A military coup against a democratically elected government constitutes a blatant affront against democracy. And yet, as Ellen Laipson pointed out in her WPR column earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s defeat of an attempted coup on July 15 does not herald a strengthening of Turkey’s democracy. In fact, all signs point to an acceleration of his push toward autocratic rule.
Given Erdogan’s countercoup moves—which so far appear to include demolishing limitations on his growing, if still not constitutionally sanctioned, executive power—one increasingly important question looms: What does the future hold for the pivotal relationship between the United States and Turkey?
The odds now strongly favor a sharp distancing between Washington and Ankara, and the chances that the deterioration could become much, much worse are steadily growing.