Turkey: after the 'coup' attempt

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Turkey: after the ‘coup’ attempt

Turkey’s president uses the attempted coup to remove people who are against him. Chris Brazier reports.

‘coup’ = taking power from a government suddenly, violently, and illegally


Turkish military near the Taksim Square. People wave Turkish flags in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July 2016. © REUTERS/Murad Sezer

A lot is happening in Turkey, after the failed coup attempt and the government’s reactions to this. Turkish flags are everywhere – on public buildings, windows of cars and on sale at almost every street corner. You can feel the nationalism.

President Erdoğan’s first response to the attempted coup was to say people must defend ‘democracy’ against the rebel soldiers. He is still asking them to support his government by demonstrating on the streets. He is proud that so many people have done this. It helped stop the military coup.

But most of the time in Istanbul now, there is less action, but more news teams from other countries looking for action. In Taksim Square, the main place in Istanbul for protest, there are more media teams with satellite dishes on their cars than demonstrators. A Czech journalist interviewed me today. He asked why I was walking around the city, not staying in my hotel room as the British Foreign Office advised. I could have said I was out for the free public transport – the government made it free because the coup failed.


People outside Ataturk international airport during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

People on the streets are mostly calm and positive. This shows that people want to continue normal life as soon as possible. They don’t want to return to the bad old days of military coups and repression. Last night there were more parties and speeches until very late and today public transport is again free.

You can see that something is different because every TV screen seems to only show the face of Erdoğan: going to funerals, talking to crowds, talking about people power. As we watched one of the screens, a local person said that Erdoğan did not have enough support before to change the constitution and increase the powers of the presidency, but now he has more support; and if he had an election now, far more people would vote for him and he would be able to make these changes.


People on a Turkish army tank at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Erdoğan was worried for a few hours on Friday night. But now he has benefited from the situation. Almost 9,000 police officers and 30 regional governors have lost their jobs since Friday. 7,500 people have been arrested, and they plan to arrest 2,700 judges. Can we believe that all these people were actively involved or supported the coup? Or is it more likely that the Erdoğan government is removing ‘problem people’ at every level of society?

Today (20/7/16) 20 news websites that are critical of the government have already been shut down. Was this the democracy that ordinary Turkish people defended on Friday night and have been celebrating since then? Or does it show a future of far more control?

More photos:


Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan with a national flag in Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir


Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on an old tank at a demonstration outside parliament in Ankara, Turkey, 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal


People hide near a bridge during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Yagiz Karahan


People attacked this soldier, then the police protected him, after the military, involved in the coup, surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: https://newint.org/features/web-exclusive/2016/07/20/turkey-in-turmoil/

(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have changed).