Saturday 16 December 2017

European history is speeding up as Turkish coup follows Brexit

Turkey is one of Europe's great powers. Events over the past 48 hours bode ill for the entire continent, writes Dan O'Brien

THE CIVILIAN AUTHORITY: Turkish soldiers who were involved in the coup are beaten by a civilian on Bosphorus Bridge. REUTERS
THE CIVILIAN AUTHORITY: Turkish soldiers who were involved in the coup are beaten by a civilian on Bosphorus Bridge. REUTERS
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

There are five geopolitically important powers in Europe - Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Turkey.

Within a few short weeks, events of real, long-term significance have taken place in two. At one end of the continent, Brexit has changed the UK's historical trajectory; at the other end, last Friday night's failed military coup in Turkey will change that huge country, one way or another.

What happens in Turkey matters for all of Europe in multiple ways. Most immediately, it has been the buffer state in the fight against Isil and the containment of the migration crisis, as millions of refugees have spilt across its 600km border with Syria and its 200km border with Iraq.

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