Aslı Bâli at Dissent:
Turkey has faced an unprecedented number of crises in the last year. The spillover from the war in Syria has undermined a peace process between the government and the country’s Kurdish community, with the success of Syrian Kurdish militias on the border with Turkey producing fears of separatism among Turkey’s Kurds and prompting the government to relaunch a counter-insurgency campaign (read: war) in the largely Kurdish southeastern provinces. Nationwide, the country has experienced at least five major Islamic State attacks since June 2015. Meanwhile, Turkey now hosts some 2.7 million Syrian refugees. Turkey has also experienced increasing political polarization since the 2013 protests against the government that began in Istanbul’s Gezi Park revealed a deep split in the country. All of these challenges have destabilized the country’s economy and unnerved its population.
Yet almost no one expected, one Friday night in mid-July, to turn on their televisions and see Turkish jets dropping bombs on the country’s own parliament building. Government reforms over more than a decade had civilianized control of Turkey’s military and the armed forces were already embroiled in a brutal war in the southeast. The attempted coup of July 15 and its aftermath has eclipsed the previous crises of the last few years in its magnitude and potential to radically transform the country.