Monday, July 18, 2016

Executive Decision

Roger Cohen in the New York Times --

As coups go, the Turkish effort was a study in ineptitude: No serious attempt to capture or muzzle the political leadership ...

Wall Street Journal --

A trio of Turkish helicopters filled with rebel forces buzzed the country’s Turquoise Coast below a waxing moon early Saturday as they homed in on their target: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For the first time in more than 35 years, members of Turkey’s military were trying to forcibly overthrow their government ... As the small group of elite Maroon Beret soldiers on the Turkish Riviera staged their make-or-break mission to try to capture or perhaps kill the country’s democratically elected president, it seemed as if the coup plotters had the upper hand ... Yet the commandos who raided the resort where Mr. Erdogan had been staying missed their target. After a brief gunbattle with his presidential security force, the rebels were repelled. Before they ever arrived, Mr. Erdogan had slipped away ... When the elite commandos in their three Sikorsky helicopters landed in Marmaris, clashes broke out with members of the president’s security team and local police. A Turkish official said one police officer and a member of Mr. Erdogan’s presidential security detail were killed in the fighting. Mr. Erdogan’s security detail had already spirited him to safety. Commandos who came for Mr. Erdogan pulled back to their helicopters, one of which malfunctioned, and then took off empty-handed. While in the air, the aircraft carrying Mr. Erdogan and his small contingent was approached by what they believed were hostile Turkish fighter planes.

The speed with which a Reichstag fire/staged coup/It's Erdogan who has to be careful narrative has emerged among foreign policy elites is remarkable, not least because the known facts about the coup are not obviously consistent with it.

UPDATE: Cohen's column remains uncorrected over a week first publication despite numerous follow-up reports on the attempt to capture Erdogan.

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