Attempted military coup in Turkey

Turkish soldiers block Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge.

Ongoing updates and discussion on the attempted military coup in Turkey with contributions from working-class radicals on the ground.

A group of the Turkish Military "rebelled" (according to the PM) against the government as of July 15th, about 10PM. It is not clear if it succeeded or not yet. I will update as I learn more.

Posted By

mikail firtinaci
Jul 15 2016 20:11

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MT
Jul 15 2016 21:42

aljazeera had a broadcast with a spokesman of the government who seemed to look panic-struck. can anyone confirm?

Entdinglichung
Jul 15 2016 21:48

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-europe-36811357

Quote:
A European Union source tells the Reuters news agency: "It looks like a relatively well orchestrated coup by a substantial body of the military, not just a few colonels." "They control several strategic points in Istanbul. Given the scale of the operation, it is difficult to imagine they will stop short of prevailing," the source adds.

mikail firtinaci
Jul 15 2016 21:48
Quote:
ah - not arrested then

Nope. This is the silliest military coup in the history of the Republic. And considering that the Turkish military has a long history of coups, for a body specialized in overthrowing governments, this coup seems to be the weakest ever in its history. Most important of all, the military failed to capture Erdogan and the government leaders. As long as Erdogan evades capture it is unlikely that the situation can stabilize.

Entdinglichung
Jul 15 2016 21:59

according to Kurdische Nachrichten - Nûçe - News: helicopters attack TRT (state TV) building in Ankara and clashes on Taksim square in Istanbul

petey
Jul 15 2016 21:58
Entdinglichung
Jul 15 2016 22:11

Erdogan on the way to Germany to claim asylum there?

http://www.focus.de/politik/ausland/putschversuch-in-der-tuerkei-bericht... (in German)

mikail firtinaci
Jul 15 2016 22:13

just gossip. At the moment he can't leave the country

Entdinglichung
Jul 15 2016 22:34

military opened fire on civilians in Istanbul (source: Kurdische Nachrichten - Nûçe - News)

Entdinglichung
Jul 15 2016 22:35

http://www.anfenglish.com/news/huge-explosion-near-the-general-staff-off...

Quote:
On the other hand, tanks deployed at Atatürk Boulevard opened fire on groups gathering in the area. The results of the shooting couldn't be verified amid reports of injuries.

petey
Jul 15 2016 22:52
Devrim
Jul 15 2016 22:56

The government may well tweet, but Twitter is down.
Devrim

petey
Jul 15 2016 23:01

that's from the D.C. press office

Devrim
Jul 15 2016 23:08

17 policemen killed in a small Ankara town.
Devrim

Craftwork
Jul 15 2016 23:42

You should be able to access Twitter/facebook/whatever using Tor (if you don't already use it).

https://www.torproject.org/

RebelRising
Jul 16 2016 00:32

Gov't is saying the coup already failed...

I'm still not clear on where the senior command was during all this; people were speculating early on that they had been detained. Can anybody clarify?

jesuithitsquad
Jul 16 2016 04:52

Glad to hear comrades are safe. I imagine the days to come will be far more brutal as Erodgan consolidates power. He's already called the attempt "a gift from god," so I can only imagine what the repression will look like moving forward. Stay safe.

jesuithitsquad
Jul 16 2016 05:40
mikail firtinaci wrote:
Quote:
ah - not arrested then

Nope. This is the silliest military coup in the history of the Republic. And considering that the Turkish military has a long history of coups, for a body specialized in overthrowing governments, this coup seems to be the weakest ever in its history. Most important of all, the military failed to capture Erdogan and the government leaders. As long as Erdogan evades capture it is unlikely that the situation can stabilize.

So, question for Turkish comrades and others--

Really early on in the process there was a lot of speculation on social media that the coup was a farce, orchestrated to use as a pretext for passing constitutional reform. I didn't think much of it at the time, but it looks like subsequent events have given the idea legs amonst some well known US Foreign Policy wonks. As I'm writing, the speculation has now spread to the CNN coverage.

I wonder what those on the ground and others with knowledge of Turkish domestic politics think of the idea.

ETA: CNN reporting that 5 Generals and 29 Colonels have been arrested, along with some 700-odd others

Entdinglichung
Jul 16 2016 07:39

http://www.anfenglish.com/news/at-least-90-killed-1-154-injured-and-1-56...

Quote:
As many as 90 people died, 1,154 were injured and 1,374 soldiers were detained during incidents ongoing in Turkey since last night.

Mersin Garrison Commander and Mediterranean Regional Commander Rear Admiral Nejat Atilla Demirhan, Military Operations Chief of Staff Brigadier General Ekrem Çağlar and 39th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Hasan Polat are among the top military officials taken into custody.

Gulai Polye
Jul 16 2016 09:25

Its funny how Erdogan says there will be no democracy, then later when the military tries to get rid of him the people goes to the street and support him ... uugh

jef costello
Jul 16 2016 09:36
RebelRising wrote:
Gov't is saying the coup already failed...

I'm still not clear on where the senior command was during all this; people were speculating early on that they had been detained. Can anybody clarify?

If it was a real coup that they hadn't organised then they were probably sitting tight waiting to see what happened.
My memory could be playing tricks on me but I remember when I was in Turkey someone telling me that coups were less likely as there had been a distinct effort to put in religious officers and thatthe command could not be certain that its men would follow orders in a coup. And the army has been purged at least once since then. Erdogan will certainly be happy if he has a chance to secure his power over the army as I think it's one of the few institutions left that could challenge him. Either way, it's not good for turkish people.

mikail firtinaci
Jul 16 2016 10:34

Update:

- So far the coup attempt seems to be averted. It was organized by low ranking officers. However, several generals are still hiding or kept under arrest by the junta rebels. So, the outcome is not certain yet.

- Throughout the night, imams called for jihad from the mosques. Several thousands of pro-AKP people and islamists are gathered and confronted the soldiers. Many soldiers yielded to these mobs and after that the police forces entered the scene, and seized the rebels.

- The rebel junta first seized central Ankara, Kizilay. All the military headquarters of the army and navy general staff, the parliament building and ministerial buildings are in Kizilay. In Istanbul the rebel junta occupied the Bosphorus bridge and the ataturk airport - the main airport in Istanbul. By the early hours in the morning pro-government mobs and the police gained control in all these places. However, the situation in the military barracks are still uncertain.

-In some cases the mobs massacred the soldiers. In Turkey military service is mandatory and except the rich, everyone has to serve either after graduating from high school or university. Naturally many GIs did not have a clue about what they were involved in and just following orders.

- The government is blaming Fettullah Gulen, who is the leader of an islamist sect and who is in exile in the US. When AKP came to power in 2002, Gulenist sects were considered as an ally of the AKP. They were granted many privileges and several posts in the police were reserved for the Gulenists. However, Gulenist sects were especially hated by the army elites who were mostly secular Kemalists. After 2013 Gulen and AKP government had a falling out and the government liquidated all the Gulenists from the bureaucracy. -- UPDATE-- As things get clearer it seems that many Gulenists officers were leading the junta. I was initially confused because the junta manifesto was worded in a secular and Kemalist tone. However, there is still uncertainty. What is clear is that the solidity of military discipline and respect for military hierarchy in the Turkish Army is questionable at least.

- The coup only had a chance if they could seize Erdogan and the government cabinet members. It is strange that they failed to do that and that is the reason behind all the conspiracy talk about a government organized concerted coup. I think that the junta had to play its hand early and prematurely because in August, about two weeks from now, the High Military Council was scheduled to gather. HMC decrees the high level military appointments and it is headed by the head of state, in this case Erdogan. Traditionally HMC is known to systematically liquidate those officers who are suspected of disloyalty to the regime by forcing them to retirement. One way or another the junta faction might have feared a mass liquidation and hence the coup. This is the most likely explanation for this sudden coup and its failure.

- The pendulum will likely to swing to the other pole now. This stupid coup attempt boosted the moral of the Erdogan regime by giving it a "democratic" legitimacy in the face of a military attack, a legitimacy which it was losing since the Gezi revolt. If the coup is averted as the government declared, I expect more social repression and and the curtailing of political rights will be the outcome. Islamists will become bolder and there is a huge likelihood of pogroms against leftists, seculars and alevi minorities.

- This coup shows clearly that the Turkish state is deeply fragmented. The members of the bureaucracy and officer corps are not loyal to a constitutional republican ideal based on bourgeois civil rights and citizenship. In the distribution of official positions meritocratic criteria do not apply any more. State allegiances are divided between religious sects and personalities. That is no joke. Sooner or later this state may collapse. This can be both and advantage and a disadvantage for the proletarians. This situation intensifies the danger of a sectarian civil war akin to the Ukraininan, Libyan or Syrian civil war. On the other hand it can also weaken the ideological legitimacy of the state if the working class finally goes on to offense. Since the latter case does not seem to be on the horizon yet, things can only get worse in the short run.

- Obviously, neither the military junta nor the islamist regime represents the interests of the working class. Whichever side prevails, they will make sure that the proletariat pays. What is clear is that Turkish state is in shambles and further chaos will likely ensue. As a NATO country this is a huge threat for the region and the world. If Turkey falls into a civil war, or turns into an Islamist dictatorship, or falls into the hands of a semi-fascist Kemalist Junta, the political and social chaos we are witnessing in the Middle East will spread even further and deepen. Whatever the outcome will be world proletariat will face even more chaos. Comrades all over the world must see the severity of this danger. All anarchist and marxist communists should realize the huge responsibility they carry on their shoulders.

Entdinglichung
Jul 16 2016 10:58

from Kerem Schamberger's Facebook page (in German):

- many of the officers arrested were previously involved in counterinsurgency measures in Kurdistan

- eight high-ranking officers have fled to Greece in an helicopter, they got arrested there and have claimed asylum

- Erdogan has called the coup a "gift from god"

Entdinglichung
Jul 16 2016 11:00

not completely over: https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/jul/15/turkey-coup-attempt-m...

Quote:
Anti-government group take over frigate, according to Greek military

Reuters is reporting that an anti-Government group has taken over a frigate and taken the head of the Turkish fleet hostage at Turkey’s Golcuk naval base.

jesuithitsquad
Jul 16 2016 11:05

Thanks for the update and analysis mikail. US media reported that due to prior purge, in the officer corps only the colonels and brigadier generals (1 star) have questionable loyalties. Officers the rank of major and below have come up under the new officer rules and are presumed loyal, while upper level generals only retain their positions because they are overtly Erdogan-men. The preliminary reports indicate this to be backed by events on the ground, as it appears to be a colonel's coup, both demographically (in terms of those arrested) as well as in it's limited execution.

As you said above, the coup seems to have failed on two fronts, both strategically and in that it has helped transform an autocrat into a guardian of democracy (an actual phrase used by more than one foreign policy pundit in describing Erdogan last night--guardian and defender, don't ya know!).

one interesting claim is that those in the streets fighting the coup included supporters of the opposition parties. This information is being presented as evidence of a 'sea change' moment in that even those who disagree with Erdogan now reject the military's role as an arbiter--of sorts--in domestic affairs. Do these claims jive with your experience?

jesuithitsquad
Jul 16 2016 11:08
Entdinglichung wrote:

- eight high-ranking officers have fled to Greece in an helicopter, they got arrested there and have claimed asylum

Also, this is why the remnants of lower ranking officers will likley fight to the death. Those without resources for an escape plan know what their fate will be if captured, so why not fight on?

mikail firtinaci
Jul 16 2016 11:30

jesuithitsquat;

Very accurate summary on the situation of the army, thanks!

The pro-government mobs -probably only a couple of thousands in all- were mostly paramilitary islamists and greywolf fascists. I asked many friends and saw several videos; you could tell they were islamo-fascists from the islamist slogans they shouted. Of course I expect some working class AKP supporters were also on the streets. However, the majority was lumpen it is clear.

Today or tomorrow there may be big mass demonstrations, but make no mistake all of these will be organized by the government. Most people watched and waited.

About the rebel officers; already hundreds of them are arrested. They must by now know that their chances of success is very low. The main problem is the rebel officers can not trust the loyalty of their troops. Many soldiers occupying the symbolic locations surrendered without a fight just in a couple of hours and that was a huge moral boost to the government, giving the impression that the country was actively behind the government.

mikail firtinaci
Jul 16 2016 11:39

In this picture fascists are beating surrendered rank-and-file soldiers who were occupying the the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul. Police is merely watching:

In this video an islamist with a gun is aiding the police in an attack on a military building in Ankara:

At the end of the video he is saying: "pro-Fettulah and secular dogs are trying to fight the state. Our police asked for help and we came to their aid. Pray Insallah. Selamun Aleykum"

noslavery
Jul 16 2016 11:44

Consider possibility of a fake coup.

Wayne
Jul 16 2016 12:46

Thank you to Mikhail and others. This thread has helped me make some sense of these serious events, which I didn't get from mainstream sources.

jef costello
Jul 16 2016 12:47

"How defiant Turks chased coup plotters from Bosphorous Bridge"
"For Turkey's sake Erdogan must resist desire for revenge"
Assuming he cares enough to read The Guardian he must be laughing his head off.