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Failed Military Coup Could Help Erdogan Get What He Wants

© REUTERS / Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential PalaceTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during an iftar event in Ankara, Turkey, June 27, 2016
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during an iftar event in Ankara, Turkey, June 27, 2016 - Sputnik International
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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could well benefit from the unsuccessful military coup that rocked Turkey on Friday night because the insurrection has most likely opened up the path for a broad constitutional reform that will allow him to become a president for life, Doctor of Turkish studies Nikos Christofis told Radio Sputnik.

This is something that Erdogan has been pushing for months. The Turkish strongman has advocated rewriting the constitution so that he would get significantly more powers, but the ruling party did not have enough votes to kick start the process. The authoritarian trend has also divided the Turkish society.

 

The failed coup attempt might tip the scales in Erdogan's favour.

The ideal path forward, according to Christofis, would be for Erdogan to make his agenda more democratic. Instead, there will be "more authoritarianism" since now Erdogan "has fewer obstacles to become president for life" and concentrate power in his own hands.

A photo taken on July 16, 2016 shows a Turkish military helicopter at Alexandroupolis airport, after landing there carrying eight officers seeking asylum after a coup bid in Turkey the night before. - Sputnik International
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For the analyst, Erdogan's "authoritarian shift" is the main reason behind the coup that took place on Friday night when a group of military officers took key sites in Ankara and Istanbul under control in order to remove the Turkish president from power. The authorities largely overturned the insurrection by Saturday morning.

At least 265 people were killed and hundreds were injured in the overnight chaos. More than 2,830 people have been arrested.

© REUTERS / StringerA tank is seen in front of the gate of the General Staff headquarters during an attempted coup in Ankara, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY.
A tank is seen in front of the gate of the General Staff headquarters during an attempted coup in Ankara, Turkey July 16, 2016. - Sputnik International
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A tank is seen in front of the gate of the General Staff headquarters during an attempted coup in Ankara, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY.
© REUTERS / Murad SezerPolicemen stand on a military vehicle after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Policemen stand on a military vehicle after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. - Sputnik International
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Policemen stand on a military vehicle after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
© REUTERS / Huseyom AldemirPeople demonstrate outside Ataturk international airport during an attempted coup in Istanbul
People Demonstrate Outside Ataturk International Airport During An Attempted Coup In Istanbul - Sputnik International
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People demonstrate outside Ataturk international airport during an attempted coup in Istanbul
© AP Photo / Emrah GurelTurkey Coup With Flag
Turkey Coup With Flag - Sputnik International
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Turkey Coup With Flag
© REUTERS / Murad SezerTurkish Soldiers Surrender Their Weapons To Policemen During An Attempted Coup In Istanbul's Taksim Square
Turkish Soldiers Surrender Their Weapons To Policemen During An Attempted Coup In Istanbul's Taksim Square - Sputnik International
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Turkish Soldiers Surrender Their Weapons To Policemen During An Attempted Coup In Istanbul's Taksim Square
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A tank is seen in front of the gate of the General Staff headquarters during an attempted coup in Ankara, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY.
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Policemen stand on a military vehicle after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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People demonstrate outside Ataturk international airport during an attempted coup in Istanbul
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Turkey Coup With Flag
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Turkish Soldiers Surrender Their Weapons To Policemen During An Attempted Coup In Istanbul's Taksim Square

Friday night's events caught people in Turkey and elsewhere by surprise, but Christofis maintained that the Turkish government could have been aware that something was brewing.

For the last couple of weeks rumors circulated that a large group of officers "will be forced to retire by the end of the summer," he said. The coup might have been "an organized attempt" by this group of mostly middle rank officers.

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Even if Turkish authorities were aware that something was coming up, it does not mean that they were behind the coup, Christofis added, saying that he preferred to refrain from turning to conspiracy theories to explain the coup's "lack of organization and inefficiency."

The analyst mentioned two key theories that have gained traction following Friday night's events. First one pins the blame for the violence on US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen and his movement. Erdogan indirectly accused his former ally as the events unfolded, but Gülen denied the allegations.

The second theory says that the military coup was staged by the government itself in a bid "to increase its popularity."

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