WHEN I was writing this article, official statements were released to declare that the coup attempt in Turkey was over. Therefore, I will not talk about the coup and the dramatic events that occurred as they have been covered fully by the media. I will not sell water in the neighborhood of thirst quenchers, which is a well-known Egyptian adage.
However, I will write about a strange thing I noticed during this coup, which is the reaction of governments and people. I will start with the governments, and obviously in this case I mean the United States of America, Russia, and the rest of the countries. It seemed as though the situation with many countries was like — ‘I did not say so and do not make me bad’! Of course, I understand the stances of some opposing countries and those that are not comfortable with Erdogan’s foreign policy.
I am certain you all know and are not surprised, as this is the nature of international relations — rise and deterioration, conflict and reconciliation. In the end, interests are the most important way in which these relations move.
I start with the USA which described the coup in the beginning as “an uprising”. When you read this word, you will think that it represents the emotions of people who revolt against injustice. It is clear that the stance of the USA was not neutral and not in support of legitimacy.
The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov issued a soft statement which implied between the lines that the coup will be a success. I will not talk about the parties in Damascus where gunshots were fired over the hope that the enemy of Syria was being defeated. France, which was wounded by the attack in Nice, attracted attention when they closed their embassy three days before the coup. Here is where the discussions of good and bad intentions start.
Regarding the Arab countries, their stance is known. Their reaction was clearer than the sun during the day, despite their silence which resembles the silence of an abstaining girl when her marriage discussions are going on and her silence is the answer which indicates that she has accepted her destiny. This is what millions of guardians of these countries followed by saying Yes or No — Yes because they are against Erdogan, and No because they know what is going on politically and are aware of his local and foreign policy. The Arabs of ‘No’ consider Erdogan as an Islamic leader who will restore back the glory of Islamic conquests! There are many who sympathize with Erdogan even though he belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood Group.
It is obvious that they do not know he is leading a secular state which has a constitution that does not contain even a single religious phrase. The sympathy towards Erdogan might be because of the facilities he offered which did not exist before such as allowing prayers, allowing women to cover their hair and other aspects which are Islamic in nature.
These are supposed to be part of personal freedom which any respected state should guarantee for their citizens. We can understand the situation of Islamic groups that desire Erdogan to continue and their support for him. Amazingly, Turkish people who arose to confront the coup did not raise even a single picture of Erdogan. They carried the flag of Turkey. Even the opposition parties and the political enemies of Erdogan confronted the coup attempt.
The entire action was based on patriotism. It is a matter of principles and has nothing to do with personal interests and feelings. This coup attempt is the fifth in the history of Turkey, as the Turkish Army is used to leading and directing the state based on their desires.
They allow the ruler of Turkey to hold on to his position as long as they are satisfied with him. If the army is not satisfied with the ruler, they put him in prison and send him for fake trials. This is what happened in the 90s during the last coup carried out by the army against Necmitten Erbakan.
Nevertheless, this time the coup did not succeed. The role of the public intelligence was a major one and the police also took a decisive stance in presenting an unforgettable performance in confronting the coup attempt.
There is no doubt that the policies of Erdogan represent a continuous annoyance for major countries both regionally and internationally. His stance related to the Arab Spring led to a kind of alienation of Turkey from some Arab countries. There are improvements in the relations now, as evident from the relations between Turkey and King Salman.
The relations between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are still fluctuating. The move made by the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed when he phoned his Turkish counterpart might help in mending the Turkish-Emirati relationship. Concerning Egypt, the state of enmity between the two countries is still obvious. All roads between Ankara and Cairo are still closed.
In fact, there are the most important reactions. I covered the countries which share special relations with Ankara while the rest have natural relations with Turkey under the reign of Erdogan. It is noticeable that no immediate reactions were made. There was silence as though everyone was waiting to see the end result of the actions.
The next day, after situation was clearer, Erdogan started receiving congratulatory telegrams for defeating the coup. I think some of those who sent the telegrams expected it to go to the other party. They missed the fact that Erdogan is not Erbakan, 2016 is not similar to the 90s and the army of the 90s is different from that of 2016.
By Yousef Awad Al-Azmi
By Yousef Awad Al-Azmi