Erdoğan supporters in media warn about possible coup attempt after US think tank report

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ISPARTA, TURKEY - OCTOBER 12 : President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) views soldiers parading during the badge ceremony of specialized sergeant commando trainees at Counter Terrorism School and Training Center Command in Isparta, Turkey on October 12, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

Several pro-government Turkish journalists have fired off warnings of a possible military coup attempt at some point following a report on the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) by a US think tank, which argued a putsch could take place due to increasing discontent among mid-level officers in the army.

The RAND Corporation report for the US Army, which was issued last month, alleges that the Turkish government’s decision to expel hundreds of officers after a failed coup in 2016 caused huge discontent in the Turkish military, according to the Middle East Eye news website.

“Mid-level officers are reported to be extremely frustrated with the military leadership and concerned about being removed in the continuing post-coup purges,” the RAND report said.

“This discontent could even lead to another coup attempt at some point, and [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan appears to take the threat seriously.”

Turkey accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of a 2016 coup attempt although it strongly denies any involvement.

But this time, the pro-government columnists suggested that it could be an attempt from Kemalists, referring to a secularist-leaning ideology favored among the army staff for decades with respect to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the modern Turkish Republic.

Hasan Basri Yalçın, an academic and columnist at Turkey’s Sabah newspaper, wrote on Monday that everyone needed to take the report seriously because RAND was working directly for the US Department of Defense.

“No one should look at this issue as a conspiracy theory,” he said. “If you don’t see how all of these are finely scripted and coordinated from one single center, I have nothing to add. Don’t be surprised if a coup attempt emerges.”

President Erdoğan was asked about the rumors during a recent Pakistan visit.

“Our people have had a … serious experience,” he told journalists. “Next time they won’t even question whether or not to go out [to resist]. Everyone will pour into the squares.”

The Turkish opposition, however, thinks that another coup attempt would be the only hope for Erdoğan, who is believed to be losing support among Turks.

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