Many observers across the world are taken aback at the scale and scope of Erdogan’s post-coup purges, with many people wondering aloud whether this proves that the Turkish strongman engineered a ‘false flag’ coup for these very purposes. I rebuffed this claim in an earlier piece this week, but nonetheless, the purges themselves are certainly worthy of prolonged discussion.
If approached from the angle of realpolitik – that is, of pure geostrategic interests separate from morals, ethics, and principles – then the purges are actually a blessing in disguise for the multipolar world, doing more than anything else could conceivably do to neutralize the Turkish military threat and create a wide array of positive opportunities for ending the War on Syria.
The author’s intent isn’t to defend these highly debatable purges, but rather to highlight the ways in which they’re inadvertently beneficial for Syrian interests. It’s naturally up to the reader themselves to decide whether the ends justify the means, but in helping to arrive at that conclusion, let’s take a look at the impact that Erdogan’s purges are having on Syria’s interests:
The Military Is Neutralized
Reuters reports that “around a third of Turkey’s roughly 360 serving generals have been detained since the coup attempt”, and the internal discord and paranoid suspicion that this has created within the ranks has severely crippled the country’s military cohesiveness and totally undermined its capability.
Turkey Only Cares About Internal Politics Now
In the dog-eat-dog world of coups and purges, the Turkish state is now forced to redirect its focus inward in dealing with a wide array of pressing threats (whether real, exaggerated, or imagined), thus placing it and its affiliated “deep state” apparatus (the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) in no position whatsoever to even countenance a formal invasion of Syria.
Erdogan Wants To Secure The Homefront
In parallel with the above, Erdogan is much more concerned at this moment with “regime reinforcement” in Ankara than regime change in Damascus, and it’s very likely that he will finally close the ‘rat line’ to Syria. This would optimize the effectiveness of Russian and Syrian anti-terrorist airstrikes by making their successes sustainable and enduring, though it might lead to the US and Saudi Arabia doubling down on the ‘rat lines’ that they run through Israel and Jordan in response.
Turkey Is Strategically Distancing Itself From The West
Be it through the Incirlik blackmail and the prospective closing of the Syrian ‘rat line’, or the spate of purges that absolutely contradicts fundamental European values such as “democracy” and “human rights”, Erdogan’s bold actions are creating real rifts with the West and making it almost impossible for them to continue their existing cooperation with him (if he even wanted to accept it at this point, that is).
Erdogan Is Digging In And Protecting His Multipolar Pivot
Despite his ever-widening dragnet inevitably dragging in scores of innocents, it’s very likely that a considerable number of the people who Erdogan is purging could in some way or another endanger his multipolar pivot to Russia and Iran, whether as “useful idiots” of the US or willing conspirators, and if the Turkish leader can succeed in staving off a second coup attempt, Color Revolution, and civil war (all of which together constitute Hybrid War), then his Eurasian reorientation will be secure and all of his new partners will reap the tangible game-changing dividends.