It’s hard to know what was in the minds of the rebel leaders. In hindsight, the attempted coup looks amatuerish and not very well thought out. That said, they sure put a scare into Erdoğan’s Islamist government. The coming purge of the military will be bloody, and the dragnet for coup sympathizers will almost certainly sweep up some who are innocent.
The instability comes at the absolute worst time for Turkey as they are beset by Kurdish and Islamic State terrorists while the government takes on a low level insurgency by the Kurds. The coup attempt won’t help Turkey’s flagging tourist industry which has been severely damaged by several high profile terrorist attacks.
But it’s the political ramifications that will be most significant. Erdoğan is likely to accelerate his plans to change the constitution from a parliamentary based government to a presidential one. He will accumulate even more power and speed up his plan to make Islam the dominant force in government and culture.
And with the military now in shambles, there will be no one to stop him.