WASHINGTON – As an attempted military coup has apparently failed in America’s NATO ally Turkey, one of the nation’s top Middle East experts believed, had it succeeded, it could have hurt the jihadist cause and decreased tyranny.
As the coup was underway Friday night, Clare Lopez, the vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, told WND, “It’s still too early to tell, as fighting reportedly continues in downtown Ankara, but these would be positive developments indeed for the U.S., the West, and our allies in the region, most especially Israel, but also Egypt and Kurds around the Middle East.”
She described a “potential for a possible return to the more secular, pro-Western Kemalist agenda of the 20th century. We could see Turkey turn away from support for HAMAS and the Muslim Brotherhood and on a course to possibly repair ties with Al-Sisi’s Egypt and with Israel as well.”
Kemalism was the founding ideology of the modern Turkish state, which embraced democracy and Westernization.
President Obama issued a statement supporting the elected but increasingly Islamist government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, just as he supported the government in Egypt when the military ousted its elected but Islamist regime.
Had the largely secular Turkish army succeeded in overthrowing the government it would not have been the first time the military seized control of national politics.
“Even as developments are still unfolding in Turkey, early indications are that what might be called the ‘deep state’ has reasserted its authority as defenders of the Turkish constitution, even as they did four times during the 20th century,” said Lopez before the fate of the coup was known.
She believed the change would have been largely welcomed both inside and outside Turkey, and could have led to a new political dynamic in the Middle East, one that could have been “hugely significant for the region.”
“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP (Justice and Development Party) were taking Turkey on an increasingly neo-Ottoman jihadist course seen domestically by many Turks as tyrannical. Turkey’s Kurdish population in particular was the target of Erdogan’s oppression.”
In addition to spending two decades in the field as a CIA operations officer, Lopez was an instructor for military intelligence and special forces students; has been a consultant, intelligence analyst and researcher within the defense sector; and has published two books on Iran. She also served as a foreign policy adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.