Make up your mind, Western statesmen!

Some are suggesting that the attempted coup in Turkey was actually a plot engineered by Erdogan in order to be able to clamp down even more fiercely against army officers and judges.

This could well be so. It would only take half-a-dozen well-placed army officers to get the ball rolling. I happened to be watching BBC News channel at the time and followed every development of it for a few hours. What was so very remarkable about it was the apparent overwhelming success of it in the first couple of hours. Yet Erdogan and his supporters were immediately saying that it would be a failed coup.

After apparently one Facebook call on his smartphone while he was on holiday, thousands of citizens were pouring into the streets. That could have been achieved by a claque of no more than a dozen or so accomplices making repeated Facebook calls, and people being what they are — lemmings. Within another couple of hours, the coup had obviously failed. This is very unusual indeed when army coups take place.

Erdogan’s arrest of thousands of judges, army officers and army conscripts — most of whom were only following orders — shows just how ruthless he is, whether he’d organised a false coup or not.

Erdogan has realised in the last month or so that he’ll never be able to get Turkey into the EU because he’d been allowing Sunni clerics to re-establish more influence over the country in the last few months. So it looks as though he’s decided to go whole hog in the opposite direction in order to be a Big Man in the Middle East. With the largest army in the ME, Erdogan might cause a lot more trouble, particularly against iran, from now onwards.

In the meantime, spokesmen for Western governments had been fawning in their praise for Erdogen. What a contrast with what they’ve been saying in recent years about Assad! Whereas he’s been trying — however ineptly — to secularise Syria, Erdogan has been leading Turkey back into the middle ages, reversing what Turkey’s great secular hero, Kemal Ataturk, had achieved in the 1920s.

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