Apart from denuding Turkey's once-mighty armed forces of the last shreds of its domestic credibility, the failed coup of July 15 will perhaps be remembered as the moment the West "lost" one of its most important allies.
The attempt to topple and possibly kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was allegedly carried out by followers of the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who have infiltrated the state apparatus on a massive scale. The president's retribution has been stunning. Thousands of soldiers, civil servants and journalists have been arrested, and tens of thousands relieved of their duties. Turkey is in the midst of a purge the likes of which has not been seen since the successful coup of 1980.
Erdogan's victory, and the widespread-if-implausible claims of American involvement in the coup itself, come at a time when Turkey's dream of joining the European Union is close to definitively foundering. Is this the end of Turkey's Western vocation, and if so, what will come in its place? How will the crisis affect the Kurdish war, the Syrian conflict, and NATO, of which Turkey is a longstanding member?