Turkey coup: How the NATO member’s instability has direct implications for the rest of Europe

Dr Lina Khatib of Chatham House think tank explains how the NATO member’s troubles affect the rest of the world.TOPSHOT-Turkish-solders-stay-at-Taksim

The military coup attempt in Turkey is already causing a headache for the international community.

Turkey is a member of NATO and of the US-led international coalition against ISIS. One of its military bases is being actively used by the coalition to support the anti-IS air strikes in Syria.

Turkey has also recently made a deal with the European Union to regulate the flow of migrants passing through the country to head to Europe.


Instability in Turkey has direct implications for stability in Europe.

This is why US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the head of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, have both called on President Erdogan to respect the boundaries of democracy in his country following his wide-ranging crackdown on dissidents in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

The crackdown has seen some 8,000 police officers suspended and around 7,000 members of the judiciary and the military arrested. There are also worrying discussions in the Turkish public domain about potentially restoring the death penalty for those charged with treason.

Such developments do not bode well for Turkey’s ambitions to be part of the EU but they also risk alienating large sections of Turkish society.

In particular those who have been against the coup out of their rejection of military rule, but who also do not support Erdogan and had consequently already endured oppressive measures by the state to curb their freedom of expression and mobilisation.

If Erdogan’s current purge extends to such opposition voices, his intention to solidify his power in Turkey through crushing sources of dissent will backfire in the long run as it spurs more grievances against him.

If such internal divisions in Turkey grow, this creates an environment that is favourable to terrorist organizations like ISIS, which capitalise on local grievances and instability.

It would also strain Turkey’s relationship with European countries.

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