Gunshots, screams and explosions filled the night as rebel Turkish officers last Saturday attempted a coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. When it was over, Erdogan survived, at least 265 people were dead, 35,000 members of the military were purged or arrested and thousands more teachers and judges ousted.
Fellow Turkish students were asked this question: what do you think of the sudden attempted coup? Is it surprising? Nervous, some spoke only after assurances of anonymity.
MK said; “Yes! Of course! After such threats and attacks by ISIS and the separation of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), it is a shock from my point of view, although personally, Erdogan isn’t my cup of tea. His secretive management worries me about the integrity of our country, in what do we really rely on?”
To Deniz Gorgon, a successful coup would’ve been a disaster. Why? “If Erdogan’s government were to be overthrown, their reply wouldn’t have been the nicest, per say. As most of us (the Turkish) know, he has great power and support in the Anatolian land, located in the south of Turkey, also recognized as Asia Minor. Well, their imams spread the word which made those people pour rapidly onto the streets and fight the citizens.”
This might explain why half of Turkey still admires Erdogan passionately. When it comes to Erdogan’s popularity, he is loved and respected mostly by the poor and the muslims.
Guenther Oettinger said that if Erdogan decided to use the attempted coup to shut down basic democratic rights, Turkey would be eliminated from both the application to the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Such a rebellion might have not been surprising for Erdogan considering that rumors were spread stating that military officers loyal to a Turkish cleric in Pennsylvania, Fethullah Gulen, were planning an attack against the current Turkish government .
European politicians, concerned with expectations of heavy measures by Erdogan against the rebellion have cautiously warned him that the coup attempt has not guaranteed a “blank cheque” to overturn the law. President Erdogan has hinted that he might re-introduce the death penalty, abolished in 2004, after the previous uprising.
Now what exactly happened? Late at night, tanks rolled into the streets of Istanbul to block the famous Bosphorus Bridge connecting the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. The capital, Ankara, was besieged too. Media outlets were forced off air and social media experienced outages. Shortly after midnight, the military announced that the “political administration has lost all legitimacy and has been forced to withdraw.” But Erdogan addressed the nation via facetime and stated that all should fight the military and support him.
Erdogan blamed low-ranking officers for not being loyal to him, and as well his bitter rival Fethullah Gulen who lives in a small town in Pennsylvania. President Erdogan stated that he called President Obama to demand that Gulen should be deported to Turkey so he can be punished for conspiring against the government. Gulen denied it and US Secretary of State John Kerry called Erdogan’s accusations unfounded.
Could Gulen be behind it? He has suggested that Erdogan might have staged the attack himself in order to legitimize a crackdown against the military and judiciary, and focus hatred on Gulen, leading to the return of the death penalty to punish him and his supporters.
Recep Tayip Erdogan, elected in August of 2014, has been fomenting intrigue in Turkey for years. Since the failed election back in 2015, Turkey has been more violent than ever. But since the last coup in 1997, almost 20 years ago, the Turks are eager to avoid a civil war.
President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have both agreed that “all parties in Turkey should support the democratically elected government, show restraint and avoid all violence.”
Where is Turkey now? Turkey now faces even more uncertainty, with Erdogan remaining victorious from the biggest challenge a politician could ever face. He’s in an even better position to consolidate his own power. Meanwhile obstacles and challenges undoubtedly remain ahead.