What happened in Turkey that led to a coup attempt?
Lots of people were killed, and even more were wounded, during the recent coup attempt in Turkey. The coup was started by the Turkish military and ended by the civilian population of Turkey itself shortly after the attempt. This is a short and concise article to bring you the How, Who, What, When, and Why of this brief but deadly powerplay.
How did a coup attempt happen? Tanks and jets used by the Turkish military battered both civilians and structures. It was reported that tanks operated by the military also brutally ran over civilians in their path. As of one week ago, 265 people were reported to have been killed. What is a coup? A coup is defined as an illegal attempt to overthrow those in power by force. It term “coup” comes from the French term “coup d’etat,” which translates as “blow of state.”
Who wanted this coup to happen in the first place? It would take several senior members of the Turkish military to have carried out such an attempt on an entire country, big or small. Since the Turkish Army and Airforce were involved, this particular coup attempt suggests extreme coordination and advanced planning in order to pull it off. It’s also been heavily speculated that the coup was inspired by Fethullah Gulen, who is a cleric living in exile in the United States. Gulen also happens to be the nemesis of Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
What was the purpose of the coup attempt? Power plus control. Pure and simple. Whether based on economics or religion or oppression, power is the ultimate goal of any coup.
When did this occur? Has this happened before? This latest coup attempt occurred on July 15, 2016. This certainly isn’t the first, nor will it probably be the last coup attempt in Turkey. The country’s military has intervened in the country’s political system several times. There was an Ottoman coup d’etat in 1913 followed by a coup in 1960 and military memorandum in 1971. There was another military coup in 1980 and an alleged military coup in 1993. There was also a military memorandum in 1997.
Why did the Turkish Military do this? Why kill innocent people from their own country? This is primarily a political situation but it’s also rooted in religion. In the United States, at least for the most part, it is the courts that step in when legislative and executive decisions seem to overstep each other. In Turkey, it is the military that regularly steps in. This has happened a few times before in Turkey’s history. This most recent attempt had to do with a concern over President Erdogan’s desire to increase the powers of his executive office. Although Turkey is a secular nation, steps have been taken to move more towards Islam and enforcing Islamic values over Turkey’s more secular values.
Only the civilian population was able to stop the takeover by flooding the streets, shaming the military, even pulling soldiers from their tanks. The people won this time, but it could have been catastrophic. In the end, Turkey’s military was purged, thousands of people were jailed, and the current government lived to see another day. What happens in the future is really up to Turkey’s people.