Over the past decade, many of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s adversaries were blamed for cooking up coups in Turkey against “the constitutional order.” Some were imprisoned, for months or even years, after highly controversial investigations and indictments. It has also been a dominant theme of the pro-Erdogan propaganda machine to depict all elements of the Turkish opposition as pawns of a global conspiracy to topple Erdogan with a coup. Few could imagine that Erdogan himself would be blamed for a coup.
Yet it came with an astounding remark Erdogan made in a public speech Aug. 14 — a speech that created shock waves in the nation. To a cheering crowd in his hometown, Rize, he said: