Events are still unfolding and it is too early to make any final conclusions. However, it is clear that a military coup in Turkey is underway to overthrow Erdogan. As of now, all indications support the CIA was completely caught off guard and US was happy with the Islamic leaning Erdogan’s administration. As such, it is unlikely the CIA had anything to do with the coup. However, there are some indications that Russian intelligence helped back the military coup to oust Erdogan. Did Putin just get the last laugh…again?
Russia-Turkey relations have warmed remarkably in the last two weeks, but was this because Russia knew change was coming? It is also quite coincidental that US Secretary of State John Kerry just met with his Russian counterpart. Further, Russia correctly recognized Turkey was continuing to back Islamic extremists in Syria against Russian interests. Turkey is/was preparing a major military offensive to back Islamic extremists to retake Aleppo from Syrian forces in hopes of forcing Syrian President Assad out of power. This was a Russian redline. However, Russia did not want a direct conflict with Turkey and potentially all of NATO. Nonetheless, Russia could not and would not allow Turkey to directly intervene in a decisive way as I previously warned. As such, Russia needed a way to counter Erdogan’s policy to overthrow Assad and stop it without a bigger war. I should also mention Putin didn’t take the fact Turkey shot down a Russian jet lightly.
Short of a major war, a coup became an attractive option for derailing Washington’s Middle East Policy, defeating ISIL/ISIS, and countering Turkish actions targeting Syria and its President Assad. This appears to have culminated in a Russia covert operation to support the overthrow of Erdogan. Whether or not the coup proves successful, one will look back and see this is probably the last best effort to return Turkey to a secular state and defeat radical Islamists hijacking the country with a minimal amount of bloodshed. I find it fitting that Erdogan, a radical extremist that has backed Islamic jihadists found himself potentially one run out of office, not Assad.
I can’t understate the implications of this coup. If successful, ISIL/ISIS will get hammered by unimpeded Russia, Kurdish, and Syrian forces. Without Turkey’s covert support, ISIL/ISIS will face near certain military defeat in Syria. However, if the coup fails, expect all hell to break out across the region. Erdogan will return and his crackdown and purges will murder many people as radical Islamists solidify their grip on power. Any hopes for a secular Turkey will be dead. ISIL/ISIS will also get the full backing of Turkey in Syria and it is likely this will lead to plummeting relations with Russia and an outbreak of a major war. This is just the beginning of an unraveling of the entire region. Events will continue spiral out of control across the globe and the US. I will continue to update on this as events unfold.
July 15, 2016