The world news were rocked on Friday afternoon when reports came flooding in that a group within the Turkish military had declared it was staging a coup and taking control of the country.
The attempt at a coup d’etat by the Turkish military is in response to the increasingly unpopular and unilateral rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Although he has only been in power since 2014, Erdoğan has angered many of Turkey’s allies by undermining the country’s historical commitment to secularism by pushing increasingly theocratic, nativist policies.
Gateway to the Middle East
Turkey is one of the United States’ (and the West’s, for that matter) foremost allies in the tumultuous region of the Middle East. Across the Bosporus Strait, it straddles both Europe and Asia, creating a strategic land link between the West and the Middle East that has been important since antiquity.
Many Europeans have worried about refugees and terrorists flowing into their continent if Erdoğan’s increasingly volatile rule were to continue. Nonetheless, the news that the military has taken matters into its own hands is rather shocking. Reports are that the citizens of the country are even surprised by the news.
It would seem that the writing is on the wall for the unstable Turkish regime: President Erdoğan was “Facetiming” or Skypeing with news outlets from his phone from what appeared to be a hotel bathroom. That’s usually not a very good sign that your reign will continue.
It’s very interesting that the modern Turkish state, although certainly a predominantly Muslim country, was founded on a commitment to secularism and plurality.
Worth pointing out that above Ataturk's tomb, in letters of gold, are orders to the military to preserve secularism from Islam(ism)
— Robert Colvile (@rcolvile) July 15, 2016
The tweet above refers to Mustafa Ataturk, the “founding father” of the state of Turkey in the 1920s following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. It’s telling that his grave site is emblazoned with a call for the military to protect against the country falling into Islamic rule. That seems to be the current situation.
Ataturk appears on many of Turkey’s coins throughout the 20th century, including its modern 22-karat gold bullion coins known as Meskuks and Ziynets.
These gold bullion coins actually make Turkey the world’s leader in annual gold coin mintages, though the general public is scarcely aware of this fact because so many of these Turkish gold coins are bought domestically.
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