Turkey’s failed military coup attempt has unmasked the ugly face of a lot of fake liberals and democrats in the West. “Instead of expressing a clear principled stance against military coups and in favor of democracy and the popular will, they chose to side with the putschists as they bombed the Turkish parliament with F16s and gunned down peaceful protesters,”said Soumaya Ghannoushi* in a Huffington Post article on July 21 under the title: “Why Is Erdogan Being Demonised In The West?”. Instead of condemning the vicious coup attempt, many Western figures only sought justifications for the anti-democracy move. “They cheerfully sought justification for the plot to topple a democratically elected government when it was underway, heaping scorn on the elected president instead of the generals and soldiers who conspired to overthrow,” Ghannoushi said.
Many Western writers and analysts who wishfully expected the failure of the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey’s latest elections, were disappointed after the AKP won the parliamentary elections. The same biased commentators “have committed an even more colossal error of judgment this time round,” said Gannoushi. Those pro-democracy persons, both on the right and on the left, have recently proved that they are only fake democrats.
Those Western fake democrats kept silent at the early hours of the failed attempted coup, hoping that it will succeed, but “when the coup was defeated, against all the odds, the tune turned to lamentations over democracy and its terrible plight under “arrogant” and “authoritarian” Erdogan and gloomy warnings of an inevitable slide to repression and tyranny,” according to the Huff Post article.
The plotters of the Turkish coup attempt, who were described as ‘the guardians of secularism’, ‘a force for progress’, and even ‘Modernity’, were criticized by a Sunday Times commentator for staging the coup in July’s high temperature as he suggested that September would have brought the desired result.
“The same symphony of exoneration of the coup-plotters and demonisation of Erdogan was played by left-wing media. Hours after the coup’s launch, the liberal, left-leaning Guardian ran a piece that bore the surreal title: ‘Turkey was already undergoing a slow-motion coup – by Erdoğan, not the army’,” Ghannoushi said, adding, “Neither was western governments’ response any more principled. Resorting to diplomatic sophistry, they initially avoided denunciation of the military coup, confining themselves to vacuous calls to “caution” and “restraint”.
Only when the tens of thousands of ordinary Turks who defied the curfew and, unarmed, resisted the attempt to drag their country back to the dark era of military dictatorship and managed to defeat the seceders, did these hollow phrases shift towards tepid statements of “support for democracy” and lengthy expressions of concern for the putschists and their fates.
Erdogan’s power is founded on electoral and popular legitimacy. “And, like him or loathe, the Turkish president has done more to democratise the country than any other leader in its modern history, strengthening its civil institutions and corroborating the authority of the people in opposition to a military which had wrought havoc in its political life,” the Huffington Post article said. In fact, the AKP era has witnessed the liberation of civil rule from the military hegemony. Also, there have been reform of the military and restructuring of the security service, intelligence apparatus, and the special forces.
Through the accumulation of democratic traditions, with the liberalisation of the country’s political system via successive elections, political pluralism and the widening role of civil society, the Turkish people has grown freer, bolder, and more able to defy the edicts of putschists and generals, Ghannoushi said.
The paradox is that no other leader in the Middle East is more demonised than Erdogan when he is one of the very few heads of state who has actually been democratically elected in that part of the world.
The truth is that the Western world will not be satisfied except when the outcome of democracy comes as they want and to serve their interests. “For this is the deal: Either a democracy that yields those we want, that is, those who do as we say and serve our interests, and eliminates those we disapprove of, which is the ideal scenario for us. Otherwise, we must look to our reserves of putschists and generals around the region to accomplish what is needed in quick “surgical interventions”. Our orchestra of apologists would, then, swiftly move to embellish the ugly spectacle with fact-reversing analyses and commentaries than turn coup-plotters into “guardians of modernity and “agents of progress” and democratically elected leaders into “dictators”.
According to those fake democrats, the citizens who dared to defend their electoral choices, will be shown as crazed religion fanatics and zealots, “or in Turkey’s case, as “Erdogan’s Islamist mobs”, as one British newspaper referred to as the anti-coup protesters.”
In fact, the West does not care much about democracy or human rights, when it comes to its friends and allies. “If Erdogan is being vilified today, it is not because he is not a democrat or a tyrant, but because he is not pliant to western dictates and willingly keeps to the rules and parameters the West lays down for the region,” according to Huff Post article.
Soumaya Ghannoushi concluded her article by saying that, “the real challenge, then, is: Are western powers able to accept and deal fairly with a leader who expresses the will of his nation and his country’s interests, which may not necessarily coincide with their will and their interests?” Although the answer to this question should be in deeds not in words, however, the West is required to provide a positive response to the question even in mere words!
*Soumaya Ghannoushi is a British, Tunisian writer and Middle East expert.