Coup rumours aim to resurrect Turkish military’s dominance, says columnist

Rumours of another possible coup attempt against Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are aimed to creating an atmosphere of political chaos and resurrecting the military’s dominance in politics, columnist Abdülkadir Selvi wrote on Monday.

“The Rand Corporation report,” released in late January, outlining possible scenarios for the future of the country’s alliance with the West, “was perceived as an order by the United States to enact a coup in 2020, not as an analysis that there could be one,” Selvi wrote.

Selvi’s comments came after a week of speculation, kicked off by pro-government Yeni Şafak columnist Yusuf Kaplan reacting to comments by former army chief İlker Başbuğ, who accused the AKP of being the political wing of FETÖ, the Turkish government’s acronym for the followers of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. 

The United States planned to bring together the so-called Eurasianists in the army, the retired generals who were dismissed on allegations of ties with Gülen, whom Turkey accuses of having orchestrated a coup attempt in July 2016, and “members of FETÖ who see themselves as victims of a coup,” Selvi said.

Başbuğ fought with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and not FETÖ during his time at the helm, Selvi said, repeating the sentiment in his column of last week, otherwise he would have seen the Gülenists under his command.

Rumours of possible coups had also emerged in the past, such as in April 2014 before the referendum on the Annan plan for the resolution of Greek-Turkish tensions in Cyprus, Selvi said.

Tensions in the Mediterranean currently run high once again, due to Turkey’s exploration for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus and the maritime deal the country made with Libya in November that disregards the territorial waters of Cyprus and Greece. 

The United States has shown support for Greece in the form of a revamped defence agreement, and the announcement of plans to lift its arms embargo on Cyprus.