Steven Cook makes an important point about the relationship between Kemalism’s lack of popular appeal and the military’s repeated interventions in politics:

In laymen’s terms, Turks were not buying what the General Staff was selling, so the officers were forced to keep everyone in line through coercion. The advanced weaponry and the destructive force the Turkish military can bring to bear aside, the repeated intervention in politics reveals not strength but rather manifest weakness. The military intervened because Kemalism, its guiding ideology and the wellspring of its alleged power, did not make sense to most people.

To the extent that previous Turkish military coups “worked,” they did so by suppressing the political preferences of a large part of the population and reinforcing an ideology that those people didn’t accept. That wasn’t sustainable, and as last week’s failed coup made clear it was no longer going to be tolerated. The attempted coup was the last gasp of a fading system that has never really had the public’s full support.