Opinion / Opinion Line

Turkey's constitutional reforms may speed up after failed coup

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-18 09:35

TURKISH PRESIDENT RECEP ERDOGAN REMAINS in power after the failure of an attempted coup on Saturday. Thepaper.cn analyzes the possible effects on Turkish politics and diplomacy:

Since the 1960s, military officers have successfully staged four coups in Turkey and they all defended the secular regime and civil reform afterwards. Yet all these coups had something in common, namely the military was united, they had popular support, and they responded to the threat of religious radicalization; none of these applied this time and that's why the coup failed.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan has blamed his political rival Fethullah Gulen for having planned the coup. Gulen, now residing in the United States, advocates mild religion and supports Turkey's cooperation with the West. Erdogan has asked the US to extradite him for trial, indicating the reported power struggle between the two political figures will likely continue.

The failure of the coup will accelerate the political reforms advocated by Erdogan, who hopes to empower his presidency by ending the current presidency neutrality principle in the Turkish Constitution, so as to create a powerful presidency in place of its traditional figurehead role. Actually, he has already got enough power through a series of measures, but he wants the support of the Constitution and the law. After the unsuccessful coup, Erdogan is expected to accelerate the constitutional reform process.

Turkey's geographic location and its membership in NATO mean it must play a major role in fighting the Islamic State group and other terrorists. Many fear the failure of the military coup might curb that, but that worry is unnecessary, because democratic reform and secularism remain the commonsense of the nation. The public that opposed the coup has shown its support for civil progress in the country.

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