According to Khanfar, the July 15 coup attempt -- which was thwarted by citizens who took to the streets and security forces that remained loyal to Turkey’s legitimate government -- "proved that there is a democratic experience in the region that has reached popular maturity and full consensus, regardless of ideology, class or sectarian affiliations".

"What happened [on July 15] will lead to the birth of a new Turkey; it will lead to a new phase of Turkish political life, in both the domestic and foreign arenas," Khanfar added.

"The old guard has been defeated by the new," he said. "This new force achieved victory on the shoulders of the Turkish people by means of unprecedented national consensus."

"Turkey’s present and the future are in safe hands," he asserted. "The country is establishing a new republic based on democratic and popular consensus."

Khanfar added: "Democracy has become an integral part of the life of the Turkish people, who realize they can’t live without democracy -- which is a critical element for all of us in the Middle East."

He went on to say that the "old guard" -- the army and its supporters -- "no longer have any real communication with the Turkish people; they live in the past and have yet to realize that Turkey has reached democratic maturity".

"Turkey’s democratization process has been vindicated by President Erdogan and his government through economic prosperity and political stability," he said.

- Turkey’s place in region

As for the impact of the failed coup attempt on Turkey’s position in the region, Khanfar noted: "The foreign policy of any country is based on its interests. In this regard, Turkey has tried to balance its relations with the neighboring countries, such as Russia and Israel."

"The failed coup has given Erdogan and the Turkish government the popular legitimacy they need to pursue a strong, confident and cohesive foreign policy," he said.

"From now on, Turkish foreign policy -- vis-à-vis neighboring countries and the international community -- will be seen through the lens of the coup attempt, which allowed Turkey to distinguish its friends from its foes," Khanfar said.

"Turkish foreign policy will now be set according to the attitudes of these countries [vis-à-vis the coup], especially Turkey’s neighbors," he said.

"What happened in Turkey will drive its leadership to reevaluate its foreign policy. Had the coup succeeded, we would have seen mass executions of the president and government officials," he added.

"The Arab states, for their part, should draw a lesson from the failed coup," Khanfar pointed out. "Protecting democracy doesn’t just mean protecting the ballot boxes; it is the process of building popular consensus -- far from ideological considerations -- with a view to establishing a free and democratic community that accommodates everyone."

"Popular consensus is essential. Exclusion doesn’t lead to democracy," he said. "Our people in the Arab world should draw inspiration from what happened in Turkey; they should draw inspiration from the Turkish people, who safeguarded democracy from one of the strongest armies in the world."

"The Turkish people have realized that democracy serves all categories of society; it doesn’t benefit only one category at the expense of another," Khanfar asserted. "This is a lesson our people [the Arabs] should learn."

- Western response

"In recent years, Europe and its politicized media has insisted on portraying President Erdogan as ‘dictatorial’ and ‘authoritarian’," he said.

"The slow and hesitant European response to the coup [attempt] is the biggest indication that Europe doesn’t want Turkey to continue on its current trajectory under President Erdogan’s leadership," Khanfar said.

"When the coup [attempt] was underway, we saw hesitation in the western media and western political [government] positions, which did not rush to condemn it," he said. "Some appeared to be giving time to the coup to prove itself."

"There is little doubt that, had the coup succeeded, the European position on it would have been positive not negative," he added.

"But after it became clear that the Turkish people had foiled the coup, western capitals began issuing statements against it," Khanfar said.

"This is despite the fact that a successful coup would have run contrary to the west’s interests," Khanfar said. "If Turkey had slipped into violence and chaos this would have immediately impacted the interests of Europe -- vis-à-vis the migration crisis, terrorism and in other ways."

Khanfar went on to note that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s initial statement -- made in the first hour of the coup attempt -- was "hesitant and indecisive", even if subsequent statements by U.S. President Obama expressed strong support for Turkey’s legitimate government.

- Foreknowledge

"I doubt that such a coup attempt could be made without first consulting -- or at least informing -- the Americans," he said. "We must not forget that Turkey’s army is a NATO army and that the U.S. has a base at Incirlik, where Turkish officers work alongside their American counterparts."

"In my estimation, the Americans knew of the matter [i.e., the coup attempt] but they didn’t overtly embrace it," he concluded. "If it succeeded they were prepared to give it their blessing, but if it failed, they would wash their hands of it."

He added: "I don’t think the Americans were entirely unaware it was coming."

Khanfar currently serves as president of the Al-Sharq Forum, an NGO devoted to promoting political development, social justice and economic prosperity in the Middle East.

Anadolu Agency