On Friday, Turkey citizens were faced with a military coup that threatened the expulsion of President Tayyip Erdogon. The military personnel who conducted the coup blocked the bridge over Istanbul’s main waterway and stormed Turkey’s national broadcasting station,TRT, holding a journalist at gunpoint and forcing her to broadcast news that a coup was taking place. Following the broadcast, President Tayipp Erdogon, speaking from an undisclosed location, urged citizens to venture into the streets and protest against the coup, stating that there is no power stronger than the will of the people.
The coup was met with mass stand-offs throughout Istanbul where residents physically barred armoured vehicles from continuing the coup. After hours of protests against the coup, military personal conducting the coup were seen exiting their vehicles and with arms in the air surrendered to the increasing calls of citizens to end the coup.
As a result of the coup, at least 160 individuals were killed.
Speaking to VOC, Turkey national Atilla Dag explains that in the early hours of Friday night, an attempted coup took place by what he describes as a group of communist influenced military personal.
Dag says that the citizen’s ability to successfully end the coup reflected the political will of Turkish citizens and their sense of democracy.
While, the military personal captured bridges in the City and dropped three bombs on the Turkish parliament in Ankara, he confirmed that the situation early Saturday morning had calmed.
“In this day and time, anywhere in the world, this is definitely unacceptable. All Turkish citizens are against any anti-democratic, violent acts,” Dag stated.
How did it unravel?
Dag explains that in light of extensive military presence blocking the bridge that connects Europe to Asia, residents initially believed the coup to be the result of terror attack alert.
“After hours, people realized that it was a military coup. The prime minister then made the first declaration, followed by a second declaration by the president who invited citizens to take to the streets and protest against the undemocratic attacks,” he continued.
While there is no indication about the number of soldiers who partook in the coup, Dan confirmed that two army generals and 25 colonels were arrested.
He says that many soldiers who joined the coup are reported to have been killed.
Dag further noted that the Chief of the army was captured by those involved in the coup, but was later released.
Are Turks satisfied with the outcome?
Dag says that approximately 80 per cent of Turkey’s citizens have expressed their elation at the end of the coup attempt.
“Maybe 20 per cent are unhappy due to the government’s anti-democratic acts in the last two or three years. But, there’s no reason to conduct a coup. Yes, maybe 50 per cent of people do not support Erdogon, but it does not mean that people will be on the side of the military coup. ”
In light of turkey’s history, having experienced four military coups, he says that turkey citizens suffered greatly under the coups and will, therefore, not support a coup.
Dag says that unlike previous military coups, where citizens would not venture into the streets in protest against the coups, citizens today have become much more accepting of a democratic model of operation.
Dag further notes that reports that assert that the coup was called for by Muhammed Fethullah Gülen and his followers are untrue.
He says that in the first moments of the coup, the Gulen made a declaration that any form of anti-democratic movement cannot be accepted.
“If you look at the 40-year history of Gulen and his movement, he will always be against any type of anti-democratic action and particularly military coups,” Dag continued.
At the time of publication, TRT journalist, Mishka Darries confirmed to VOC that 1500 military offices have been arrested and have been charged with terrorism.
She said that Prime Minister Binali Yildirim formally congratulated citizens for what he described as “the best answer to the military coup.”
While the streets remain quiet, Darries confirmed that president Erdogon has urged citizens to remain in the streets as the coup may not have ended.
“We have had some calls from the mosque, with the takbir and the athan, calling people to come out into the streets,” she added.
VOC Thakira Desai