hours.
He also accused Erdoğan of turning the state into a "mafia state." If by "mafia state" we mean a state in which authorities such as police, and the military take part in illicit enterprises as a part of an illegal organization, then, Turkey is recently trying to clear the mafia network out of its system.Rubin also claimed that Erdoğan has close relations with Sedat Peker, an organized crime leader, and former minister Mehmet Ağar, even though there is no evidence corroborating that aside from a photo shot at a wedding picturing the president with Peker. The fact that Rubin jumped to a conclusion regarding the president and could not find Gülen's ties with the Turkish police or military for years despite all the evidence, demonstrates that he desperately needs to blame Erdoğan.
Undoubtedly, just as he previously came up with arguments to legitimize a coup before the July 15 incident took place, Rubin now tries to justify the coup attempt with his new arguments. His attempt to put the blame on two irrelevant and weak figures is maybe nothing but a pathetic effort to conceal the main actor. Rubin finished his article by describing Erdoğan as a "dead man walking," which is actually a good sign indicating where the actual mafia organization is situated.
As the Turkish people did during the July 15 resistance, people will determinedly fight all the actors against Turkey no matter what.
About the author
Hilal Kaplan is a journalist and columnist. Kaplan is also board member of TRT, the national public broadcaster of Turkey.