We have been working in Izmir for a while now, with families living in difficult conditions in the city. Too many people in tiny rooms with no money for food, dreaming of making the life-threatening crossing to Greece in the rubber boats that leave from there. But nothing could have prepared me for this...
There is a worrying atmosphere of revenge in Turkey these days, a vengeful willingness to oppress the oppressors. Turkey's culture war is swinging the other way after almost a century of secular rule. Just how far Erdogan's project to reshape the republic will go is anyone's guess, but he will definitely have to watch his back trying.
What now? Is it too much to hope that Erdogan will stop and reflect and change course domestically. Sadly the coup came exactly after he had done a u-turn on foreign policy towards Russia and Egypt, though not on the renewal of the war against Kurdish armed nationalists. So it is most unlikely. It will legitimate more authoritarianism. Nor will our new Foreign Secretary, having insulted the man for trivial reasons, be able to make the slightest difference or influence him.
The military coup, if we can call it that was an elaborate and dramatic development that benefits one man and his supporters. When will he learn to include the other fifty percent of the country, the one that supported his rise to power because they viewed him as the best of a bad bunch believing his promises of peace and security.