How Turks answer the ‘who dunnit’ question depends a lot on their political views.

Barın Kayaoğlu

(From The National Interest)

Turkey on the night of on 15-16 July looked a lot like the opening scene of the 2013 blockbuster Man of Steel. Dissatisfied elements of the military staged a coup against a political elite they saw as out of touch with reality and worse, treasonous. Although the Turkish junta failed just like its Kryptonian counterpart, as Paul Pillar wrote on The National Interest on 16 July, democracy “sort of” survived in the critical NATO ally. And the worst may yet to come for Turkey and its most important global partner, the United States.

Turkey victory rally after failed coup
Thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flooded the
main streets and squares of Istanbul and Ankara to celebrate the victory of democracy after the failed coup

What happened?

Around 9 p.m. local time, reports began to surface on social media that military units were establishing road-blocks in Istanbul and Ankara while Super Cobra helicopters and F-16 fighter planes conducted low-altitude flights over Turkey’s two largest cities.

In Istanbul, soldiers reportedly blocked the two bridges straddling the Istanbul Strait (Bosphorus) with tanks while armored units moved in to Atatürk International Airport. In the capital Ankara, tanks positioned themselves at critical intersections and several helicopter gunships began patrolling the sky. Clashes took place between junta forces and military and police units loyal to the government.

Around 11:15 p.m., Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım set up phone calls with television channels and confirmed an ongoing “coup attempt.” Soon after that, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was on vacation at the Aegean town of Marmaris, connected with media outlets via FaceTime and called upon citizens to march against the junta. Crowds soon followed suit. Around that time, an anchorwoman read the junta’s statement on state television, TRT. Curiously, the junta could not air its statement on other TV channels.

Meanwhile, civilians flooded the streets amidst gruesome images. Between 2 a.m and 4 a.m. TV channels showed the armored units blocking Bosphorus Bridge firing at civilians who had heeded Erdoğan’s call. In Ankara, helicopters fired at crowds who had gathered near the new presidential palace and the national assembly even as members of parliament were holed up inside. Read more

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