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Failed coup attempt to strengthen Turkish president’s power: Polish experts

The swift suppression of a military coup in Turkey will strengthen the position of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, political scientist Tomasz Kubin, from the University of Silesia, told news agency PAP.

Within hours, Turkish authorities managed to contain Friday’s putsch after military forces loyal to the leadership and thousands of citizens fought back. Some 650 people died in the clashes.

On Saturday morning, the Turkish leaders said they had regained control over the country, according to news reports. President Erdogan denounced the coup as “an act of treason”, media reports say.

“It was highly unlikely that Turkish society would support the action en masse,” Kubin said.

While the Turkish leadership has faced criticism for violations of human rights, rule of law and principles of democracy in recent years, President Erdogan enjoys extensive public support in the country, Kubin added.

“Paradoxically, quenching the military putsch may not denote a triumph of democracy but rather the strengthening of authoritarian tendencies in Turkey,” Witold Jurasz, head of the Center for Strategic Analysis, says.

“Also, in the current security situation, no reasonable Western politician will endorse any chaos or instability in Turkey,” Kubin said, pointing to the ongoing war in Syria and Iraq, alongside the continuing collaboration between Ankara and Brussels in curbing an EU-bound inflow of refugees.

In response to the coup, world leaders voiced their support for the country’s ruling government.

Tomasz Kubin says that Erdogan is likely to take advantage of the thwarted coup and will pursue further changes to the country’s constitution so as to boost his powers.

“For years, Erdogan has been gradually strengthening his sway over the country,” he said, adding that these efforts will continue so as to settle the score with Erdogan‘s suspected and actual adversaries.

The coup plotters had justified their takeover attempt with the need to “secure constitutional order, democracy, human rights and liberties.”

Witold Jurasz pointed to “growing Islamisation of the state” as most likely one of the key reasons behind the failed effort to overthrow Erdogan.

Other factors listed by the political scientists include “growing infiltration” of Turkey by the Islamic State fundamentalist terrorist network, alongside corruption within the ruling party and circles close to President Erdogan.

Marcin Zaborowski, from the Centre for European Policy Analysis, expects “radical purges” in Turkey’s army to follow, so as to “limit the role of the army”.

“The Turkish constitution provides that the army safeguards the constitutional order in the country,” Zaborowski told PAP.

This provision “has always served as a pretext for coups,” the last one of which took place in 1997.

Zaborowski says the Turkish authorities will “tighten the screw” on the military and change the constitution.

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