Dissecting Egypt, Turkey’s failed coups, By Olusegun Hakeem-Adebumiti

Posted by News Express | 23 July 2016 | 2,046 times

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In the Muslim world Friday is a very sacrosanct day that affords the faithful opportunity to congregate and share thoughts. But Friday 15th of July, 2016, was indeed a dark one, as some elements within the Turkish military forces planned to topple the democratically elected government in the country.

The reality was that the coup hit a brick wall, courtesy of the masses’ resolve to move massively against the military forces who had announced a take-over of government that faithful day. The fall-out from the failed coup was massive as well, with over 200 people reportedly killed while about 1,500 sustained injuries following confrontations between the forces and the defending masses.

On the other hand, there is currently a massive purge of military officials who have been involved in the purported usurpation of power; about 6,000 arrests have been made.

The judiciary is also not left out of the purge as over 2,000 judges have been removed apparently in a bid to institute a reform process in the judiciary, which will block a recurrence of such senseless act against a democratically elected president in the country. This is because Turkey does not have capital punishment laws against acts of treason by individuals against the state. That the constitution will be reviewed is certain when viewed from the outcome of this ugly incident. Recall that the president, some few days to the attempted coup through the judiciary, gave more powers to the military, apparently to secure the nation's territory from wanton act of terrorism that had engulfed the country in recent past.

Let me stop there for now as my intention ab-initio was to dissect the reasons behind the successful Egyptian coup of 2013, whereby the first democratic government in the country led by Mohammed Morsi was toppled, and why Turkey's version a few days ago was unsuccessful, even though the two Muslim countries share similar religious sentiment.

Mohammed Morsi was democratically elected in Egypt following the 2011 Arab Spring protest, which saw the end of Egypt's maximum ruler, Hosni Mubarak. Due to Morsi's pro-islamic tendencies, he was tagged a threat to Western secularism and democracy. He was removed by General Abdulfatah Al Sisi, after massive protests from the masses who were sceptical about Morsi's posture, which they believe was tilting towards a more religious Egypt. Thus, the masses rejected a government they had elected through the ballot just because of some uncertain sinister motive.

Once again, the masses had their way and for me there are more angles to that. They believe that a new bloc that will challenge Western hegemony had emerged, hence their grip of the Middle East and, by extension, the Muslim world will slip away in no time is a factor to note. The West supported the military regime to topple the first democracy in Egypt; a system they had always preached and even financed across the globe. It, thus, means that democracy is good for the people when it favours the West, and it is bad when there are tendencies it won't satisfy their selfish interest.

The social media, as usual, played a vital role in mobilising the masses against Morsi. While its use during the ‘Anti-Morsi’ campaign was successful, same could not be said of the failed coup in Turkey, as it was a story of a different stroke for a different folk. So, what has changed between 2013 that Egypt's Morsi was toppled and 2016 that Turkey's Recep Erdogan was unable to be toppled?

A lot has changed. The Turkish are now more conscious of their freedom than being a stooge to some foreign conspiracies. This could be viewed from the Egyptian scenario, as nothing has changed since the unpopular government of Al Sisi took over. There have been growing insecurity and human right abuses with many opposition politicians and journalists now behind bars. As for Turkey, the government of Erdogan had been accused of the aforementioned challenges in Egypt as well, and had been tagged as having pro-islamic tendencies like Morsi, thereby bringing to disrepute Turkey's secular leanings, as championed by the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Atatürk. But the fact that the masses wanted him is an indication that the mandate of the people cannot be compromised. The West should note this as more people are getting acquainted with their ploy day-by-day. Though they have distanced themselves from the sponsors of the coup in Turkey, the role they played in the toppling of the Morsi government leave many in doubt as to their resolve against Erdogan who shares similar sentiment with the latter.

The same social media that was used to rally support against Morsi was employed by Erdogan to reclaim his mandate from the invading marauders who had come in the form of military forces. The masses took to their feet, having been mobilised by President Erdogan who urged them to picket the streets and airports to defend their mandate.  No doubt, the president is popular among them even after he had been accused of plans to destroy Turkey's secular posture. Turkish cleric and businessman, Fethulah Gulen, was accused by the Turkish government of influencing the coup attempt following successive plots aimed at pitching his followers against the government of Erdogan, while latest document obtained by Arab TV channel, Al Jazeera, showed names of 80 top government officials who would have taken power had the coup been successful. For posterity sake, those behind the coup attempt, be it local or foreign, should learn to respect the people's mandate which is the core principle of democracy. The Turkish government has called for the extradition of Gulen, who had been on exile in the US. Such a decision should be respected by the US, if after investigation the man is found to be guilty.

Other leaders from across the world should learn from Turkey's Erdogan, because had it been he is not popular among the masses, he would have been left alone to carry his cross. Such popularity, however, do not come from an impoverished masses. It comes from an empowered one.

Hakeem-Adebumiti writes from Ondo. Twitter @hakeemadebumiti. Photo shows President Erdogan of Turkey.

Source: News Express

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