Turkey Real Winner! Turkey's Stability, Strength, Prosperity And Progress Viable And Critical
26 July 2016
By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
WHAT a night! However, unlike long Turkish sop operas, it was resolved in
hours, rather than months. The night of July 15, 2016 became a part of world's
memorable events, and one of Turkey's historic vantage points. It was an
extensive melodrama playing out, with one and only star the man in the
It must have been a real surprise, even to Turks, to see how much they are
committed to their newly-found democracy and freedom, and how far they may go
to protect their new republic. All it needed was one FaceTime call, for
millions to come out unarmed, but united and strong, in the face of tanks and
Pictures summarize all a man lying down in front of a tank. A woman standing
in the face of a fully-loaded gun, an old man charging toward an
armed-to-the-teeth soldier and young boys and girls pelting stones at armored
Then came the politicians. Opposition parties, opponents, competitors,
Muslims, Christians, Sunnis, Alawites, Kurds, leftists, conservatives,
liberals all came out to condemn the military coup in the clearest and
TV and media channels of all political strands were united, too. Even the
army, from which came the conspirators, refused to condone the coup.
The world community was less forthcoming. United States, Russia, the European
Union, China, India, and the rest of the super-club members, plus the UN and
NATO, were hesitant to even call it a coup.
Then, suddenly, all changed. The Turkish prime minister, then the president
came on TV, calling on people to get out to the street and protect their
rights. Hours later President Recep Tayyip Erdogan adventured against all odds
and flew to Istanbul airport, attended a press conference, went to the streets
and spoke to his people. And so did colleagues, former and present, in his
government and party as well as others parties. It was a live festival for
democracy and free choice; for courage and unity; for patriotism and civility;
for Turkey and Turks at their finest moment. The conspirators had to give up.
They had to run and hide. They had to pay the price.
The world had to respect that! The world had to respond to all that and it
did. Statements from the same hesitant parties came now clear and strong in
support of the democratically elected government. World organizations, allies,
competitors and observers found their tongues. Those who were too quick to
celebrate Erdogan being overthrown lost theirs. The US went on the defensive
denying accusations of organizing, supporting, condoning or even knowing about
the coup in advance.
Turks have had enough of military coups. In 1960, the army toppled the popular
and successful elected government of Adnan Menderes, just because it showed
respect to Turkey's Islamic heritage. A second coup, in 1971, brought down the
failing government of Suleiman Demirel. Another intervention came in 1980, as
Islamists were rising. Coup leader, Gen. Efrain Kanaan, army chief of staff,
assumed presidency to guarantee military presence in the new regime.
The army hit again, in 1997, against the Islamic government of Prime Minister,
Necmettin Erbakan. They imprisoned him, his associates, including new star
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and dissolved their party (Alrafah). Two more attempted
coups were foiled in the new millennium.
Each time the military ruled, it got worse for Turkey. Soldiers belong to
barracks. Their only mission is to protect the country's borders and
interests. They are not qualified to manage civilians. They have no mandate to
run people's life. And they are the last to understand how democracy works.
Turks learnt this the hard way. After decades of political turmoil and
military interventions, they finally reaped the fruits of real democracy. They
finally found their voice and will. They finally elected the government of
In the last 14 years, Turkey has changed beyond recognition. It moved from
being a backward, thoroughly corrupt Third World country, dangerously in debt,
down in prosperity grades, to one of the world top 20 economies and the best
Democracy works, and pays. With that in mind, the Turkish people went out to
say in one voice ''no more military rule, no more dictatorship. Turkey
belongs to us, and we will defend our rights to the last drop of our blood.''
Turkey is our powerful neighbor. It also happened to be a friendly, sincere
and generous. It hosted millions of Syrian and Iraqi refuges. It supported our
case with Israel. It helped our Palestinians brethren. And it helpfully
participated in our Islamic alliance against terrorism. Its relations with
Saudi Arabia, the GCC countries, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, went from normal to
strategic. Turkey took the right stand in Syria, Yemen and Iraq and recently
showed its interest in solving issues with Egypt and UAE.
Turkey's stability, strength, prosperity and progress are viable and critical
to us. It needs us too. So let's work on more strategic partnership to help
stabilize, develop and improve our neighborhood.
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be
reached at email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi