By George Friedman
Mid-afternoon on Friday in the U.S. (late evening in Turkey), we started to receive reports that tanks were deploying in Istanbul and two bridges over the Bosporus had been closed by Turkish army troops. A bit later, we got reports that armor had been deployed in Ankara and that there was fighting going on between Turkish army special forces and national police around the parliament. Turkish F-16s were seen in large numbers in the skies. A military coup was underway.
Military coups were fairly common in the world 30 or 40 years ago. Turkey last had a coup in 1980. Having a full-dress coup, with tanks in the streets and government buildings under attack, seemed archaic. Yet here it was. For us, it was a complete surprise. True, the army was Turkey’s institutional guarantee of secularism. Kemal Atatürk’s post-World War I revolution was dedicated to secularism, to the point that head scarves on Muslim women were banned for decades. When the Justice and Devel