Turkey has been greatly affected by the resulting turmoil after the Arab Spring in Syria was stopped and the revolution turned into a proxy war. After all its efforts, including calls for reform failed and Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime continued to kill his own people, Ankara became a member of the Friends of Syria group along with 113 other countries and started to see the Syrian opposition as Syria's sole legitimate representative. There is nothing left of that group today. Although countries like Turkey, Qatar and France have tried to keep their promises to the Syrian people, the United States, which actually spearheaded the initiative, has changed its Syria policy again and again since 2012 and has played a major role in the dirty war reaching its fifth year.
Meanwhile in Turkey, Gülenists, who have been accusing Ankara of a blind anti-Assad stance over the last three years, were talking about a possible NATO intervention while Ankara was trying to put out the fire in Syria through dialogue. The Gülenist enmity toward Iran, which they have been refraining from mentioning following the nuclear deal, was a common trait of almost all of them back then.
Another group that has lately been a Gülenist ally, Kemalists, the anti-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan camp, has been siding with the Assad regime since the very beginning. According to those who are mostly seculars, leftists or Kemalists, Gülenists were behind the trials like Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer). They were calling Gülenists the "imam's army," a term in which the imam refers to Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the Gülen Movement. Iran was also a target of hate symbolizing an Islamist regime for them. As enemies become friends and friends become foes in many wars, this group has formed an alliance with Gülenists and Iran sympathizers. When the outlawed PKK joined this strange alliance of Gülenists and Kemalists, both of which were against the reconciliation process between the state and PKK that started in 2013, we became faced with a more or less pro-Assad "axis of evil." This axis has been accusing Ankara of having poor foreign policies, while some among them who, beyond making accusations, have attacked in order to sabotage state policies and tried to make the government lose its legitimacy or capacity to run the country.
The Arab Spring was going to open a door for a new Middle Eastern order if it was not stopped in Syria. The anti-Erdoğan camp's motive is focused against Ankara's claim of a "new Turkey," which has connections with a possible new Middle Eastern order. While some, like Gülenists, were pro-Western and some, like leftists, were anti-Western in the past, they have become allies in the fight of the old against the new in Turkey as we have seen in other examples in the Middle East. Attacking the people's will for the last three years, the anti-Erdoğan camp lately started to increasingly use threats of a civil war and a coup with the help of escalating terrorist attacks.
It may not be easy to reach the peace we seek as long as this war between the new and the old continues and becomes dirtier. However, for Turkey, whose economy still stands strong despite all the global uncertainty, and whose military goes on to gain strength despite all the attacks, I do not believe the threat of a civil war in Turkey is realistic. It is clear that the aim of spreading rumors of the possibility of a civil war is to create pressure on the state, nation and particularly on the military and to push the military to a coup. But this threat is very unlikely today. If the anti-Erdoğan camp found that opportunity, we would have already seen it by now. A few days before the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 coup attempts in 2013, Gülen sent an open message to soldiers that said: "It breaks my heart to see elderly men being called to account. If I had the chance, I would tell them they are all free," calling out to high-rank soldiers who were tried and sentenced in the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon cases. However, the defendants as well as the military itself know that Gülenists staged these cases and that they would not have happened unless an order was received from Western circles and that those cases are linked with the situation that the region has been going through today.On the other hand, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is no longer a military that carries out coups with orders given by Western counties like it did in the past. It holds the interests of Turkey above all else despite all pressure. Although the anti-Erdoğan camp almost begs for it, the odds for a coup in Turkey are all but impossible.
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