How the Turkish government deals with the aftermath of the July 15 attempted military coup could have lasting implications for U.S.-Turkish relations, according to some U.S. foreign policy experts.
Turkey, as a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member, is a valuable ally of the United States. According to Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute, however, if Ankara backslides even further on democracy, rule of law and human rights, Turkey could become an ally much more in the mold of Pakistan, which has little in common with Western values, and where bilateral frictions, mistrust and recriminations are commonplace, even though both countries depend on each other for regional stability.
After the failed coup attempt, many observers are concerned that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will further tighten his grip on power, purge the military and be more controlling of democratic processes in the country. While President Erdogan’s rule was widely seen as authoritarian in style, most of the international community nonetheless condemned the military coup attempt and declared support for Turkey’s democratic institutions. But if Erdogan uses the coup as justification for further crack-down, this sympathy could evaporate.
Less than 24 hours after the attempted coup started, President Erdogan appeared on live television at a rally in Istanbul, declared he was in control of the government, and said he was ready to take on the Gulenists, whom he said have caused much pain to Turkey.
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