Turkey on Edge

I’ve become something of a Turkey booster recently, so I might not be the most objective observer. But it seems obvious, as this item over at FP Passport points out, that you don’t organize a coup d’état against a government that’s racked up a string of successes, both domestically and abroad, and dramatically improved your country’s influence and image. It should be mentioned that the coup in question was planned in 2004, and the recent arrests (most notably of four former generals) are part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged Turkish “deep state” of ultranationalists in the military, business and the press. It should also be mentioned that the arrests coincide with the legal proceedings challenging the legality (under Turkey’s secular laws) of the AKP party having entered a decisive phase:

The investigation has significantly increased political tension in the country. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously said a closure case against his party on charges of anti-secularism was a response to the government’s determination in the Ergenekon operation, while others have claimed that the government is using the Ergenekon investigation to suppress its opponents.

It should also be mentioned that a formal indictment in the year-old investigation is only now being prepared, apparently under Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws, which I’m not familiar with but imagine follow the general pattern of being less transparent than a normal legal procedure:

The lack of an indictment in the year-long investigation creates question marks over the operation. The operation had started more than a year ago, and without the indictment the formal accusations are not known. Some of the detained have been held in custody for more than a year.

So while AKP supporters have hailed the arrests as a victory for democracy, the political opposition has taken a much more circumspect view. More than anything, though, the mood in Turkey seems to be one of uncertainty and tension, which is at odds with the assurance and skillful diplomacy the country has displayed on the international stage.