It’s now proved that a successful coup needs complete institutional support and dedication.
A faction of Turkish Army, thinking the people will support army takeover, made an attempt in Turkey midnight of Friday-Saturday. At the call of President Tayyip Erdogan people of Turkey took to the streets of Ankara and Istanbul and managed to secure surrender of rebel soldiers.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that a faction within the military is responsible for a coup that it claims has succeeded. The whereabouts of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was reportedly on vacation, were initially unknown.
Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar said Turkey is now under military control, despite statements by Yildirim that illegal actions undertaken by the military will not be tolerated. There are reports that Akar has been taken hostage, and he may have made his statement under duress.
Turkish forces were reportedly swarming the streets of Istanbul and Ankara on the night of July 15, some of them in armoured vehicles and tanks. F-16 aircraft and combat helicopters were also reported to be flying at low altitude over Ankara.
Checkpoints have been set up at strategic locations such as the Bosphorus Bridge as well as near military headquarters in Ankara, where gunfire has also been reported.
Civilians were being informed that martial law has been imposed and that they should return to their homes.
It is unclear at this point which military units are participating in the coup attempt and which are responding to it.
Military units have taken control of Ataturk international airport in Istanbul, and communication channels including Twitter, Facebook and the state television channel had been blocked. Gunfire and explosions have been reported in several locations, but all reports are unconfirmed at this time.
There have also been reports of clashes between police forces and military units, including alleged arrests of police officers by military personnel. Police forces have also purportedly ordered the arrest of any armed military personnel in the streets.
The mayor of Ankara, who belongs to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has reportedly called on supporters to come into the streets in defence of the government. There were also reports, however, that the military is arresting civilians.
Erdogan has no shortage of political enemies because of his autocratic style of ruling the country in recent years. Most recently, Erdogan replaced Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and in May filled his Cabinet with loyalists.
The military has conducted successful and unsuccessful coups and has recently grown increasingly uneasy about the country’s domestic and foreign policy under Erdogan.
The military leadership, for example, has publicly opposed Erdogan’s proposal to militarily intervene in northern Syria. With Moscow making reconciliatory efforts to make up with Turkey, the Turkish government may have been pushing more assertively for a military incursion into Syria, which could have provoked a faction within the military.
The coup attempt very likely garnered support from Gulenist movement which has been targeted in intensive government purges since 2014. The Gulenists, and their influence in Turkey’s police, education, media and military, were critical to the rise of the AKP.
But this group had influence It is notable that the coup attempt includes figures high enough in the chain of command to deploy troops to major Turkish cities. Turkish Army’s institutional support for the democratically-elected government appears to be there.
On the other hand, coup plotters’ leader Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in exile in the US state of Pennsylvania and who once was an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has condemned the attempted military coup attempt and denied any involvement in it.
“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey,” he said in an emailed statement. “The government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force.” “I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly,” he added.
“As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations.”
Erdogan, who has returned to Istanbul and declared he was in control of the government, has blamed the coup attempt on the followers of Gulen. Gulen has for years lived as a recluse at the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Centre, a compound in Saylorsburg, in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.
His group, Alliance for Shared Values, describes itself as “an umbrella non-profit organisation serving as a voice for civic, culture and service organisations” across the country.
His movement promotes a version of Islam that embraces science, education and interfaith dialogue, which has earned him millions of followers but also drawn the suspicion of many in Turkey’s establishment, writes The New York Times.