The New York Times reports on the opposition to the coup from the AKP’s political opponents:
Turkey’s liberals have spent years feeling that the country was being piloted in the wrong direction by a very powerful captain. They have watched with trepidation as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expanded his powers, enriched his allies and increased the role of religion in public life.
But none of that made young liberals like Koray Suzer, a 25-year-old fitness trainer, sympathize with the renegade military officers who launched a failed coup against Mr. Erdogan on Friday night. Turkey, Mr. Suzer said, has moved past the days when its military should intervene in politics [bold mine-DL].
“The worst democracy is better than the best coup,” he said on Sunday.
The lack of popular support for the failed coup in Turkey sets it apart from some other recent takeovers. It is common enough for the political opponents of a corrupt or abusive leader to side with a coup to settle scores or because they believe that the leader poses an intolerable threat to the country, and it is a good sign that this didn’t happen here. The fact that there was no broader support for the coup should make it more difficult for Erdogan and his party to use it as a pretext to persecute their political opponents, and that may limit the gains they make in the aftermath.
Judging from some of the Western reactions to the initial news of the coup attempt, one might conclude that quite a few people in the West hold the “streetcar” view of democratic government that Erdogan’s critics have cited against him (i.e., they view it as useful to reach a certain destination and can then get off). It has always seemed strange to me how attached some people in the West are to Kemalism in Turkey, which in almost any other country would be rightly perceived as an archaic authoritarian holdover from the pre-WWII era. Fortunately for Turkey, most Turks don’t seem to share that view.