Take a deep breath.
You’re witnessing a military coup in Turkey. Both the military and the government are claiming that they’re in control. We don’t know which is true yet.
The coup, should it succeed, would not necessarily be bad news for the free world. Turkey has had six coups in the last sixty years, so roughly one per decade since WWII.
For starters, the current leader is an autocrat who may have already begun a descent into madness. He’s anti-democratic and anti-secular / anti-modernist. He’s been blamed for allowing IS to infiltrate the country. He’s been building the largest palaces on earth for himself and locking up his political rivals and journalists. Erdogan represents the old school, like Ankara, which is largely regressive. The military sees itself as more secular, more representative of, say, Istanbul.
The scary part is that there are US military installations and even nukes nearby where this military intervention is taking place. The less scary part is that they cannot be accessed without US authorization. Additionally, there have been several NATO countries that have experienced coups – Greece and Portugal come to mind – that have not disrupted the relations between those countries and the US / Europe.
There are two things you need to read now for the correct context before you panic…
First, Michael Rubin’s incredibly prescient piece at AEI from March that talks about what would likely happen after a military uprising in the country. Rubin explains why the US could work with Turkey’s military to restore democracy and human rights without outwardly supporting the overthrow:
Second, a brief history of Turkish coups:
Finally, I’ll say that I hope, if it is a coup, it’s a bloodless one and that no Turkish people get hurt or find their lives threatened. I also hope the usual nut jobs don’t get opportunistic and try anything scary. It’s all unfolding now. Read the links I’ve posted and pour yourself a glass of wine before freaking out.
The Telegraph is updating live. Go here last.