Turkey

Turkey’s bungled putsch

Following a failed military coup in Turkey, President Erdogan has launched a sweeping crackdown on alleged plot sympathisers. Who was responsible for the uprising? And how have Ankara’s western allies responded? The FT’s World News editor Ben Hall speaks to Mehul Srivastava, the FT’s correspondent in Turkey, and former Turkey correspondent Daniel Dombey.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech to his supporters in Istanbul

Live coverage of the aftermath of an attempted military coup in Turkey, where 3000 members of the military and security forces have been arrested and the judiciary has been purged.

Key developments

  • Erdogan demands “head” of suspected coup plotter Gulen from US; White House says it has not received extradition request
  • Gulen tells FT coup may have been orchestrated by Erdogan
  • PM hails Turkey now back in “complete” control of government
  • Nearly 3000 members of the military arrested; 2750 judges purged, senior judges arrested
  • Plotters who fled to Greece will be returned to Turkey – foreign minister
  • Total death count hits 265, with 161 civilians killed and 1440 wounded
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    Do Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ever think of each other and wonder “That might have been me”?

    These are torrid times in both men’s countries – two titans of the emerging market world – as current events make clear. Read more

    Can the EU-Turkey deal resolve Europe’s migration crisis?
    European leaders have negotiated a deal with Turkey aimed at stemming the flow of refugees into the European Union. But can it work? Gideon Rachman puts the question to Alex Barker, the FT’s European diplomatic editor, and Tony Barber, the FT’s Europe editor.

    Some of the thousands of refugees and migrants queuing at the Greek-Macedonian border

    Rarely has the EU needed Turkey so badly. And rarely has Turkey looked like such an unattractive partner.

    The EU’s strategy to end its “migrant crisis” hinges on an effort to persuade Turkey to stop the flow of would-be refugees heading from Turkish shores to Greece. That plan will be the focus of an EU-Turkey summit in Brussels on March 7th. So it is particularly unfortunate that the Turkish government should have chosen the days before the summit to raid and effectively take over the country’s largest opposition news group in an apparent bid to end its critical coverage of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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    The EU package for Turkey agreed at the latest Brussels summit on the refugee crisis looks pretty desperate. The situation of Syrian refugees, the bulk of those braving death to try to make their way to Europe, is very desperate. Syria’s neighbours, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which together have taken in more than 5m refugees, once the unofficial tally is added to those registered by the UN, know that very well.

    Now, the EU is offering Turkey three main things to get it to prevent Syrians transiting to Europe and keep them inside its borders. Stalled EU accession negotiations will be re-energised. Talks will start on liberalising EU visa rules for Turks. And Ankara will be offered something like €3bn in aid for refugees (about half the sum it has already spent) and border control. Read more

    Turmoil in Turkey
    Turkey suffered its worst terrorist attack at the weekend, but rather than uniting the country in grief, it has exacerbated suspicions that the ruling AK party is intent on stoking ethno-sectarian tensions ahead of next month’s elections. Ben Hall discusses the crisis with Daniel Dombey and David Gardner.

    Lebanon and Turkey struggle to meet the needs of Syrian refugees
    The future of Syria and its neighbouring states, Lebanon and Turkey, remains unsure as they are struggling to cope with millions of refugees from the Syrian conflict. Gideon Rachman talks to Erika Solomon, FT correspondent in Beirut, and Dan Dombey, former FT bureau chief in Istanbul, about the political and societal strains caused by the refugee crisis

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    Turkey’s dramatic change of direction
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    A blizzard of anti-western conspiracy theories has hit Turkey in recent months.

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month suggested that the western forces who invaded the Gallipoli peninsula during the first world war still wanted to make the country a second Andalusia — the Spanish region that Christians reconquered from Muslims.

    Other recent theories in the pro-government press include the idea that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a foreign “project” intended to foil the rise of Turkey. So too were the 2013 anti-government protests and a subsequent corruption investigation into Mr Erdogan’s circle.

    Some analysts say Mr Erdogan’s rhetoric is an attempt to shore up the nationalist vote ahead of critical elections in Turkey on June 7 — the run-up to which has become increasingly tense. Read more

    Vladimir Putin with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban

    In the West, Vladimir Putin is often viewed as something of an international pariah. Shift your perspective, however, and it is quite striking how many international friends, the Russian president has cultivated.

    Mr Putin, who enjoys posing bare-chested, is particularly good at making friends with other “strongmen”. His roster of special friends include Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the president of Egypt, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, and Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa. This week, Mr Putin has also been demonstrating that he is capable of finding pals even inside the “enemy camp” – the European Union. The EU may have imposed sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, but that has not stopped Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary – and another self-styled strongman – from rolling out the red carpet for Mr Putin. Read more

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hoping to further strenghten his AK party's representation in parliamentary elections

    It sounds like the guest list for a high-profile dinner party but it could be the future of Turkish democracy.

    In the last few days a host of prominent Turks, including the country’s spy chief, the head of its stock exchange, several university heads, top civil servants and the chief of the country’s wrestling federation have all resigned their posts, paving their way to stand in June 7 parliamentary elections.

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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas shake hands in front of 16 soldiers in historic garb at the presidential palace in Ankara (Getty)

    The average foreign dignitary visiting Ankara might not expect to encounter an honour guard of 16 men resembling extras from a sword and sandals epic and lining the staircase of a gargantuan presidential palace.

    So when Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, was confonted this week by the spectacle of the 16 soldiers in historic Turkic garb, even some Turkish officials confessed they initially thought the resulting images were the work of photoshop.

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