Previous Session: Coup Attempt in Turkey: Background, the Plot and the Aftermath – Friday 2 September

After the coup attempt of July 15, 2016 Turkey has been experiencing the extraordinary times of the state of emergency declared on July 20. The government hastily identified the followers of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen as the coup plotters and then declared a pervasive war against the group. This campaign included confiscation of the property of Gülenists in Turkey accompanied by a campaign abroad to ban international schools affiliated with the cleric. Declared for three-months in total, the state of emergency has consisted of widespread purges in the civilian bureaucracy and amongst the military, together with closure of several media outlets, seizure of hundreds of high schools and universities and also arrests of thousands of people only in its first month. All these efforts were paralleled by an extensive mobilization of masses for daily demonstrations.

Erdoğan and Gülen were allies in their drive to eradicate the legacy of Kemalism and elements of secularism in the regime of Turkey till 2013. Then both drew their swords against each other over the spoils of their victory. Lastly, after the coup Gülenists were declared as “terrorists” by the government. According to most analysts this crackdown represented the elimination of the final power contender for Erdoğan to share the power.

We ask:

  • What is the background of the coup attempt? Was it a “typical Turkish coup” in the manner of the previous 1960 and 1980 coups as well as 1971 and 1996 military memorandums or a complete novelty in ideology and method?
  • What has been happening in Turkey since the coup? What do the purges in the military and bureaucracy mean? Is Turkey now under an elected sultan after the state of emergency?
  • What are the possible regional and international implications of the post-coup developments in domestic politics of Turkey? Does the post-coup crackdown mean a re-assessment of Turkey’s pro-Atlantic orientation?

Joining us for the discussion is Dr Mustafa Murat Yurtbilir, an Associate Lecturer in the Turkish Program of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, ANU. He has two Master degrees: one in International Relations from Istanbul University, and one in Development Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden. He completed his PhD in the International Relations Department of METU. Dr. Yurtbilir taught at the Kyrenia American University, Cyprus, and he has also been a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. His research focuses on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy, nationalism and ethnicity studies, and international relations.

Suggested Reading:

Session will be held on Friday, 2 September in the Centre for Arab Islamic Studies Tutorial Room at 11am.

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