Christman: What Comes Next After The Failed Coup In Turkey

Editor's NoteBelow is a complimentary research note written over the weekend by Hedgeye Potomac National Security analyst LTG Dan Christman USA Ret. 

Christman: What Comes Next After The Failed Coup In Turkey - erdogan

The coup attempt to oust President Erdogan has clearly failed; clashes evidently are still occurring at some naval bases, but plotters and insurgents have either been arrested, died in the attempt, or are fleeing to nearby countries (Greece) and are seeking asylum.

The White House, Secretary Kerry, Chancellor Merkel, and the EU's leadership all aligned reasonably early in the crisis to signal support for Erdogan; and the Turkish president also quickly won the support of "Turks in the street." As much as some U.S. analysts last evening were breathlessly hoping for the coup to succeed, it seemed poorly planned and lacked substantial support even within the military; it also failed to reckon with the fact that, despite the increasingly authoritarian behavior of Erdogan, his muzzling of the press and key opponents, and his creeping Islamization, he was (in the words of Fareed Zakharia) the most popular Turkish politician since Ataturk.

What next?

First and most obviously, US support for the government in terms of foreign military sales (FMS) and broader security and economic assistance will continue; Turkish bases are simply too important for the US in its fight against ISIS to be put at risk.

Second, however, the coup will play into Erdogan's increasing paranoia will do nothing to arrest the Putin-like moves of the Turkish president to assert even greater executive authority, at the fringes of constitutionality. Initial statements from the president and his AK party highlight this; they blame the entire episode last night on the "Pocono imam," Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan who is now a vocal critic and living in Pennsylvania. 

Finally, and related, expect a harsh crackdown, not just on the military, but on domestic critics as well, as order is restored. 

All of this complicates the anti-ISIS coalition and the war against Islamic extremism; it may however, give the US and the EU an opportunity to encourage Erdogan to bridge his differences with the Kurds. Their separatist party, the PKK, was, ironically, amongst the first of the opposition parties to voice their support for the embattled president last night. Hard to figure.