Did someone in the Turkish government have a purge list ready to go?

What began as a wildly improbable internet meme is starting to gain in substance.

The notion that President Erdogan staged a coup in order to have an excuse to rid himself of political foes may still be magical thinking.  But Erdogan himself has called the coup "a gift from God."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised "a new Turkey" after Friday’s failed coup. Its shape had already been emerging but the amateurish takeover attempt, which Erdogan called "a gift from God," gives him additional tools to realize it.

He has made clear that the country he plans would be different in two fundamental ways: power would be concentrated in the hands of the president, and the old secular elites would have a lesser political role. Whether overseas markets will cooperate remains a big question given that Turkey has one of the highest current-account deficits among G-20 countries.

The "legacy of a pluralistic, secular, modern society appears to be fading away, replaced by what increasingly appears to be a one-party democracy," said Gary Greenberg, lead portfolio manager for emerging markets at Hermes Asset Management in London.

The old Turkey’s story is well known: Secularists ran the state and the military which intervened from time to time to cut the religious conservative majority down to size when it gained too much electoral power.

Friday’s coup attempt has put a very different country on display, analysts noted, one in which not only the target of the coup but also the alleged plotters are religious conservatives. With secularists apparently on the sidelines, Erdogan now appears to see his chief threat as a former ally: the U.S.-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen.

Add to that the 6,000 people already under arrest.  Only around 2,900 of those are in the military.  And now Erdogan is going after the police and regional politicians, making his bid for a "new Turkey" a reality that appears to be possible only because of the coup.

Reuters:

A senior security official told Reuters 8,000 police officers, including in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, had been removed from their posts on suspicion of links to Friday's coup bid by a faction in the army.

Thirty regional governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants have also been dismissed, CNN Turk said.

Thousands of members of the armed forces, from foot soldiers to commanders, were rounded up on Sunday, some shown in photographs stripped to their underpants and handcuffed on the floors of police buses and a sports hall. Several thousand prosecutors and judges have also been removed.

More than 290 people were killed and around 1,400 wounded in the violence on Friday night, as soldiers commandeered tanks, attack helicopters and fighter jets in a bid to seize power, strafing parliament and the intelligence headquarters and trying to seize the main airport and bridges in Istanbul.

President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday told crowds of supporters, called to the streets by the government and by mosques across the country, that parliament must consider their demands to apply the death penalty for the plotters.

"We cannot ignore this demand," he told a chanting crowd outside his house in Istanbul late on Sunday. "In democracies, whatever the people say has to happen."

He called on Turks to stay on the streets until Friday, and late into Sunday night his supporters thronged squares and streets, honking horns and waving flags.

Someone, somewhere in the Turkish government had a list of political opponents to be purged ready to go after the coup failed.  Whether Erdogan is simply taking advantage of an opportunity presented by the coup is beside the point.  It appears that close to 15,000 Erdogan opponents are being dealt with.  That strongly suggests that the list existed before the coup was even attempted.

Erdogan isn't stupid enough to have left a paper trail leading back to him.  But editor Lifson offers a plausible scenario where Erdogan agents in the military goaded the plotters on and may have even participated in the initial stages of the coup.  This would give Erdogan plausible deniability while serving his larger purposes.

PJ Media's Stephen Green notes, "It wasn’t a failed coup; it’s a successful purge."  If so, Erdogan is responsible for a "Reichstag Fire" that he justifies by creating a "new Turkey."

What began as a wildly improbable internet meme is starting to gain in substance.

The notion that President Erdogan staged a coup in order to have an excuse to rid himself of political foes may still be magical thinking.  But Erdogan himself has called the coup "a gift from God."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised "a new Turkey" after Friday’s failed coup. Its shape had already been emerging but the amateurish takeover attempt, which Erdogan called "a gift from God," gives him additional tools to realize it.

He has made clear that the country he plans would be different in two fundamental ways: power would be concentrated in the hands of the president, and the old secular elites would have a lesser political role. Whether overseas markets will cooperate remains a big question given that Turkey has one of the highest current-account deficits among G-20 countries.

The "legacy of a pluralistic, secular, modern society appears to be fading away, replaced by what increasingly appears to be a one-party democracy," said Gary Greenberg, lead portfolio manager for emerging markets at Hermes Asset Management in London.

The old Turkey’s story is well known: Secularists ran the state and the military which intervened from time to time to cut the religious conservative majority down to size when it gained too much electoral power.

Friday’s coup attempt has put a very different country on display, analysts noted, one in which not only the target of the coup but also the alleged plotters are religious conservatives. With secularists apparently on the sidelines, Erdogan now appears to see his chief threat as a former ally: the U.S.-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen.

Add to that the 6,000 people already under arrest.  Only around 2,900 of those are in the military.  And now Erdogan is going after the police and regional politicians, making his bid for a "new Turkey" a reality that appears to be possible only because of the coup.

Reuters:

A senior security official told Reuters 8,000 police officers, including in the capital Ankara and the biggest city Istanbul, had been removed from their posts on suspicion of links to Friday's coup bid by a faction in the army.

Thirty regional governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants have also been dismissed, CNN Turk said.

Thousands of members of the armed forces, from foot soldiers to commanders, were rounded up on Sunday, some shown in photographs stripped to their underpants and handcuffed on the floors of police buses and a sports hall. Several thousand prosecutors and judges have also been removed.

More than 290 people were killed and around 1,400 wounded in the violence on Friday night, as soldiers commandeered tanks, attack helicopters and fighter jets in a bid to seize power, strafing parliament and the intelligence headquarters and trying to seize the main airport and bridges in Istanbul.

President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday told crowds of supporters, called to the streets by the government and by mosques across the country, that parliament must consider their demands to apply the death penalty for the plotters.

"We cannot ignore this demand," he told a chanting crowd outside his house in Istanbul late on Sunday. "In democracies, whatever the people say has to happen."

He called on Turks to stay on the streets until Friday, and late into Sunday night his supporters thronged squares and streets, honking horns and waving flags.

Someone, somewhere in the Turkish government had a list of political opponents to be purged ready to go after the coup failed.  Whether Erdogan is simply taking advantage of an opportunity presented by the coup is beside the point.  It appears that close to 15,000 Erdogan opponents are being dealt with.  That strongly suggests that the list existed before the coup was even attempted.

Erdogan isn't stupid enough to have left a paper trail leading back to him.  But editor Lifson offers a plausible scenario where Erdogan agents in the military goaded the plotters on and may have even participated in the initial stages of the coup.  This would give Erdogan plausible deniability while serving his larger purposes.

PJ Media's Stephen Green notes, "It wasn’t a failed coup; it’s a successful purge."  If so, Erdogan is responsible for a "Reichstag Fire" that he justifies by creating a "new Turkey."