The Failed Coup Against Erdoğan
The coup d’état on July 15, 2016, was bloody. It began at 9 pm on Friday when Gülenist military officers tried to seize primary bridges, television stations, airports, and police headquarters. The main target was Erdoğan.
The coup plotters did not hesitate to use fighter jets to bomb Turkish parliament and Turkish Intelligence Service and Special Police Forces headquarters. Special Forces units were sent to either capture or kill Erdoğan. Vacations in Marmaris were planned for the anarchists.
Erdoğan left his hotel 15 minutes before the units arrived, and his jet landed in Istanbul after three a.m. He called his followers who put their lives at risk to save Turkey and their leader.
During the coup attempt, 240 people were killed and several thousand injured.
The coup d’état against President Erdoğan failed for three reasons.
- The military chief of staff, along with the commanders of land, air, and naval forces and the gendarmerie, refused to sign on, denying support and resources to the conspirators.
- A majority of the military remained loyal to Erdoğan and thus refused to support the coup. General Umit Dündar, commander of the First Army in Istanbul, called Erdoğan and advised him to come to Istanbul so that Dündar could provide appropriate security. Dündar also appeared on television the night of the coup, declaring it illegitimate and informing the public that the top commanders were being held hostage.
- All political parties backed the civilian government, immediately rallying around Erdoğan.
Citizens from all walks of life poured into the streets, determined to face down tanks and assist the authorities in arresting rogue soldiers. Public reaction provided a common ground for the different political factions of the country to defend their nation’s democracy.
Those who first responded to Erdoğan’s call for resistance were Imams who used the loudspeakers of Mosque to call believers to defend democracy. The most common chant on the streets of Turkey was, “Allahu akbar!”
After the coup, there were confessions. Lt Col Levent Türkkan, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar’s aide, testified that he was a member of the Gülenist movement and detailed the process by which he was recruited by Gülenist networks and supported within the military.
Erdoğan has emerged even stronger— the nation’s most inspirational leader after the Ottomans. Since the coup attempt, “the president’s approval rating has jumped from 47 percent to a record 68 percent. A mass gathering addressed by Erdoğan attracted over a million people.”
Erdoğan described the Gülen movement as a “cancer virus” vowing to cleanse the adherents from the government. At last count, more than 42,000 military personnel (including 147 generals and admirals), police, and judicial authorities have either been detained or dismissed.
[Research by Fidato]