With anti-government protests in Turkey showing no signs of subsiding, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is doubling down on tough talk. In addition to vowing to punish his domestic critics, the Turkish prime minister is picking a fight with the European Union. Meanwhile, one of Erdoğan’s lieutenants is cautioning that the army might be called upon to enforce order.
Erdoğan has spent much of his decade-plus rule working to curb the army’s influence in Turkish politics. So it’s ironic that he may want the military to bail him out of the current crisis. Speaking at a news conference June 17, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç raised the possibility of the military’s deployment to restore domestic order, Turkish media outlets reported. Given that there may be lingering resentment in the officer corps over the way Erdoğan’s government has curtailed the military's influence, it’s not certain how vigorously the army might act to inject itself into the crisis, now in its third week.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.