Between the Two Coups; Egypt and Turkey

By: Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 17 July / Jul 2016. 07:59 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

After the failure of the military coup in Turkey, spectators and commentators took to the panels to compare it to the “successful” coup in Egypt, which overthrew the elected president.

In this comparison lies a great injustice to both; there are major differences between the Turkish and Egyptian coups.

The democratic discourse in Turkey is deeply rooted, despite recurrent coups endured in its modern history. Political parties in Turkey are effective and popularly instilled. More so, the ruling party there, with some commonalities with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, has been ruling the country for nearly 14 years, aggregating a vast popular carrier, and has taken control over the military and security institution, as well as most of the state’s bureaucratic device and facilities.

In Egypt, the situation is totally different; parties prior to the revolution were weak and isolated; some were utterly ousted and banned. Those in parliament were in it for the formality. In the aftermath of the revolution, the elected Brotherhood-Salafi coalition, had arrived into power lacking any and all forms of influence in the state, while the military institution in Egypt had a strong presence in the scene, as well as decisive role in the stepping of Husni Mubarak; the military then took over the transitional stage, effortlessly, to return whenever they may see fit.

When the Coup took place, Egypt was still in-transit, and divided; elected president Mursi had only been in office no more than a year.

On the flipside, while Turkey is divided politically, the Turks are unified on the premise of their future. All political powers in the field had already decided to adopt the democratic process, irreversibly.

In Egypt, the coup was not out of the blue, as it were in turkey; one would go as far as to say the coup in Egypt was prepared quite openly. It was prefaced and by the vast popular movement, as millions took to the streets in Cairo and Egyptian cities to overthrow the president. Contrarily, in turkey, tens of thousands rallied to overthrow the coup, facing up to the military with their chests bare.

Turks had a lot to make sacrifice for, economically and democratically, while the Egyptians, at the very wake of the democratic era, had not yet tasted its sweetness. When the military took over, all opposition was comprised by the Muslim Brotherhood. In Turkey, vast arrest campaigns, partaken by citizens, had included thousands, in Egypt, there were no citizens; only the military sweeping for opponents of the coup.

Opposition parties in Turkey opposed the coup just as much as did the ruling party. In Egypt, the army successfully polarised the most prominent powers to its side, particularly the Salafis and traditional parties from Mubarak’s era. Those who stood against the coup, besides Islamists, were mainly small, isolated parties.

Comparatively, in Turkey, it was not the chief of the military who conducted the coup, but sectors, lacking of the support of the military’s commanding staff. In Egypt, the whole military was united behind Sisi, smoothly taking over the country.

To add to this all, there is a fundamental difference between the two coups that has to do with the personas of both leaders; Erdogan and Mursi. Erdogan set millions in motion to stand up to the coup via a single phone call. Mursi, on the other hand, had millions moving against him just less than a year after he was voted into office.