Turkey purge 2
Democracy

Turkey purge: is military coup a lesser evil than Erdoğan's Islamism?

 

Following last week’s military coup – which is never the answer to anything – President Erdoğan is purging Turkey’s civic institutions of every whiff of opposition, dissent, criticism and minor gripe. It is unknown how many schoolteachers and university lecturers were driving tanks and flying F-16s threateningly over the Bosphorus, so 15,200 have been summarily suspended, and 1,577 university deans have been resigned. Teachers, of course, are among the most murderous of professions: their insidious progressive ideology corrupts the young, foments suspicion and threatens the conservative order. Far better to sack them all and appoint orthodox state educators, especially if you want to institute a new theo-political order of rights, peace and prosperity.

Around 50,000 have been suspended or detained since the coup attempt. It is unknown how many of these will receive a fair trial given that they include 2,745 judges. It’s probably easier to accuse them all of sedition or membership of a terrorist organisation, and re-institute the death penalty. Fethullah Gulen had no idea he had so many loyal disciples, every one of whom must be rooted out and ‘dealt with’. But organising a dangerous coup in Turkey while you’re supping iced tea in Pennsylvania isn’t really cricket, is it? No wonder President Erdoğan has applied to the US State Department have him extradited – to be tried fairly, of course. If they can find a judge to preside.

The speed and efficiency of all these arrests, sackings and suspensions rather suggests that Erdoğan already had a little list. If he didn’t, he must have found quite a few civil servants he could trust to identify very efficiently all the recalcitrant intelligence officials. And that pesky Religious Affairs Directorate has needed reform for at least 16 years. A failed military coup has to be followed by the broadest of purges, just as do successful ones. They are never the answer to anything.

But it is curious how the Western world has expressed swift solidarity with President Erdoğan following the failed coup. They urge the People’s President to meditate on portraits of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and adhere to democratic values, human rights and the rule of law.

Right.

Fethullah Gulen’s school of Islam syncretises conservative Islamic values with Western liberal-democratic culture. You may think they’re mutually exclusive: you need to read and study. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s school of Islam harks back to the Ottoman Empire (indeed, he is often called ‘Sultan’), and, while preaching the virtues of secularism, encourages Turks to ‘express’ their religious beliefs openly. He inclines toward a school of Sharia which would criminalise adultery and create alcohol-free zones, just like we have in Tower Hamlets. His objective is to “redesign the society according to their (AK party) beliefs and lifestyle”.

But isn’t that the objective of every democratically-elected party? What is the threshold of tolerance in a democratically-elected leader who seeks to accumulate power by persecuting journalists, shutting down media outlets, stifling political opposition and stamping out dissent?

Which is the lesser evil? The serious alarm of military coup – which is never the answer to anything – or a democratically-elected leader who seeks to create a ‘proper’ Islamic state, replete with its rather robust notions of unity and brotherhood? Which inclines most toward the beauty of the order of justice? Which reflects greater the image of God in Christ? Which inclines most toward tyranny? Which most denies the nature and condition of human desire, aspiration and hope? Which is more likely to nurture children in love, and render each man and woman their due? Which most truthfully mirrors the ordering action of God by caring for each and every one, irrespective of gender, race or religion? Is it better to live under an army general who eschews sectarianism, respects individual liberty and advances human rights, or under a president who is somewhat inclined to get his henchmen to bruise a few arms and compassionately bandage a few ears?

The next time you fly out to Marmaris, think on these things.

  • CliveM

    In truth what we are witnessing is also a coup, one designed to destroy the existing structures of government and replace them with something more amenable to the President. Presidential rule is being replaced by rule by Dictatorship.

    What system will replace the current secular state? If, as looks likely, an Islamic one, then we must pity Turkey. It will (is?) slide into factionalism, with all that tends to bring of increasing levels of despair, poverty, nepotism, corruption and violence.

    We must pity Europe as well. The refugee crisis is going to get a lot worse and we don’t have leaders capable of dealing with it. Our world is going to get much, much more dangerous.

    Personally I wish the military coup had succeeded. It, in all probability would have been less of a threat to Europe, then Erdogan is.

  • len

    The is more than a hint of Hitler’s ‘ the night of the long knives’ about what is happening Turkey

  • IanCad

    Just as, not so long ago, many British yearned for the days of Empire, so it is with those Turks who long for the restoration of the Caliphate. They have a good chance of getting it. By far the most powerful force in the Sunni world – I know, Pakistan has the bomb – but Turkey has access to the means of delivering it.
    Darn right I wish the military had been successful, there is big trouble down the road. Ataturk must be rolling in his grave.
    Where all this puts Iran is troubling. We need wise heads in charge. I don’t think we have them.

  • Nomadscot

    The ‘leaders’ of the western world are once again paralysed in the beam of the oncoming Islamist juggernaut.

    They are watching – live, as it happens – the descent of a modern, secular state into a medieval dictatorship, and for fear of being called names by a small, naive, but indignantly vocal group of misguided idealists they merely politely cover their mouths and cough a faint disapproval, before turning away and continuing their conversation.

    Is a miitary coup a lesser evil than Erdogan’s Islamism?

    Some of us know the answer to that question already, others will have to wait until it’s too late to do anything about it.

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    The EU strongly supports the entry of Turkey. The BREMAIN voters clearly knew that at the time of the vote. Until very recently Turkey had 29 different offences for which the penalty was death. Now Turkey has had a coup and there are even pictures of soldiers being beheaded. There is a picture of a group beheading a soldier with clearly no concern of justice, there is also a picture of a woman with a beheaded soldier laid out at her feet with equally no concern about any legal action being taken. Turkish MPs are now calling for the increase in the number of offences for which death is the penalty to be returned to the original 29 offences. Thus, BREMAIN voters want the EU knowing that the EU wants Turkey when Turkey has corporal punishment. This means that the link between BREMAIN voters and Corporal punishment can be clearly shown. No such demonstration can be made of any link between BREXIT voters and corporal punishment at all. To be clear, I am NOT claiming any such link – I have more sense than to do that, unlike the BBC. By contrast the BBC slurs everyone who voted BREXIT by claiming an entirely spurious link between attitudes to corporal punishment and having voted to leave: That is an absolute, total disgrace.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-36803544

    • Anton

      You don’t support capital punishment for murder then?

      • Ivan M

        You might well have your turn with a firing squad in Istanbul.

        • Anton

          I’m not going there. It’s 563 years too late for that.

          • Ivan M

            Couple of hours flight. It is not as if you have sell your castle to raise funds

          • Anton

            Four hours, actually. But after you…

  • Ivan M

    The trouble with the West is that they have used up all their Hitler comparisons for Putin, Iran and Assad and have none to spare for Erdoghan. Where are all those jokers with the Hitler memes? You have a staggering display of a possible “Reichstag fire”, a long “Night of the Long Knives” and soon an “Enabling Act”. Once the show trials begin we can dust off “Moscow Show Trials”, “Trotskyites” and Fetullah Gulen as Emmanuel Goldstien. My diagnosis is that the brains have been so addled by the neocons, that when the genuine article appears the brain trust of the West is rendered speechless.

  • Uncle Brian

    Have the 42 missing helicopters been accounted for yet? I haven’t found a clear answer one way or the other.

    • CliveM

      I did read earlier today that some of its Navy ships have gone missing as well.

      • Uncle Brian

        It could mean that Erdogan is afraid the attempted coup may not have been completely crushed, but is only on hold, awaiting a favourable moment to have a second go.

        • CliveM

          If he moves too much against his opponents, he may well provoke another attempt. One borne out of desperation. Which could be all the more bloody.

  • Anton

    As a Brit I care unapologetically more about what’s best in Turkey for Britain, not what’s best in Turkey for the Turks. And it’s not Erdogan.

  • David

    Personally I’d rather that the coup had succeeded, especially if its leaders saw it as a prelude to returning Turkey to democracy.
    But of course it wasn’t a full on coup. I suspect that it was “arranged” to take place, fail and then justify the despot seizing morse power.
    The reaction of the west to welcome Erdogan remaining in power, as a dictator, says it all about the lack of judgement prevailing amongst our political leaders.

  • Can a Christian support acts of sedition against legitimate authority?

    In Romans 13:3-4, Saint Paul writes: “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

    1 Peter 2:13-4 confirms the teaching of Romans 13:3-4: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”

    On the other hand, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote:

    “A tyrannical government is not just, because it is directed, not to the common good, but to the private good of the ruler … Consequently there is no sedition in disturbing a government of this kind, unless indeed the tyrant’s rule be disturbed so inordinately, that his subjects suffer greater harm from the consequent disturbance than from the tyrant’s government. Indeed it is the tyrant rather that is guilty of sedition, since he encourages discord and sedition among his subjects, that he may lord over them more securely; for this is tyranny, being conducive to the private good of the ruler, and to the injury of the multitude.”

    • CliveM

      So do you have an answer and if you do, have you decided how it applies here?

      • For Aquinas, a feature of justifiable sedition is that it will cause less suffering to the population than leaving a tyrant in place. By these criteria, the Turkish coup would seem to be have been unjustifiable because, for no other reason, it failed and has probably strengthened President Erdoğan’s hand.

        “Consequently there is no sedition in disturbing a government of this kind, unless indeed the tyrant’s rule be disturbed so inordinately, that his subjects suffer greater harm from the consequent disturbance than from the tyrant’s government.”

        • CliveM

          Happy Jack
          I find the moral logic expressed odd. An action is legitimate if it succeeds, illegitimate if it fails. It’s morality depends on how well an action is executed.

          Using that logic, the failed attempts to rid themselves of Hitler were illigitimate! I maybe misunderstanding of course, but that doesn’t sit well with me.

          • Jack may be wrong in his interpretation. When one embarks on sedition and opposition to authority one has to weigh up the chances of success and the potential outcomes. It’s like the Just War theory. There has to be a reasonable prospect of success with less harm than if a State did nothing.

          • CliveM

            I certainly believe that we in the west would have been better of with a successful coup, the people of turkey on the other hand…… well?

          • The Turks appear to support the regime.

          • CliveM

            Yes agreed. Also, at the moment at least, they don’t seem a threat to neighbours directly. In the long term I’m not so sanguine.

          • Do nations have the right to govern themselves or not?

          • CliveM

            Generally yes. However if Hitler had decided to stay within his borders and simply massacred his domestic Jews, disabled, Gypsies etc, would he have been entitled to do that? Would other countries have been wrong to intervene? Some questions don’t have simple answers.

          • Ask Carl the answer to that one about Hitler and the Jews. Does the UN have a mandate to intervene in the affairs of nations for humanitarian reasons? And if so, is such collective action moving us towards a world state?
            Now to Turkey. Is the President behaving like Hitler? He wants an Islamist state. So do those who voted for him, by the looks of things and they constitute a majority (just like Brexiteers). It’s not in our interests or those of NATO and the Americans. And ………..

          • CliveM

            Ok Turkey first, actually I don’t think there is any justification in interfering in their internal affairs, however that doesn’t stop someone observing we might all have been better off if the coup had been a success.

            Should a country interfere for humanitarian reasons? Only in extreme cases. What is the UN mandate for such actions? I don’t know. But if an ethnic minority is being wiped out (think Rewanda), is it right to hide behind legalism?

            All of which conveniently ignores the practical and political problems of any actions, which tends to make all such discussions theoretical anyway.

          • Uncle Brian

            I’m sure many of them genuinely do, but the ones who don’t are obviously keeping their opinions to themselves.

    • dannybhoy

      Very interesting comment Happy Jack.
      One thinks of Dietrich Bonhoeffer..
      http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/was-dietrich-bonhoeffer-wrong-to-plot-against-hitlers-life
      Perhaps taking it even further should Christians have rebelled during the Roman Empire? The Apostles’ teaching was that they should accept the status quo because the Kingdom they belonged to was not of this world.
      Now we live in democracies and we have responsibilities as citizens. But even our civic responsibilities should not replace those of the Kingdom of Heaven, and our need to proclaim salvation in our generation.

      • CliveM

        “They should accept the status quo”.

        Happily for all of us, that hasn’t been taken literally. Imagine a world where Christians hadn’t challenged wrong and injustice. Whilst the current world is far from as God intends, I am pleased many Christians have challenged the status quo of the State.

        • dannybhoy

          I think though Clive, the Apostles did not advocate rebellion against the existing order.
          It was only as Christianity spread through the West and perhaps that it was ‘adopted’ by kings and chieftains becoming as it were nationalised, that ideas of freedom and democracy took a hold. And the idea of democracy is not a Biblical one; it was developed by the Greeks. Strictly speaking democracy has no place in Christian thinking.

          • Anton

            You’re kidding, Danny! Christianity became the religion of state of the Roman Empire in the 4th century and democracy was first proposed in the Putney debates in 1647. Good or bad, it has little to do with Christianity.

          • dannybhoy

            “The exclusion of a large proportion of the population, namely slaves, foreigners and women2, from the citizenship of a Greek state allowed their particular form of direct democracy to take place much more readily. The numbers of the politically active population were reduced so much so that most of the citizens could meet in one place to discuss matters of importance to the state. Slavery also allowed working citizens the luxury of taking a day off to attend the assemblies, which were held on a regular basis.”
            http://h2g2.com/approved_entry/A471467

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_democracy

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-political/

            http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/the-influence-of-christianity-on-modern-democracy-equality-and-freedom.html

          • Anton

            Democracy in Athens grew out of an assembly of citizens for war, so of course slaves and women weren’t present at the kick-off. But you’ve just written to Clive that “I meant that democracy does not have its roots in Christianity”, and this is pretty much all I was trying to say. Anybody who says Christianity implies democracy has to explain that 13-century gap.

          • dannybhoy

            You’ve got me confused now!
            I wrote..
            “And the idea of democracy is not a Biblical one; it was developed by the Greeks. Strictly speaking democracy has no place in Christian thinking.”
            which means we agree.
            The point is though that Christianity as a religion works well with democracy as a political system.

          • One could argue that democracy will only work if it rests solidly on Christian values.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed. A society with a majority of Christians could make pretty much any system work.

          • Tell that to Charles I.

          • Anton

            Pretty much any system except continental-style absolutism that tramples on Magna Carta under a king who breaks his Coronation Oath, that is.

          • What oath did he break?

          • Anton

            Here is the full exchange between Charles I and the Archbishop, which took place at Charles’ coronation. It is from Ashmole and Sandford, The entire ceremonies of the coronations of His Majesty King Charles II. and of her Majesty Queen Mary, Consort to James II: As published by those learned heralds Ashmole and Sandford. With the prayers at full length. To which is prefix’d, an introduction historical and critical; likewise an appendix, containing many curious particulars. This is readily found online by googling, and the Appendix mentioned includes the Coronation Oath of Charles I, presumably for comparison with that of his son.

            ARCHBISHOP. Sir, Will you grant and keep, and by your Oath confirm to the People of England, the Laws and Customs to them granted, by the Kings of England, your lawful and Religious Predecessors, and namely, the Laws, Customs, and Franchises granted to the Clergy, by the glorious King St. Edward, your Predecessor, according to the Laws of GOD, the true Profession of the Gospel established in this Kingdom, agreeable to the Prerogative for the Kings thereof, and the ancient Customs of the Realm.

            KING. I Grant and Promise to keep them.

            ARCHBISHOP. Sir, will you keep Peace, and Godly Agreement (according to your Power) both to GOD, the Holy Church, the Clergy, and the People?

            KING. I will keep it.

            ARCHBISHOP. Sir, will you to your Power, cause Law, Justice, and Discretion, in Mercy and Truth, to be executed to your Judgment?

            KING. I will.

            ARCHBISHOP. Sir, will you grant to hold and keep, the Laws and Rightful Customs, which the Commonalty of this your Kingdom have, and will you defend and uphold them to the Honour of GOD, so much as in you lieth?

            KING. I grant and promise so to do.

            Then one of the Bishops read this Passage to the King.

            Our Lord and King, we beseech you to pardon, and to grant and to preserve unto us, and to the Churches committed to your Charge, all Canonical Privileges, and due Law and Justice, and that you would protect and defend us, as every good King, in his Kingdom, ought to be Protector and Defender of the Bishops and the Churches under their Government.

            The KING answered,

            With a willing and devout Heart, I promise and grant my Pardon, and that I will preserve and maintain to you, and the Churches committed to your Charge, all Canonical Privileges and due Law and Justice, and that I will be your Protector and Defender to my Power, by the Assistance of GOD, as every good King in his Kingdom, in right ought to protect and defend, the Bishops and Churches under their Government.

            Then the KING arose, and was led to the Communion Table, where he took a SOLEMN OATH, in sight of all the People, to observe all the Premisses, and laying his Hand upon the BIBLE said,

            The things which I have here promised, I shall perform and keep. So help me GOD, and the Contents of this Book.

            Among the customs which Charles violated, and thereby broke his Coronation Oath, was that taxes would be raised only with the consent of Parliament. He gave Parliament his explicit word of that too, and broke it by dismissing Parliament and ruling without it while raising taxes by unscrupulous means throughout the 1630s. He broke his Oath regarding justice by his religious policy of persecuting peaceable Puritans who wrote pamphlets asking for freedom for their own form of worship. (Ditto Catholics, of course, Jack.) He broke his pledge to uphold bishops when he negotiated with the Scots who invaded England in 1648 in return for a promise of presbyterianism in England. (I’d rather have the latter but your question was where did Charles break his Oath.) These are some of the ways in which he broke his Coronation Oath.

          • Is that a typo where it says this was the Coronation oath of Charles II?

            Failing to keep this oath is grounds for rebellion, deposing him and then executing him? As King he was entitled to rule as he saw fit.

            “Among the customs which Charles violated, and thereby broke his Coronation Oath, was that taxes would be raised only with the consent of Parliament.”

            England did not have a Constitutional Monarch at this time and Charles believed in governing according to his own conscience. You say he broke his oaths, he and others would disagree. His religious policies, coupled with his marriage to a Roman Catholic, generated the antipathy and mistrust of the Puritans and Calvinists who thought him too Catholic. Charles wished to move the Church of England away from Calvinism in a more sacramental direction and this was perceived by Puritans as irreligious. He began a series of anti-Calvinist reforms and there were prosecutions of those who opposed these. Again, he was entitled as Head of the Church and King to do this. He was hardly a tyrant.

          • Anton

            No, Jack; please reread my possibly unclear paragraph of explanation. The main body of the text of that online book sets out the coronation of Charles II, but an appendix includes parts of the coronation of Charles I, presumably for comparison. (They are very similar, in fact; the oath was altered only in 1688.) What I reproduced is from that appendix, so you have read above what Charles I pledged.

            “As King he was entitled to rule as he saw fit.”

            What then is the point of the coronation oath, and who might hold him to it if he breaks it? These are serious questions and I crave your answer. Notice the key precedent that the king was under the law in ancient Israel. He was therefore bound by his word according to the 10 Commandments.

            As for specifics, I wrote: “Among the customs which Charles violated, and thereby broke his Coronation Oath, was that taxes would be raised only with the consent of Parliament.” You replied: “England did not have a Constitutional Monarch at this time…” I am referring to the 1630s, when England had Charles as monarch but no parliament. When did you mean?

          • Does Christianity imply a theocracy then? Or, alternatively, that a ruler should be endorsed by the Church or the people in some way? God warned the Jews not to elect a King but granted them permission to do so.

          • Anton

            In NT Christianity the church is a minority called out from the world – meaning the culture – in every nation. Twill be so till the end of the age, when we get the ultimate Benevolent Dictator back, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

          • Christians are also charged with improving the world and promoting justice. We are not called to withdraw from the world.

          • Anton

            Agreed Jack, but tell that to the monks!

          • They do so through prayer. Remember Mary and Martha. It’s not all about “doing”.

          • Anton

            Who mentioned doing? Monks withdraw from the world. When you are in the world your prayer life informs your deeds, your spiritual battle with the world, and your deeds inform your prayer life. This rich symbiosis is denied to those who do only one but not the other.

          • grutchyngfysch

            To be fair to monks (and nuns), a good many of them are actually engaged with ordinary people on a daily basis. We have nuns in Belfast who live in a cloistered rule but work every night with the homeless. The days of High Monasticism are long since done, and I’d be surprised if modern monastics aren’t even more awake to the realities of life than some pew-warmers.

          • CliveM

            Hi DB,

            Open rebellion and challenging the status quo are not the same thing.

            Democracy has no place in Christian thinking? Why, please explain?

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry, I meant that democracy does not have its roots in Christianity, as Christianity is like ancient Israel a theocracy ruled by a King..

          • CliveM

            Or by the Judges. The King was simply a concession.

          • Pubcrawler

            [deleted: too hot to get into this. And Anton has covered much of what I would say]

          • dannybhoy

            You’re right, it was the Athenians..
            And yes, our system is different, but it’s surely more of a development if that ancient form of democracy rather than being completely different?
            The philosophy of the Greeks and Romans influenced the early Church fathers and western Europe did they not?

        • David

          Quite !
          Christians are asked to do what they can to improve this world, whilst waiting for the Kingdom of God.
          Occasionally this means issuing a direct challenge to any evil forces oppressing us or others. Physical force is the last resort but sometimes a necessary one.

      • Pacifism gives wicked people free reign. Consistent pacifism would also have to eliminate the police, not just the military. If we were to conclude that governments should turn the other cheek and never resist evil, then, logically, we would be committing ourselves to getting rid of the police force and criminal justice system. If one accepts the legitimacy of police using force in some instances, there can be no objection to the military using force.

    • David

      Good Old Saint Thom. Aquinas !

    • Needless to say, Paul and Peter are right and Aquinas is wrong.
      God Himself will bring down rulers at the time of His choice (eg. Daniel 5:30). Anyone who thinks that revolution and anarchy are better than dictatorship should try living in Libya or Somalia.

      • So you would object to the Protestant Revolution, Oliver Cromwell and the Glorious Revolution?

        Saint Paul says: “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.” Saint Peter says rulers: “are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” And if the one in authority is not promoting good and punishing evil, what then?

        • No objection at all to the Reformation. Had I lived in the time of Charles II and Archbishop Laud, I hope I would have saved my nose from being sliced by pushing off to the New World rather than slaughtering my fellow-man.

  • carl jacobs

    A military coup in 1938 would have been a very effective answer. The Little Corporal would have been shot if only he had been resolutely opposed by the Allies over Czechoslovakia.

    I was disappointed the coup failed. It might have pulled Turkey back from the brink. Who knows what will happen now.

    • Uncle Brian

      A military coup in 1938 would have been a very effective answer.

      Did von Stauffenberg or any of the July plotters ever raise any objection against Nazi rule when it was engaged in abolishing democracy in Germany in the thirties? I don’t think so. It was only because Hitler refused to recognise that Germany was losing the war that they were prompted to intervene, for the purpose of damage control.

      • carl jacobs

        That was 1944, Uncle Brian. What you say is true, but it’s not the coup to which I referred. The German Generals were prepared to take Hitler out in 1938 if he suffered a severe reversal over Czechoslovakia. But the Allies didn’t have the stones.

        • CliveM

          And if the French had moved a battalion into western Germany during the invasion of Poland or if the allies had stemmed the advance into France (as they should have been able to do) Hitler wouldn’t have survived.

          A lot of other people would have though.

          A lesson there somewhere.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Although the Btitish army was small the French one was considerable in terms of size and its tanks were good by the standards of 1939-40. However its leadership and tactics were not up to scratch.

          • CliveM

            Agreed. It is sometimes believed that the Nazis defeated France by technical and military brilliance. They didn’t, they won by French incompetence.

            People also forget that Germany was within two weeks of running out of ammunition in its capture of Poland. If the French army had staged a minor invasion, Hitler would have been forced to transfer some of his army west and would have found it signif harder to beat Poland. He wouldn’t have survived the disaster.

          • bluedog

            So easy to be wise after the event. Poland was always a potential casualty, if the Germans didn’t get them the Russians would, as they had conspired to do before in 1795. What would be the point of the French staging a minor invasion of Germany? They had regained Alsace and Lorraine in 1919 and had held the Saarland until evicted by Hitler in 1935. If the French had stood firm then things might have turned out differently, but they lacked international support for a continued occupation. In the mid-Thirties most of the British establishment was prepared to give Hitler the benefit of the doubt.

          • Erik Dahlberg

            Quite right, well the Maginot line was that attempt – a great pity. Poor Poland, since the fall of Sweden, precipitating Russian dominance in the Baltic, she’s had a lot of trouble continuously.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Better late than never.

  • dannybhoy

    Good article in Geopolitical Futures July 18th.
    ‘The Coup’
    “There are three possible explanations. The first is that the people staging the coup were completely incompetent. True, carrying out a coup is a lost art. But recognizing the need to arrest the president doesn’t take a great deal of experience. They left Istanbul wide open to Erdoğan, and Erdoğan took advantage.

    The second possibility is that the coup had been penetrated early on, that the president was under heavy trusted guard and that each step had been anticipated and dealt with by Erdoğan’s team, fully alerted to what was going on. The arrest list was drawn up because Erdoğan had the names of the people involved. In other words, Erdoğan knew about it and let it move ahead to failure to get a clear picture of who was involved and to justify a crackdown.

    The third possibility, already being tossed about in the media, is that he staged the coup himself and orchestrated the appearance of a failure to give himself an excuse to purge the military and intelligence organizations. This also gave him an opportunity to create a confrontation with the U.S., which needs Turkey, over Gülen’s fate. He accused the U.S. of at least passive complicity by way of alleging Gülen orchestrated the coup.
    Whole article here..
    https://geopoliticalfutures.com/the-coup/

    • CliveM

      Personally I think two most likely.

      • dannybhoy

        Probably, but there again Erdogan may be moving Turkey away from its secular mindset.

        • CliveM

          Undoubtedly true, I think he would agree.

        • Uncle Brian

          Will the failed coup have helped him to achieve that aim, or made it harder?

    • Uncle Brian

      Debka File goes with your first alternative, a series of blunders, or what they politely call “miscalculations”. However, Debka posted this four days ago now, at 10:12 a.m. BST on Saturday, so it’s possible that they may have changed their minds in the meantime. We’ll see,

      The Turkish armed forces’ attempt to overthrow the authoritarian rule of President Tayyip Erdogan was largely extinguished Saturday morning July 16 after less than 24 hours – due to three major miscalculations:

      1. They first seized the country’s power centers and state television when their first priority should have been to immobilize Erdogan who was out of the capital on vacation.

      2. Although out of control in Ankara and Istanbul, he used his mobile phone to reassert his authority through a private television station and called on the people to take to the streets in protest against the plotters. Civilians responded by surrounding the tanks and tying them down until loyal troops moved in.

      3. They relied too heavily on the air force to cow the regime, the jets zooming low over the two main cities while the two main airports were closed. It was soon evident that control of Turkey’s skies was no guarantee of control of the ground. Indeed, the coup leaders did not prevent him from landing at Ataturk airport and declaring immediately that he was in charge, demonstrating that he was on top of events. (More)

      http://www.debka.com/article/25554/Turkish-army-loses-coup-bid-Erdogan-takes-charge

    • David

      Possibilities two or three are more credible. Option one is unlikely because people don’t become senior officers by being stupid and incompetent, and remember there appears to be a number of them.

      • Anton

        “people don’t become senior officers by being stupid and incompetent”

        O Yes they do, at least in peacetime. Do you know about the performance of the French High Command in summer 1940?

        • David

          I was generalising, which is always a risky practice. So yes I accept that there are always exceptions to the idea that only the best are promoted to high positions.

    • Anton

      I read that they carried out a textbook 1970s/80s coup but forgot about social and mobile media, by which Erdogan was warned and was patched through to a TV station where he called on his supporters to take to the streets. The coup d’etat textbook needs updating.

      • dannybhoy

        Being of a suspicious nature I just wonder whether it wasn’t an opportunity to remove obstructions. The military would be well up on
        things technical I would have thought..
        He’s already curbed the freedom of the press. Very murky, very difficult to know what is really going on.

  • Inspector General

    Don’t worry yourself about it Cranmer. If you accept the concept of the nation state (…you do, don’t you?..) then however Johnny Turk wishes to conduct himself, that’s his business. As for researching into the relationship, if there is one, between their vile religion and their ever stumbling attempts at secularity, one does have better things to do, you know! Besides, it’s not necessary to work out how these blighters tick as by the time Turkey is admitted into the EU, the UK will be well out of it, and all the Inspectorate can then do is to hope that our European neighbours are given a better time by the expected millions strong hordes of low income youthful Islamic Turks out on the make, looking to enter and occupy Europe (…again!..) than the Armenians were granted…

    {SNORT!}

    • You really think Britain will be immune from a Europe dominated by Islam?

      • Inspector General

        Of course. The population of the UK is moving to the right, like it or not, and one rather thinks you will not be liking it, Jack…

        • And should Islam take Europe and then want to cross the channel? What will you do with the 3 million Muslims in Britain?

          • Inspector General

            They won’t cross the channel, because they won’t be allowed to cross the channel. As for our 3 million or whatever muslims in the UK, then they might end up as the best behaved muslims in the world. Wouldn’t that be nice!

        • When a party is elected that will restore marriage as a union between a man and a woman, that will protect life in the womb and withdraw discrimination protection to homosexuals and the transgendered, then Jack will believe you. All we have at present is a move towards xenophobia and racism.

          • chefofsinners

            Almost you persuade me to believe in purgeatory.

          • You mean you don’t? It’s self evident and biblical, you know.

          • chefofsinners

            Purge a Tory.

          • Anton

            We’ve got rid of David Chameleon, at least.

          • Anton

            I thought you believed the Book of Revelation could not be made sense of.

          • Inspector General

            Come over and join us, Jack. As it stands, you are rubbing shoulders with lefties who believe not in God, but in abortion on demand and putting young girls on the contraceptive pill. Do it for your grand daughter’s well-being , if nothing else…

            You see, hyperbolic references to xenophobia and racism just doesn’t mean much…not with sophisticated types like us who disagree with virtual tarring and feathering…

          • Lol …. no one could accuse you of being a “sophisticated type”. And, btw, Jack is a card carrying member of the Conservative Party. The xenophobia and racism comment was directed at the fringe members of Ukip. You know, types such as you. One might also add homophobic and misogynistic.

  • chefofsinners

    It must all be a bit embarrassing for Western leaders who have been forced to cut deals with Erdogan in order to stem the flow of migrants, to get help dealing with ISIS and to keep Putin at bay. What’s a little purge between friends? A little massacre of the innocents by a paranoid latter-day Herod?
    Can we find a way to condemn the purge without harming our own interests irreparably? Good job we’ve got a foreign secretary with such discretion and tact to slide down the zip wire of international diplomacy.

    • Anton

      You might have lost your “i” (and your looks) but not your aim.

      • Inspector General

        Indeed, he know’s where to point it…

        • chefofsinners

          …and you know where you can stick it.

          • Allosexuel

            Pleeze … I coom ‘ere to git away frum all dis.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Our Foreign Secretary had s Turkish grandfather!

  • Anton

    On another subject, has everyone seen the policies that the Republican convention in the USA has adopted for Trump to run on? Anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage and many more Christian policies. It could be the start of the rollback of the 1960s:

    http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/07/18/republicans-adopt-conservative-platform-modern-history/

  • Royinsouthwest

    Turkey is probably a far bigger threat to world peace than Russia. Obviously we have to be wary of a nuclear power with an authoritarian ruler and it is understandable that Eastern Europeans, especially the people in the Baltic republics are suspicious of their neighbour. However I suspect that a major reason for Russia’s somewhat unfriendly attitude is a perceived lack of respect from the West. I doubt if Putin or the Russians in general want a new Cold War.

    Erdogan is different. He is a threat to his own country, the Middle East in general, and Europe. He also seems to believe, probably quite rightly, that Europan leaders are weak and easy to push around.

    • Uncle Brian

      In addition, the refugee crisis had handed him a huge pile of bargaining chips to strengthen him in his dealings with Merkel and the EU.

      • sarky

        Doesn’t need to be that way. If we took the same stance as the Australians and turned the boats back, they would stop coming.
        They keep coming because we keep picking them up and bringing them to Europe.

        • dannybhoy

          One would think that was obvious..

        • bluedog

          Exactly. It’s a business, and if the customers don’t get what it says on the tin, they won’t part with their money. So completely brainwashed by the teaching of the Frankfurt School are the EU elites that they do not understand some very basic elements of power. And we have the naval resources to completely secure Europe from invasion by sea.

  • bluedog

    It’s all totally Byzantine and frankly incomprehensible. The only thing one can say with confidence is that there is no possible way in which the US will be persuaded to surrender Gulen to the clutches of Erdogan. Reading through Gulen’s website, courtesy of His Grace’s link, one sees nothing but calls for tolerance, peace and understanding. If these qualities are an existential threat to the Turkish state as defined by Erdogan, it isn’t Gulen who is the problem. Perhaps Erdogan’s impending failure to take Gulen prisoner will itself trigger an internal civil revolt that will lead to the fall of Erdogan. One can scarcely believe that the destruction of Turkish civil society by the arrest of all academics, teachers and judges will not lead to a popular reaction in Istanbul, even if cheered in Anatolia.

    • Inspector General

      What a marvellous dog you are! The Inspector felt rather naked up until now in admitting he has no real idea of what is happening in that country which is thankfully not part of Europe.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Actually Turkey does have a small piece of territor on the European side of the Bosphorus. I think it was mistake for Britain and France to get involved in the Crimean War. If we had not done so then perhaps Istanbul would have become Constantinople again.

        • Inspector General

          We’ll let them keep that bit, Roy. Let it remind them of when they threatened and indeed occupied a great deal of Europe but were thrown out…

          • The Turks occupied a great deal of Europe? When was that?

          • Anton

            The Balkans, Greece and Hungary, for several centuries including much of the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th. See “Ottoman Empire”. Hungary from the Battle of Mohacs in 1526 until the 1680s, for instance. The Hungarians still remember it and it is why they had the sense to build a fence recently to prevent people of a certain belief from illegally flooding their country. Merkel had less sense.

          • Uncle Brian

            The Ottoman Empire hung onto Albania and Kosovo well into the twentieth century.

          • So really, we’re talking Greece and the Balkans.

          • bluedog

            No, the whole Danube valley, which was their axis of advance into central Europe.

          • Anton

            Will your Catholic brethren in Hungary be delighted to see you write off their century and a half under Ottoman domination in response to your own asking of when and where Europe was under Turkish hegemony?

          • Something of an exaggeration to claim the Turks held large parts of Europe if the Ottoman Empire was predominantly Southeast Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

          • Anton

            You think that what you rightly call “Southeast Europe” isn’t a “large part of Europe”? What would quality – the Scottish borders?

          • Jack’s point is that he doubts a resurgent Turkey will have aspirations in Western Europe or, for that matter, much chance of success in rebuilding an empire in the Balkans, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, or the Horn of Africa.

          • Anton

            Hmm. My best guess is that Istanbul will become the capital of the world under the Antichrist dictator. It has already been the capital of the Roman Empire and the Islamic Caliphate, it is on the border between the heartlands of secularism and Islam, the two Christless systems that claim the whole world; and Napoleon once said that if all the world were one nation, Constantinople would be its capital (for its strategic location). And it’s on the sea and a major marketplace of Mediterranean-type goods, as the Book of Revelation states of this New Babylon. But I’m not certain, of course.

          • Oh dear …. one cannot adopt a political position towards another nation on the basis of an uncertain interpretation of scripture.

          • Anton

            That’s exactly what certain kings of ancient Israel said about warnings conveyed to them by godly prophets. Read all about it in the OT.

          • The prophets gave the ancient kings of Israel very clear indications of what lay ahead for them if they transgressed God’s law. They were directly charged with this by God and spoke in His name and under His inspiration. What you’re doing is laying a personal interpretation on prophetic text and shoe horning this into world affairs as you see them. Do you have God’s authority for this? Has He instructed you to give a message to the world?

          • Anton

            God has neither instructed nor forbidden me to discuss my views of the Book of Revelation in public forums. I simply discuss it with people as a committed Christian and advocate and defend my understanding of it. When I did this with you, your attitude to that book was defeatism – don’t know, can’t know. That is shocking for a Christian. You can know, actually, if you read and ponder it in faith while exposing yourself to a variety of views about it.

          • Er, no one cannot know; one can only speculate and to Jack this is bordering on idolatry. Just look at the history of prophetic interpretation. Not great is it? My attitude is not “defeatism”. Jack could say he just hasn’t got an ego the size of yours that leads him to believe he can penetrate the mysteries of God’s prophecies.

          • Anton

            It’s opening passage calls itself the REVELATION of St John, not the Book of Obscuration. In the OT God often speaks in ways that are heard differently by the faithful and the faithless; Christ does the same in the gospels. His word separates the sheep from the goats. I credit you with being among the sheep, Jack, but you have let yourself be deluded into thinking that you cannot understand his word. Yes you can! This is about faith, not ego, and everything I have seen here convinces me that, whatever our denominational and political differences, you are a man of faith.

          • len

            To be fair ‘Jack’ (and millions of others ) has been taught that faith alone is not enough to be saved or to hear the voice of Jesus Christ…this alone would worry me if I belonged to the RCC because Jesus said ‘ “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10;27) The implications are obvious.

          • Anton

            I know that Jack is Catholic but I’m doing my best to talk as believer to believer rather than protestant to Catholic here. He and I have faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ in common, and faith in His scriptures, and that is a lot.

          • len

            Been there done that Anton…

          • dannybhoy

            I found a great piece on Calvin, salvation and sanctification..
            https://mereorthodoxy.com/calvin-no-salvation-without-sanctification/
            We evangelicals don’t talk enough about sanctification, but it ties in with John 15, and it seems to me that Catholics have a point when they question what they see as our reliance ‘on faith alone’.
            It is the love of God that sent our Lord Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer. Only through faith in Him do we have salvation, and an evidence of that salvation is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit carrying out the work of sanctification as befits a Royal Priesthood..
            I don’t want to argue with my Catholic friends too deeply because I truly believe we will all give an account of ourselves before Him for what did in our earthly lives. I don’t think God will judge us on whether we had our theology a hundred per cent correct, but rather on our response to what we were taught by others and what we ourselves believed in our hearts.

          • len

            He IS our salvation agreed..But the RCC does not agree with that fact alone….

          • Ivan M

            The Revelation is largely a private Apocalypse. Something similar may be granted to each man on the hour of his death. As a book of prophecy it works by predicting the past.

          • Anton

            Supposing you are a Christian, why then did God ensure that it got into the Bible?

            Your last sentence is not coherent, sorry.

          • Ivan M

            Revelation is in the canon to assure us that God has taken care of the Last Things; that we have nothing to worry about.

            The coherence of prophecy is again to show us that God is in charge, it tends to gain credence when providing a framework for past events. Jesus Christ Himself warned against vain prognostications: “there will be wars, and rumours of war, but the end is not yet…”. In another place he admonishes “it is not for you to know times and seasons…’.

            The entire World does not have to end, for one man’s own world, that of his earlier life and his community of friends and loved ones to come to an end as happened to St John, and countless others since.

          • Anton

            All true, but in the major middle part of Revelation the actions switches between the spiritual realms (“heaven”), where seals are broken, trumpets blown and divine wrath is poured out, and earth, ie here. Therefore we cannot take the entire description as in the spiritual realms. And the details of the action on earth do not match things in history. Therefore they lie ahead.

          • Ivan M

            True, it happens all the time, where there is an overwhelming crisis of some form. It is the eternal present. Faith in Jesus Christ though, enables us to overcome the world. The Book gives some adepts an insight into one or two aspects of the times, and the strength to endure.

            Matthew 10:22
            You will be hated by everyone on account of My Name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.

          • Anton

            Your position fails to account for much of the description of the events on earth.

          • dannybhoy

            Right on Anton! We read the Scriptures and seek to understand what is written therein.

          • dannybhoy
          • Anton

            That’s interesting, Danny. I’ve read Benson’s “Lord of the World”. We make a mistake if we suppose that endtime fiction is a phenomenon of the last two or three decades. A century ago the Orthodox, the Catholics and the protestants all had endtime tales in circulation (by Vladimir Soloviev, RH Benson and Sidney Watson respectively). Soloviev’s “Short Story of the Antichrist” is the outstanding one from the literary point of view and can be read here:

            http://web.archive.org/web/20060112121614/http:/www.praiseofglory.com/taleantichrist.htm

            Benson was son of a Victorian Archbishop of Canterbury and became a Catholic priest – the most prominent defector from Canterbury to Rome since Newman. His novel is set a century ahead (i.e., today), and there are three jockeying power blocs: the two sides of the Atlantic, and ‘the East’. The Antichrist, an American, rises by defusing a crisis between the others. Although Benson’s political predictions were guesswork, he understood the direction of humanist spirituality (euthanasia plays a role in the plot), and he depicts a State that has long been supreme over the individual. Christianity is taken as synonymous with the Church of Rome. The city of Rome is destroyed as the Catholic hierarchy meets there, but an underground hierarchy is set up. The new Pope, a saintly Englishman, lives secretly and modestly in Nazareth. A subplot concerns an English politician and his wife who move in opposite directions as Antichrist’s grip tightens; they had dealings with the Pope when he was a parish priest. Eventually the Pope’s whereabouts are betrayed. Led by Antichrist, bombers carrying weapons of mass destruction (two technologies foreseen by the author just four years after the Wright brothers flew) converge on Nazareth and the plain it overlooks, toward the mound at Armageddon. The book ends and climaxes with Christ’s return, following a Mass which the Pope celebrates as the bombers approach. Here it all is:

            http://www.authorama.com/book/lord-of-the-world.html

            Catholicism reached the understanding that the Antichrist was a future politician essentially as a riposte to the Reformers’ view that the Pope was the Antichrist. I believe they are right, although I do not rule out a future Pope being the Antichrist’s spiritual henchman, the “False Prophet” of the Book of Revelation.

          • dannybhoy

            “Men’s
            hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which
            are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” Luke 21:26King James Version (KJV)
            Of course it is only my speculation, but it seems to me God’s “End Time Programme” will fit in with what is happening in the world politically and environmentally..
            Are we there yet?
            The resurrection of the Jewish people in their ancient homeland is a miracle comparable to the raising of the dead..
            and God brought it about.

          • The Explorer

            The Horn of Africa seems to be colonising the rest of the world. The Somalis are everywhere.

          • bluedog

            google ‘Balkan War 1912’

          • Jack was testing the Inspector.

          • bluedog

            Huh?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Sorry I replied to your question before reading that you were joking!

          • Inspector General

            You were ‘testing’ the Inspector!

            Oh Lord. Is this how your two dimensional brain works:

            “He’s for Brexit, own borders and own self determination for the nation. He must be a right thicko, a xenophobe and a racist, so we’ll have a bit of fun on his knowledge of European history…”

            My dear chap, to save you further embarrassment, the Inspector is an educated gentleman. Sorry to disappoint…

          • Being a Brexiteer doesn’t mean one is a thicko, xenophobe or racist. However, it doesn’t mean one isn’t and being educated is no guarantee either.

          • Inspector General

            That’s your apology then…

          • Royinsouthwest

            Surely you have heard of the Ottoman Empire? The legend of Dracula is, if I remember rightly, based on the story of Vlad the Impaler, one of the more effective opponents of the Ottomans in the Balkans.

        • bluedog

          Indeed, Roy, and we failed again in 1919 when Constantinople had a very large Greek population and was occupied by Britain and France. An opportunity to carve out a Western protectorate with a Greek population was missed. The Hagia Sophia could have been restored to Christian worship. One suspects that the desire not to inflame Muslim opinion in other mandated territories was the reason for inertia.

        • Anton

          Russia was the foe of the British Empire in Asia; the rivalry was known to us as the Great Game and ultimately the security of India was at stake. Of course we needed to ally against Russia in that war.

          • In case you haven’t come across it already; Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia (1999).

            I just finished the chapter on Moorcroft. A great, enjoyable read, the kind you can’t rush through.

    • Ivan M

      Gulen seems to draw inspiration from the Sufi goofies. Erdoghan from the sterner Sunni stuff. Though from the way he is operating he may just be a garden variety fascist who latches onto Islam to consolidate his rule. All he has to do to placate the mullahs is to put at least the lower class women in the purdah. That is all these mullah buggers are about plus some cash.

      • Ivan M

        There seems to be more than an element of race involved. The losers tend to look European or Middle European Jewish. The AKP and the mullah crowds, Persian. Shades of the ancient rivalries between Greece and Persia.

        • bluedog

          True, the secular sophisticates of Istanbul seem to have been overcome by the Anatolians, who are presumably loyal to Erdogan.

          • Ivan M

            It was always on the cards. I don’t think the secularists had any illusions seeing what had transpired over the years in Iran and Pakistan . But what can they do about it when they lack the population size ?. Turkey has an advantage though in that convinced anti-Islamists are a very sizeable 35% of the population.

  • Anton

    Because?

    • sarky

      WASP’s no longer hold the balance of power.

      • Anton

        WASPs are mainly Democrats!

  • michaelkx

    this is off subject : I just had a email that is said to come from Cranmer. if it is from your grace I deleted. but I suspect it is a scam.

    • dannybhoy

      Coulda been a call to higher things.
      And you deleted it.
      Tsk.

    • chefofsinners

      Did he need to put $30 million into your bank account to keep it from Nigerian rebel forces? And offer you 1% commission?
      If so, definitely genuine.

    • From time to time His Grace sends an email payment of a few thousand dollars if we’ve been good. I got mine already. Sorry about your loss.

  • IanCad

    Bearing in mind that Turkey is a mighty military power, it is of interest that Donald Trump has stated that the US may not honour its obligations to any NATO countries that may come under attack. Further, he has said, Europe needs to stand on its own and pay for its defence.
    Can’t say I find him acting other than in America’s interest, but it does raise again the spectre of the creation of a new EU army.
    We got out just in time. Our moatte is our trusty defence.

    • David

      The “wee lass up North” needs putting firmly in her place. Fortunately I think May is doing that.
      But the UK needs to rearm generally, and especially expand our depleted navy and air force.

  • dannybhoy
    • CliveM

      Hi DB

      a very interesting article.

      • dannybhoy

        Gee thanks Clive.
        It’s always worth reading what the Americans have to say.
        Although sometimes it’s slightly hysterical… :0)

        • CliveM

          Our American cousins can be like Remainers, hysterical, prone to emotionalism and easily disturbed!

  • len

    Islamic Countries cannot handle democracy ‘.The Arab spring’ turned into ‘the Islamic fundamentalist chaos’.
    Islam has within itself the seeds of its own destruction which is hate and violence.
    Its end will not be pretty.

    • CliveM

      Islamic countries seem unable to conduct corruption free, effective and efficient governance of any sort.

      • dannybhoy

        One constant though; whenever there is unrest the local Christians will cop it.. Although in one case below (Trabzon) local Muslims stepped in to protect the church.
        “Churches attacked during attempted coup

        On the night of 15 July, during the attempted military coup in Turkey, two church buildings were targeted in areas linked with previous murders of Christians.

        In Malatya, unidentified people tried to break the windows of Malatya
        Protestant Church – causing damage to the glass panels in the door. And in Trabzon, on the Black Sea coast, a group of about ten people attacked the Santa Maria Church, until they were driven away by local Muslims.
        The attackers had smashed the church’s windows and attempted to break in using hammers.

        Tim Stone, the pastor of Malatya Protestant Church, said he thought the attack on his church was just someone with a grudge against the church, taking advantage of the general unrest.

        Malatya is infamous as the place where three Christians were tortured and killed in 2007, leading to a long and drawn-out court case against the five suspects. And the Santa Maria Church in Trabzon is the place where Catholic priest Fr Andrea Santoro was murdered on 5 February 2006.

        For Turkey’s Christians, these latest attacks on churches have been a
        painful reminder of their vulnerability, particularly during periods of
        unrest. Source: Middle East Concern.”

      • Anton

        Jordan’s doing OK.

        • Uncle Brian

          I’m not sure about that, Anton. King Abdullah is an admirable, clear-thinking, both-feet-on-the-ground British manager, but even he would raise his eyebrows, I think, at your nonchalantly confident appraisal of his prospects. It’s a tough world he’s living in.

          • bluedog

            He’ll end up in Virginia Water, if he’s lucky.

          • Inspector General

            She’s a fine woman…so one has heard…

          • bluedog

            Skating on thin ice there, Inspector.

          • Inspector General

            {GULP!}

          • Pubcrawler

            Isn’t that Stephen Sizer’s patch?

    • David

      The term “Arab Spring” was an extremely naive one invented by the ever foolish, wrong headed BBC.
      But I agree with you that Islamic countries cannot handle democracy of freedom. Strong rulers are a necessity to maintain order and some semblance of justice.
      But cultural relativism, accepted unquestionably by our “liberal” elite, refuses to recognise that our ideas of freedom and democracy are rooted in the idea of individual human dignity, as we are made in the “image of God”, and this is of course a Judaeo-Christian product. As such these ideas do not travel well outside societies that are not Christian, at least in heritage.

      • Anton

        Er, democracy started in pagan ancient Greece.

        • David

          You don’t say !
          Yes obviously, the genesis was in ancient Greece. But its modern form featuring universal suffrage, which is what we are discussing, has evolved here.

        • Pubcrawler

          And their model ended there, too, after little more than a century. As David says, and to appropriate Horace, our version ‘tota nostra est’. Bats did not inherit the ability to fly from birds, and neither got it from pterodactyls.

          Greeks at the time did note a difference in temperament between themselves, freedom-loving, and the Persians and their subjects, more slavish. Maybe they were onto something…

          • Anton

            Yes, they were appalled when Alexander started behaving like a Persian potentate after conquering the place.

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, for all that Aristotle was his tutor, Alexander was hardly enamoured of Athenian-style democracy — and the Greeks, of course, did not regard him as ‘one of their own’ in any case. They had also railed against Pausanias a century and a half before for adopting the way of the Mede.

          • Anton

            There were too many ancient Greek writers criticising democracy for Western European history to think well of it until relatively recently.

          • Pubcrawler

            Even so, there is not a direct line of succession or descent. Some Greeks found themselves governing themselves for a short period (in historical terms) in a way that is given the name ‘democracy’. That way is extinct. The funeral oration of Pericles was not foremost in the mind of Stephen Langton et al. in 1215, nor of Simon de Montford and his associates in 1258. And so on. The ‘Westminster model’ is all ours — quid Athenae cum Westminster?

            The roots of our system are to be found in Tacitus’ Germania more than they are in Thucydides or Demosthenes, say.

    • Ivan M

      Islam under Sultans is what works for them. Democracy always ends up with mullah rule or which is the same thing mob rule.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I think it was oriiginally called “the Arab Spring”. It turned into an Islamic Winter.

  • David

    This is an excellent article from Cranmer, but unless I am missing something, a rough and ready consensus has soon arrived, leading to a faltering of discussion. Disagree with that anyone ?

    • Uncle Brian

      I think the faltering is due to something else. We’re waiting to find out what exactly is going on in Turkey. Will the mass firings in the teaching profession and the judiciary bring schools, universities, and the courts to a halt? If so, is that Erdogan’s purpose or is it an unintended side effect? And so on and so on …

      • David

        Very true U. Brian.

    • dannybhoy

      Yes.

  • Shadrach Fire

    I wonder where Boris Johnson fits with all this. He has an official line to take of course but it was his Grandfather I think that was strung up on the streets by rioting groups opposed to his Liberal writings as as a journalist. It must pain him personally to see the extreme hardline mobs at it again in uncontrolled opposition to any argument that is in opposition to their own.
    Good bye EU and any possibility of Turkey joining.

  • dannybhoy

    “Turkey Declares 3-Month State of Emergency
    – Zoya Sheftalovich

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared
    Wednesday that the government would be implementing a three-month state
    of emergency following Friday’s failed army coup. The state of emergency
    grants the president and his cabinet increased powers such as the
    ability to bypass parliament in enacting new laws and allows them to
    limit or suspend rights and freedoms.

    “This measure is in no way against democracy, the law, and
    freedoms,” Erdogan said. “Europe does not have the right to criticize
    this decision.” (Politico EU) ”

    http://www.dailyalert.org/

    • Anton

      Europe, mercifully, does have the right to tell Turkey it cannot join the EU.

      • dannybhoy

        Europe my friend is in a position of military and moral weakness.
        We lack not only the trained, equipped and disciplined forces, we lack the same dedication and ferocity of belief that drives those who worship Allah.

        • Anton

          Europe, meaning NATO minus the USA (and, obviously, Turkey) could easily smash Turkey militarily. The problem is that the battle is not a military one but a spiritual one.

  • Uncle Brian

    We’re still waiting for details about the ten unnamed people arrested today in different places in Brazil, suspected of planning a terrorist attack of some unspecified kind during the Olympics. All we’ve been told so far is that all ten are Brazilian nationals, one of them is a minor, and arrest warrants have also been issued for two further unnamed suspects. Another hundred people, described as “sympathisers with terrorism,” are under surveillance, including three who were overheard chatting in a bar, in Arabic, about bombs and explosions. Brazil’s Polícia Federal and other security agencies are said to be getting backup from an unstated number of FBI, CIA and Mossad officers who will remain on duty in the country for the duration.

  • HedgehogFive

    People below have mentioned the Mullahs, who make a living by insisting that there is no God but Allah.

    They are a threat, of course, but over here (Erinaceus europaeus sum) we are weakened by the Nullahs, who leave out the “but Allah” bit.

    • Anton

      Yeah, there is no god and Dawkins is his prophet, etc. (Not original.)

      • Pubcrawler

        “… and Dawkins is making a profit”

        There, fixed that for you.

  • Turkey’s military coups always concluded with the army voluntarily stepping back and letting civilian authorities and democratic institutions take over…albait under the army’s watchful eyes. When a sultan wanna-be, like Erdogan, declares that democracy is like a train that you get off when it takes you to where you want to go …Islamism, in his case… a coup is the lesser of the two evils. Democracies have to find a way to avoid that last free election that end all elections, even if it takes an army to do it. There, but for the grace of God go we…

    • And if the people of Turkey want Erdoğan’s Islamism and not Western liberal democracy, what then?

      • Uncle Brian

        Then it’ll be what Avi is warning us about: one man, one vote, one time.

        • We in the West seem to believe the only legitimate political system is pluralist liberal democracies. Why is that?

          • Because that’s what we believe, Jack. Are you having a bad weltanschauung day?

          • Sure, but does “what we believe” give us the right to impose this political system on those that don’t actually want it or in situations where it seems destined to fail. The Americans did this to Britain and her Empire after WWII at what cost? If the majority of Turks want to be governed by an Islamist dictator, so be it.

          • In non-democratic places majorities only matter if they don’t endanger us by sliding back to the Middle Ages. As it is we are imposing nothing. If Turkey wants to go Islamist it will and we will have the right (and hopefully the sense) to begin cutting it off from goodies such as access to Europe, NATO, generous aid, etc. It can join the rest of the ding-heap. Then, if it opens its borders to bad guys who endanger us, we have the right to stop it, even if we have to topple whatever dictatorship and carve up its territory like a salami. I nominate the Kurds, who by now deserve an access to the Med right through Hezbullah. Would be nice too for Israel to have pleasant neighbours, for a change.

            The US ended the British Empire???? The US wanted the UK top keep it to help in the fight of Communism and Russian and Chinese expansion, but the UK couldn’t control the Empire after WW II for a variety of reasons.

          • Hmm … your respect for the national sovereignty of others and for their cultures is commendable.

            After its entry into the Second World War, the US pushed the doctrine of national self determination and insisted it be applied to the British colonies. In November 1942, Churchill (who never accepted the doctrine) responded to sustained American pressure about the British Empire, stated: “I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” However, after World War II, Britain was financially and economically impoverished by two wars and was unable to resist the drive towards national self-determination, stirred up by the United States, the Soviets and China. The anti-colonial movements in Africa, India, the Caribbean, and East Asia, both American-inspired and Communist-inspired, were a major feature of world politics.

          • In other words, the US position, based on UK’s inability to hold the Empire against a tide of nationalist movements was only one factor. If even. The bottom line is no European country had the capacity to pursue imperial ambitions, so to salve their egos they jumped on the anti-colonialism tosh. Even a sizable number of Jews in the pre-state Yishuv preferred a homeland within the Commonwealth, within San Remo borders prefetably, but your administrators botched that one up by letting in and favouring the primitives to appease the oil sheikhs.

          • Given the financial state of Britain and its war weariness, it couldn’t withstand the pressure brought about by the Cold War and the competition between America and the Communists for influence in the colonies – including the mandated territories. America pushing self determination and democracy, the Soviets and China pushing armed revolution. Then there was that “little man” Ghandi who understood how best to play the situation. As for Israel and Palestine, Britain really was in an impossible situation. It didn’t have the money, resources or political support at home to commit to a protracted dispute. And do you really suppose America and Russia played no part in what unfolded?

          • Why, Jack, of course everyone played a part in pretty well everything that was unfolding, but it’s a far cry from blaming the US for the loss of the Empire. The most obvious reason were the post-War economies and rising narionalism in the colonies. Even without the War, it’s hard to imagine colonial arrangements functioning as they did before, when cracks and deep fissures were already forming.

          • CliveM

            We also had the Labour Party wanting to disband the empire.

          • Uncle Brian

            Avi, I’ve never understood why it was that Sykes, Picot and whoever else was involved in drawing lines on maps said No to creating a Kurdistan.

          • I believe that was the plan, but nationalist Turks quickly settled southern Turkey and put up a great stink. I don’t understand why Israel”s foreign affairs does not repeatedly thwack Turkey over the head with the Kurdish issue.

          • chefofsinners

            Trouble is, they are by definition only legitimate where people believe this.

          • Pubcrawler

            I don’t believe that, so I don’t know.

      • This is an abstract question over a hypothetical case, Jack. In the actual case before us we did not know, and now with the purges, we cannot know what the “people want.” As far as I know, there isn’t a single case where anyone voted in Islamism with the proviso that it take total authoritarian power. Typically it’s a case of voting in the lesser of two evils and then being cheated out of the democratic process they were assured would remain in place.

        • Anton

          Morsi in Egypt?

          • Yes, good example. He instituted a “temporary” suspension of the constitution with unlimited powers. The military asked him to think again, he didn’t and got his just deserts.

          • Uncle Brian

            That must have something to do with Erdogan’s aggressively critical remarks about Sisi, earlier today or was it yesterday.

          • Erdogan must be frightened. He was suspiciously ready to deal with the coup, with long lists of enemies at hand and crowds of protesters who somehow managed to hold back tanks, so this may not be the last of it. And now he is committing in the old, crude Ottoman manner, and the enemies he’s made are not just dumb-feck central Anatolia Muslim peasants who make it possible, with their votes, for kinds like him to govern.

          • Uncle Brian

            So what’s the real inside story about the recent events in Turkey? Do you have a hot line to die währste Wahrheit ?

          • The leading rumour is that the coup was either staged or known about long before and was used as a power grab for Erdogan. Another one was that Russia engineered a weak one, and “helped” Erdogan, who is now Putin’s new lapdog. I’m afraid where Turkey is concerned, there can never be a “real” story; it’s a room within a room within a maze in a seraglio, as it were.

          • bluedog

            It looks as though Erdogan has decided that he will be the Caliph, and will usurp Al-Baghdadi in Raqqa/Mosul.

          • Either that, or his fighting for his life. Seems like the latter. His three month martial law will, of course, extend indefinitely and that’s what will eventually get him in the end. The secularists in Turkey may be weak numerically, but they are the intellectial and economic engine of the nation. A suspension of democracy plays into their hands, giving them a moral right to topple an illegitimate tyranny…and Erdogan’s government just lost its legitimacy.

          • CliveM

            With whom? Not his power base.

          • bluedog

            Hope you’re right. The last thing we want is 80 million jihadis in NATO.

          • His power base was based on elections. Erdogan effectively erased their authority with his “emergenccy powers.” It’s now down to real influence, skill and raw power.

          • bluedog

            In that case, somebody needs to take out Erdogan. Now, who could pull that one off? Let me think…

          • Uncle Brian

            Erdogan as a Putin lapdog surely must be a preferable outcome, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, to Erdogan as the latest in a long line of Sasha Baron Cohen-style Middle Eastern power-crazed autocrats.

          • Not if Turkey’s still in NATO, with Incirlik and as the paid gaoler of a few million migrants itching to storm into Europe. Russian involvement is, by default, always the worst outcome.

          • dannybhoy

            http://freedomoutpost.com/is-t

            Interesting article here about the situation of US Incirlik air base. Freedom Outpost is no fan of the POTUS or Hilary Clinton, so treat with caution..

          • CliveM

            Why? I can think of a lot of better outcomes the a Russian/ Turkish axis on Europes borders. Nope I think that would be the worst outcome.

          • dannybhoy
      • dannybhoy

        Some will, some won’t. Violence is a good way to help people make the right decision…

  • Uncle Brian

    In this week’s issue of The Economist:

    Mr Erdogan is fast destroying the very democracy that the people defended with their lives. He has declared a state of emergency that will last at least three months. About 6,000 soldiers have been arrested; thousands more policemen, prosecutors and judges have been sacked or suspended. So have academics, teachers and civil servants, though there is little sign they had anything to do with the coup. Secularists, Kurds and other minorities feel intimidated by Mr Erdogan’s loyalists on the streets.

    The purge is so deep and so wide—affecting at least 60,000 people—that some compare it to America’s disastrous de-Baathification of Iraq. It goes far beyond the need to preserve the security of the state. Mr Erdogan conflates dissent with treachery; he is staging his own coup against Turkish pluralism.

    … Mr Erdogan’s greatest success—the economy—has become his weak point. Many tourists are now too frightened to visit, so the current-account deficit will only gape wider. To stay afloat the country needs foreign investment and loans, so it must reassure foreigners that it is stable. With Mr Erdogan acting like a vengeful sultan, that will be hard.

    The repercussions of the putsch will be felt for a long time. The coup-makers killed many fellow Turks, discredited the army, weakened its ability to protect the frontier and fight terrorists, rattled NATO and removed the restraints on an autocratic president. A terrible toll for a night of power-lust.

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21702465-turkeys-president-destroying-democracy-turks-risked-their-lives-defend-erdogans