The Erdogan government rounded up thousands of military personnel on Saturday who took part in a failed attempted coup, and efficiently re-establish control after a night of chaos and bloodshed that left 265 dead. This is not the first time military intervention has been witnessed in the politics of Turkey as they have staged several coups within the past 60 years.

The Turkish Military used to be strictly secular until 2010 and have also released a statement targeting Erdogan’s non-secular politics in 2007, which became a political crisis. In 2010, there was a constitutional referendum, which gave Erdogan’s government more control over the judicial system of Turkey. Following the referendum, certain prosecutors were given extraordinary powers to prosecute secular high-rank officers in the military, for planning a coup against Erdogan’s government. Whether there really was a coup attempt remains controversial and ambiguous. It is fair to say that Turkish military has not been secular in the same sense after the prosecutions in 2010. There has definitely been a shift of power.

When fighter jets and military helicopters descended upon Istanbul and Ankara, Erdogan called his people to take to the streets and stand against the coup and the Turkish people responded fervently to protect the democracy they often criticise outspokenly. Several high rank military officers from different parts of Turkey strongly expressed their opposition against the coup and sided with the government. It seems that it was mostly the medium rank officers who were affiliated with the movement.

This attempt will help Erdogan to solidify his power and use it to push his political agenda for Turkey’s future. The choice is between going ahead with the rightist policies, or taking a step back, and making attempts to reconcile a society polarised between secularism and conservatism so that Turkey does not continue to break apart under Erdogan’s feet.

The fate and future of Turkey is significant for Pakistan, as along with China it is a true friend and Erdogan is, of late, seen as a role model. Yet we must be cautious of emulating their style of politics, especially that of Erdogan. Pundits in Pakistan will discuss Turkey, without keeping in mind the contradictions between a secular military and the confused conservative democrats in power in Turkey in comparison with Pakistan. The same people in Pakistan who support Erdogan’s hardline politics, often support military dictatorships in Pakistan. Generalisations cannot be made about what is right for Turkey, and what should be the place of religion in a secular state.