All you need to know about the recent coup attempt in Turkey
On the night of 15th July, Turkey bore witness to yet another coup attempted by a certain section of its military, which ultimately was a failure. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was on a vacation during the coup attempt and addressed his supporters through FaceTime to take to the streets and defeat the attempt. Considering the geopolitics of the Middle East and the role of Turkey in the region, the coup attempt was audacious and yet unsettling. With Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a mission to purge government offices, judiciary and the military, we at randominks ventured to explore the recent incident in Turkey and now we are here to tell you all you need to know about the military coup attempt in Turkey.
What is a coup?
A coup is defined as ‘the sudden overthrow of government, differing from a revolution by being carried out by a small group of people who replace only the leading figures’. In case of a successful military coup, martial law is imposed and the head of the military usually assumes the post of the head of the state.
Who carried out the recent Turkish coup attempt?
The recent coup attempt in Turkey was carried out by a certain section of the Turkish military. Those behind the coup, call themselves a part of the Peace at Home Council which “(wanted to) reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedom”. Peace at Home has a direct reference to Mustafa Kemal Attaturk, the military officer who played an integral role in establishing Turkey’s secular state after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. But, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, later said that those involved in the coup were followers of the Islamist Clerk Fethulla Gullen who, once an ally of Erdogan, was forced to leave Turkey after the media houses owned by Gullen accused Erdogan of Corruption. Erdogan in return seized many of Gullen’s media houses and later “designated Gullen religious group as terrorists” (Source- Reuters).
On the other hand Gullen suspects Erdogan himself to have been the architect of the coup. According to a report by The Guardian on 31st May, 2016, Gullen, who now resides in the USA, was quoted saying, “The coup may have been staged by the Erdogan regime”. (Source- Vox. YouTube)
Has there been military coups in Turkey, in the past as well
Yes, Turkey has witnessed 4 military coups in the past. 1960- The first coup in the Turkish Republic following which the Turkish President and the Prime Minister were arrested and tried for treason.
1971– Economic downturn affects Turkey adversely causing widespread unrest. Military steps in to restore peace and order.
1980– Clashes between left and the right-wing groups lead to another military coup.
1997– Another military coup forced the incumbent Prime minister to resign.
Is the ruling government unpopular in Turkey?
Well, Yes. The Turkish President has been widely criticised for his increasingly authoritarian measures. Also labelled as ‘Dictator’ by some, his term has been marred by corruption, government scandals and censorship. Major anti Government protests began in 2013 over corruption scandal following which the government then banned YouTube, Facebook and Twitter among other sites. Turkey’s reputation as one of the most censored countries in the world continues and in 2012 and 2013, Turkey ranked as ‘The Worst Jailer of Journalists’ for two times in a row.
The Erdogan regime has also been accused of supplying the Syrian rebels with weapons during the Syrian Civil war. Turkey has also been accused of having direct links with ISIS members. (Source- Seeker Daily, Youtube)
What is the result of the latest coup attempt in Turkey?
The coup ended in a failure. The Hindu report dated 22nd July, stated that the Turkish President launched “an extensive crackdown on his perceived enemies and critics in military, police, civil service and even the private sector.”
The report further said that following the coup attempt, a 3 month state of emergency has been announced in Turkey during which:
- The government will be able to enact laws bypassing the Parliament, which could not be challenged in the constitutional court.
- There could be restrictions on publications and freedom of assembly.
- The government will have broader powers to arrest the suspects.
Meanwhile the government has launched an aggressive purge campaign which has affected 58,000 people including Soldiers, police officers, members of the Judiciary, private school Teachers, University deans, clerics and Intelligence officials.
What now for Turkey and Erdogan?
In the article ‘Cashing in on a failed coup’ authored by Vijay Prashad (who is a columnist for Turkish daily BirGun) which appeared on ‘The Hindu’ on 19th July, 2016, Mr Prashad categorically states the effects of the coup. “Not one Turkish political party backed the coup. Everyone opposed it, including the Republicans and the Left. Turkish society should take comfort that there is little political appetite for a coup. Nonetheless there is a great deal of concern at the use of the coup by Mr. Erdogan to push his agenda. The imams from the mosques, through the night of July 15th called upon their supporters to take to the squares. Violence against political opponents of Mr Erdogan has picked up in Turkey”.
Well, even as we speak, the purge in Turkey continues. The coup attempt has caused 264 deaths. Perhaps it would bind Turkey together and unify the nation. But this coup also rings warning bells for the leadership of countries across the world in general and the Turkish leadership in particular. It is perhaps time to respect voices of dissent and introspecting instead of quelling them and thus continuing the existing unresolved crisis.