Of Lazaros Kambouridis, Deputy General e.a. , holder of MBA NOTTINGHAM TREND UNIVERSITY, graduate of DPTH – DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY OF ETHNOLOGY, PhD candidate of Pantei University.
Recently, an interesting discussion has been caused in Turkey on the occasion of the publication last month of 2 articles by the commentator F. Ugur of the pro-government newspaper Türkiye, regarding a new possible coup. In particular, he wrote: “other Western military personnel will be added to Turkish prisons. The mice escaped on July 15 (attempted coup), but this time the traps set are full of presents. The State is more ready than the eve of July 15 for a possible chaos, internal disturbance or a coup attempt.”
The issue becomes more important as F. Ugur is considered a person very close to the Turkish President and he was the one who had predicted a military movement with his article 3 months before the coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
It is impressive that, on the occasion of these publications, the judicial mechanisms were not mobilized and no one was called to testify since a new coup involving officers of the Turkish army is being announced with the aim of overthrowing the government.
Turkish analysts estimate that this news has nothing to do with real plans to overthrow the government by the military, but with the creation of a “set up climate of unrest” which will influence Turkish voters in the run-up to the upcoming elections. As the experience of the last decades has shown, any situation of chaos and polarization in Turkey also affects our national issues, since the militarization of the situation and the creation of a climate of tension affects the preferences of the nationalist pool of voters in the neighboring country.
Most of the decisions of the Turkish President in recent months have to do with the very crucial elections of 2023 and arresting the decline in the percentages of the ruling party AKP (Justice and Development Party) with recipients of various ideological spaces and tendencies of the electorate. More specifically, in the external field there has been an opening to EU countries. on the occasion of the defense programs (France, Italy) but also the enlargement of NATO (Sweden – Finland), attempt to reduce – cancel the sanctions by the USA (joining Sweden and Finland to NATO, procurement-upgrade program of F-16 aircraft, postponement of implementation military operation in Syria, mediating role in the issue of grain export from Ukraine), restoration of relations with Arab countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia) but also with Israel, initiation of discussions with the Syrian regime following Russian-Iranian “desire”, maintaining a climate of tension with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus.
In matters of internal politics, the decisions are in the same pre-election – vote-hunting context, to create a state of fear and polarization in society by spreading news about a new coup attempt, continuing the same aggressive policy in the Kurdish region, taking measures in the refugee region for the return of 60-70% of the Syrian refugees in their homeland, exploiting the Directorate of Religious Affairs in order to use the religious ministers in favor of the AKP and finally, creating an image of success in the energy sector by activating the entire fleet of seismic research and drilling vessels.
It seems that the Turkish President is very worried since the percentages continue according to the opinion polls to remain at historically low levels in view of the very crucial elections of 2023. In particular, in the latest survey – gallop carried out on a sample of 7,450 people in 41 of the total 81 prefectures of Turkey by the company ALF Araştırma, there is a complete reversal of the political correlations, as the main opposition Republican Party (CHP) receives a percentage of 28.1%, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) follows with 27.7%, the Kalo Party (IYI) comes third with 19%, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) scores 8.7% and the ruling coalition’s Nationalist Action Party (MHP) drops to 7.1%. In response to this, the ruling party (AKP) through pro-government newspapers (Yeni Şafak / August 23), leaked data from unpublished “confidential” polls whose authenticity is disputed, with the aim of disorienting society by reducing the effect of the country’s economic situation on preferences of voters.
From the above, it can be concluded that the Turkish President, realizing the impossibility of increasing his percentages in view of the most critical elections in his political career, becomes even more ruthless and plays the card of the “internal enemy”, causing fear and polarization of society in order to rally to the powerful pole of the ruling party, seeks by all means the mobilization of its voters and in particular the challengers of its economic policy, sends a message of determination and intimidation to the 2 largest parties of the opposition Alliance (CHP and ΙΙΙ) whose percentages are increasing , while at the same time maintaining the image of the “external enemy” with our Country and the Republic of Cyprus.
It is a point of concern, the closing of all fronts that existed with other countries and the maintenance of tension only with our country and the Republic of Cyprus.
Every situation of internal polarization, social unrest and political crisis in the neighboring country affects our national issues and involves our country in one way or another, since the political forces in Turkey use the card of “external enemy-Greece” with in order to mobilize and activate the national sentiments of the citizens. This becomes more dangerous especially on the eve of elections from a ruthless and dead-end Erdogan.
The aforementioned sentence of F. Ugur’s article, “The State is more ready than the eve of July 15 for a possible chaos, internal unrest or a coup attempt”, shows that Turkish state apparatuses and security and defense forces are busy dealing with a of possible internal unrest, positively affecting in favor of our country the issue of the deployment of military forces in the Evros and in the Aegean.
Turkey’s political life has many examples of inventing “external enemies” on the altar of the political chessboard. The worrying thing is that most of the time the politicians of the neighboring country have chosen to “assign” this role to our country since it is easier to mobilize the Turkish voter by invoking the “Greek threat”. The exploitation of the so-called “external enemy” also has another dimension in corresponding cases, that of provocation with Greece as the victim, as foreseen by the “Sledgehammer” Plan with the aim of overthrowing the AKP government by the military (2003).
*Lazaros Kambouridis, Lt. General, Graduate of the School of National Defense (SETHA), Holder of MBA NOTTINGHAM TREND UNIVERSITY, Graduate of the University of Athens – DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY OF ETHNOLOGY, Doctoral Candidate of Panteios University, Diplomatic Representation in Constantinople in the period 1995-1999, Defense Attaché at the Greek Embassy in Ankara in the period 2013-2017.