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Is Erdogan really stronger after failed coup?

Contrary to the prevailing view that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged stronger from the failed coup attempt, a seasoned eye can discern signs that Turkey’s strongman feels less powerful.
People shout slogans and wave Turkish national flags as they have gathered in solidarity night after night since the July 15 coup attempt in central Ankara, Turkey, July 27, 2016. The banner on the right reads "Chief (Erdogan) I came to die". REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTSJZ33

The prevailing view among punditry and the media, both Turkish and international, is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged much stronger from the July 15 coup attempt and is now empowered to steer the country as he likes.

This assumption, however, is less than convincing for those who have closely watched Erdogan’s character, relationship with power and general political style during his 14 years in power. Erdogan’s statements and political behavior since the thwarted coup suggest quite the contrary — that he feels less powerful. The declaration of emergency rule and the draconian purge of the Gulen community — the decision-making and operational center of the putsch — may be projecting power, but that is an illusion.

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