Egypt’s Gift To Erdogan

Jul 11 2013 @ 6:41pm

Claire Berlinski notices how the Egyptian coup has given Turkey’s prime minister another chance to steer the media away from protests in Istanbul, which have not subsided:

[T]he Gezi protests were so massive, and so widely publicized, even internationally, that none of us could figure out how he’d change the subject this time, even with the customary media lockdown. “Frankly,” I said to a friend, “the only way he could do it is by announcing that he’s always felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body and announcing that he’s scheduled himself for immediate gender reassignment surgery.”

I was wrong. God intervened. He handed Erdoğan a coup in Egypt, instead.

Now, to put this in context, the Turkish media barely noticed the coup in Mali, and I’d be astonished if more than 100 Turks were aware that in recent years there have also been coups in Honduras, Guinea-Bissau and Niger. But as of the Fourth of July, one would have thought, from reading the local press, that one was not in Turkey but in Egypt, which was more than passing strange. And while the world seems to believe the Egyptian coup was a “nightmare” for Erdoğan, putting an end to his ambitious foreign policy fantasies (and this is true), it it important to understand that it was simultaneously a dream come true, not only turning all foreign attention away from Turkey, but enabling him to turn all domestic attention away from Turkey, and lending credibility to his absurd claims that the Gezi Park protesters were in fact coup-plotters, despite extensive, serious research indicating that they were anything but.

Recent Dish on Turkey here, here and here.