"It's a coup, go home."
July 15, 2016 2:15 PM   Subscribe

An attempted military coup is underway in Turkey. According to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, "Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command." The Turkish military claims they have taken over the government, "in the name of democratic order, adding that all existing foreign relations will continue and human rights will remain."

Presidential sources tell the Guardian: “This is an attack against Turkish democracy. A group within the armed forces has made an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government outside the chain of command.

One soldier was recorded telling people in Istanbul, "it's a coup, go home."
posted by Drinky Die (406 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
This...is really unsettling. I've been following it for about the last 90 minutes, and it's just a scrolling litany of "there is a coup," "there is no coup," "there was a coup, and the military is in charge," "there was a coup, and it has failed." It's like reading alternate history by just refreshing news feeds....

I don't think I like the 21st C anymore.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:19 PM on July 15, 2016 [31 favorites]


I've been watching this on Twitter unfold and finally hit the world news. Pretty crazy what videos can live with or without official sanction. It's hard to imagine that we live in a world where we can hear about these things prior to it actually being reported on in the official news channels.

My thoughts are with the Turkish people though. I've a number of friends there and hope nothing for the best.
posted by Carillon at 2:19 PM on July 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


The Telegraph also has an active livestream.
posted by clawsoon at 2:21 PM on July 15, 2016


Sometimes there aren't good answers. It's true that this coup is an attack against Turkish democracy. But Erdogan was also attacking Turkish democracy. I guess what it comes down to is that unless a majority of your population is committed to true democracy you're in trouble regardless of whether you maintain the trappings or not.
posted by Justinian at 2:21 PM on July 15, 2016 [22 favorites]


shiiiiiiiiiiit
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:23 PM on July 15, 2016


I'm... cautiously optimistic? It's really weird thinking that, given that it's clearly a Very Bad Thing for a government to collapse, but if anybody has a semi-okay record with military coups, it's the Turkish military.

Real question is if Erdogan is still in power, and whether, if he survives this, he's going to use it as an excuse to crack down even harder. One way or the other, this is an inflection point, and potentially a catastrophe.
posted by fifthrider at 2:23 PM on July 15, 2016 [27 favorites]


If they win (Gulenists I hear, but it isn't certain), they will have overthrown a strongman but with strong popular support, If Erdogan survives he'll almost certainly launch a vicious attack against all opposition to him.

This is a lose-lose situation, as far as democracy is concerned AFAIS. And it has the potential to further destabilize an already insanely destabilized region... I really, really, really hope it turns out all right for our eastern neighbours here
posted by talos at 2:25 PM on July 15, 2016 [28 favorites]


Yeah, I feel like the worst turnout here is "there's a coup, but it failed." Nothing in this world is better with a more strongly entrenched Erdogan.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:25 PM on July 15, 2016 [19 favorites]


Can Jan Böhmermann take any credit for having precipitated this?

What will this mean for the scores of refugees from neighboring Syria?

Come to think of it, was the recent, unexpected hinting at normalization of relations with Syria perhaps the straw that broke the kemal's back?
posted by progosk at 2:27 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Note that Israel and Turkey were supposed to officially reconcile and normalize their relations, what, next week? I don't know what the Turkish military's position on that is. Were they in favor?
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The BBC has a live feed as well. Honestly, though, the Turkish military has traditionally had reformist credentials, at least as far as Kemalist principles go. One of Erdogan's early moves to consolidate his religiously inflected brand of demagogic authoritarianism was to purge the military, precisely to prevent this sort of thing.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:27 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


They're saying on MSNBC the president of Turkey is on a plane, flying around looking for some country to grant him landing rights. Didn't this happen on West Wing?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:28 PM on July 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


If Erdogan survives

Not sure if you meant literally or politically, but Erdogan is out of the country on vacation.
posted by saturday_morning at 2:29 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Erdogan is FaceTiming his response via a TV station.
posted by greycap at 2:29 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


This year. It simultaneously feels like both 50 and 100 years ago, at the same time. I am not a fan.

At this point, I'm most concerned about what happens regarding Incirlik AFB, where we store 50-60 of our bigger fireworks in some poor conditions.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 2:30 PM on July 15, 2016 [10 favorites]


This hit markets just after 3:30; and it was bizarre to see the lack of news on anything other than Bloomberg terminals for a good 30-45mins. needless to say my day(in risk in finance... argh) just got waaaaaay the fuck longer.

2016 has been on notice for a while. and this week just seems more brutal than any we've had in a while.
posted by larthegreat at 2:30 PM on July 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


What a position to be in. Turkey is a member of NATO. How do NATO countries refuse asylum to the democratically elected leader of a fellow NATO member?
posted by Justinian at 2:31 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Erdogan was apparently vacationing in Bodrum, a picturesque, somewhat isolated town on the Aegean coast.
posted by Iridic at 2:31 PM on July 15, 2016


How do NATO countries refuse asylum to the democratically elected leader of a fellow NATO member?

very carefully
posted by Greg Nog at 2:32 PM on July 15, 2016 [33 favorites]


If I was an elected Turkish president, I would never ever take a vacation.
posted by clawsoon at 2:32 PM on July 15, 2016 [15 favorites]


well, Andrew Sullivan should be pleased
posted by indubitable at 2:32 PM on July 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


"Everything is fine and under control," Erdogan says over a phone held up to a camera by someone
posted by theodolite at 2:32 PM on July 15, 2016 [65 favorites]


Reminder:
Under NATO nuclear weapons sharing, the United States has provided nuclear weapons for Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey to deploy and store.[79] This involves pilots and other staff of the "non-nuclear" NATO states practicing, handling, and delivering the U.S. nuclear bombs, and adapting non-U.S. warplanes to deliver U.S. nuclear bombs. However, since all U.S. nuclear weapons are protected with Permissive Action Links, the host states cannot arm the bombs without authorization codes from the U.S. Department of Defense.[80]
posted by entropicamericana at 2:33 PM on July 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


Note that Israel and Turkey were supposed to officially reconcile and normalize their relations, what, next week? I don't know what the Turkish military's position on that is. Were they in favor?

Or their position on the also recent apology and reconciliation with Russia? I also don't know.
posted by Kabanos at 2:34 PM on July 15, 2016


I don't know what to make of what little info I could find on the Gulenists -- is that a sign of a coup against Erdogan from the more-secular side or the less-secular side? It seems like the former, but it's not clear that the Gulenists are of the Ataturk sort of lineage, philosophically.
posted by chimaera at 2:34 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well, this is just peachy.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:35 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that a very bad outcome, globally, would be a protracted civil war. Turkey is already a landing spot for many refugees. Having yet more people displaced from Turkey seems like it would be disastrous both for those people, but also in stoking already fiery nationalistic tendencies in Europe.

Put another way, to crib a tweet, I agree that it feels like we're in the chapter of a future World History book that begins with "The following conditions lead to..."
posted by codacorolla at 2:36 PM on July 15, 2016 [42 favorites]


Watching this closely. Not just because I was planning to be in Istanbul for a few days in October.
posted by Night_owl at 2:38 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here in the hills of Zekeriyakoy (edge of Istanbul) there is really no action other than flurries of text messages and the occasional sound of jets flying about in the distance. We have Turks telling us no big deal, kind of expected and who knows what is going on, lets wait until the morning. Actually seems that the outside world is making more of a deal of this than plenty of people in Turkey.
posted by Megami at 2:38 PM on July 15, 2016 [47 favorites]


Someone needs to quickly whip up a meme putting Erdogan into that burning room with the dog saying "This is fine." Via FaceTime.
posted by chavenet at 2:38 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


And all the reports I am seeing is that Erdogan was on holidays in Bodrum, which is in Turkey.
posted by Megami at 2:39 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


saturday_morning: I meant politically
I don't understand turkish, but on a semantics level, if the video of Erdogan over a phone held up to a camera by someone, meant to seem diffident, it sort of had the effect of displaying severe weakness
posted by talos at 2:39 PM on July 15, 2016


The coup leaders say that all of Turkey's existing foreign relations would be maintained, for whatever that's worth given the situation.
posted by clawsoon at 2:39 PM on July 15, 2016




Turkish friends in Istanbul are whatsapping right now and saying they are not sure it's a real coup. They suspect Erdogan of staging a fake coup in order to seize more power. They cite the recent killings of Kurds as proof of his ability to kill his own people in order to advance himself.
posted by stevedawg at 2:39 PM on July 15, 2016 [21 favorites]


Not that I've ever any desire to actually live through a coup, but I'm always curious how the actual mechanisms work, what's the decider for who is actually in control?
posted by Carillon at 2:40 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


what's the decider for who is actually in control?

Who has the most guns in the important places.
posted by Justinian at 2:41 PM on July 15, 2016 [22 favorites]


I was wondering about that, Megami. I don't really have any idea if this is something that has a sense of, like, action and immediacy from within the country or if it's more of a "well, some governmental shit is happening" sort of thing. Sounds like the latter for at least some folks, then.
posted by cortex at 2:42 PM on July 15, 2016


Someone needs to quickly whip up a meme putting Erdogan into that burning room with the dog saying "This is fine." Via FaceTime.

Not quite, but there's this.
This is the world we live in now.
posted by Kabanos at 2:42 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Who has the most guns in the important places.
Yeah, no. Erdogan has a huge amount of support here and has called for 'the people' to get out on the streets. And they probably will. And that means a lot.
posted by Megami at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


They suspect Erdogan of staging a fake coup in order to seize more power.

Now there's a truly nightmarish thought. Then again, if he was planning this, you'd think he'd try to keep the bully pulpit rather than using FaceTime, right?
posted by fifthrider at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Erdogan called on people to take to the streets.

Given that it's him, I'd call it a desperation move.
posted by ocschwar at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't really have any idea if this is something that has a sense of, like, action and immediacy from within the country or if it's more of a "well, some governmental shit is happening" sort of thing.

Erdoğan is asking his supporters to take to the streets, so that may change pretty quickly.
posted by effbot at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2016


from the BBC feed:
17:35 - 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.
posted by Artful Codger at 2:44 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Live TV feed 1 or 2. It's in Turkish but the video is interesting.
posted by msbutah at 2:44 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


The scariest part to me right now is that both sides are saying the other is out of power.
posted by Carillon at 2:45 PM on July 15, 2016


If it is the Gulenists, are they more secular, or more theocratic than the Erdogan government?
posted by chimaera at 2:46 PM on July 15, 2016


Then again, if he was planning this, you'd think he'd try to keep the bully pulpit rather than using FaceTime, right?

Maybe they blocked Twitter by mistake?
posted by effbot at 2:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


The scariest part to me right now is that both sides are saying the other is out of power.

It's a coup. That's what happens.
posted by Megami at 2:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [16 favorites]


Erdogan called on people to take to the streets.

A lot of you are probably wondering how you can help. Well, don't be afraid to go up to those guys with guns and tanks and tell them "I think Erdogan is Number One! And a handsome guy, to boot!" Anyway I'll be there to join you just as soon as my vacation's over
posted by Greg Nog at 2:47 PM on July 15, 2016 [34 favorites]


"Turkey coup presents dilemma to US, Europe govts: do you support non-democratic coup vs increasingly non-democratic authoritarian leader?" Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations (on Twitter).
posted by AwkwardPause at 2:47 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


chimaera: "I don't know what to make of what little info I could find on the Gulenists -- is that a sign of a coup against Erdogan from the more-secular side or the less-secular side? It seems like the former, but it's not clear that the Gulenists are of the Ataturk sort of lineage, philosophically."

This is the second biggest question, right after "will the coup succeed?" Is this something engineered by the Gulenists, or is it a purely secular movement in the military? We'll have to wait and see.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:48 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think I like the 21st C anymore.

It gets better.
posted by petebest at 2:50 PM on July 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


My impression is that the Erdoğanists would say it's the Gulenists, who are their Emmanuel Goldstein, even if it's remaining Atatürkian secularists or others.
posted by acb at 2:51 PM on July 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


Martin Chulov (the Guardian's Middle East correspondent): "Dilemma for foreign militaries based in southern #Turkey for Isis fight. If they stay they'll be seen as endorsing coup"
posted by effbot at 2:51 PM on July 15, 2016


Btw, unconfirmed reports (apparently from a US military source via NBC) that Erdoğan is seeking asylum in Germany.
posted by acb at 2:52 PM on July 15, 2016


And the Gulenists are something to do with charter schools?

2016, man.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


"Turkey coup presents dilemma to US, Europe govts: do you support non-democratic coup vs increasingly non-democratic authoritarian leader?" Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations (on Twitter).

This is basically it. Erdogan has more and more been showing signs of becoming a little proto-dictator and the EU already has one of those.
posted by Talez at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, no. Erdogan has a huge amount of support here and has called for 'the people' to get out on the streets. And they probably will. And that means a lot.

Facebook video from 15 min ago.
posted by Kabanos at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


And Twitter suddenly buzzing with reports that the chief of staff of the army (taken hostage) has been killed.
posted by greycap at 2:54 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


A couple of days ago there were reports that the Turkish government was contemplating the restoration of normal relations with the Syrian government. This would have been a major policy shift and a blow to the Syrian opposition. I can't work out whether this would have influenced today's events in any way.
posted by daveje at 2:55 PM on July 15, 2016


Btw, unconfirmed reports (apparently from a US military source via NBC) that Erdoğan is seeking asylum in Germany.

I haven't seen this anywhere except for non-NBC sources. If anyone sees this confirmed/repeated on NBC please link.
posted by Kabanos at 2:56 PM on July 15, 2016


Fuck this year.
posted by humanfont at 2:56 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


[W]hat's the decider for who is actually in control?
Power resides where men believe it resides.
posted by Hatashran at 2:57 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


A couple of days ago there were reports that the Turkish government was contemplating the restoration of normal relations with the Syrian government. This would have been a major policy shift and a blow to the Syrian opposition.

Well Russia is going to be pissed.

/advances hand on big clock.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


@ahmetasabanci on Twitter: 'Gulenists' were old buddies of AKP and Erdoğan. They are enemies since December 17/21 corruption scandal.

So this might turn out to be a case of meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Factional-type coup rather than being a fight over how theocratic Turkey is becoming...?
posted by chimaera at 2:58 PM on July 15, 2016


Half the friends say it's too big to be staged. And half of them think it's entirely feasible and are also asking how Erdogan would get on TV were it not.
Whichever it turns out to be, pretty crazy to live in a country where it's believeable that the government would do this. No one ruling it out. I hope for their sake it's a real coup which is also a wild sentence to have typed.
posted by stevedawg at 2:58 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Welp. Boris Johnson's having a hell of a first week on the job.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:58 PM on July 15, 2016 [17 favorites]




Hey! We might have one of those.
posted by bongo_x at 3:01 PM on July 15, 2016


Well the opposition parties have come out against the coup, so they are not getting political support.
posted by Megami at 3:01 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Welp. Boris Johnson's having a hell of a first week on the job.

His great-granddad
was actually a Turkish (Ottoman) politician of a democratic and Anglophile bent who was killed during the Turkish War of Independence by pro-Atatürk forces.
posted by dhens at 3:01 PM on July 15, 2016 [15 favorites]


No good answers exist.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 3:03 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Turkey LiveMap
posted by Kabanos at 3:03 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Al Jazeera English has analysis and pretty good footage. According to one of their reporters in the Anatolian city of Gaziantep, lots of people are rushing out on the streets to protest the coup.
posted by Kattullus at 3:03 PM on July 15, 2016


John H Norris ‏@john_h_norris 17 minutes ago
If Erdogan is seeking asylum in Germany shouldn't he be returned to Turkey as part of EU refugee deal?
posted by talos at 3:03 PM on July 15, 2016 [44 favorites]


Well the opposition parties have come out against the coup, so they are not getting political support.

Isn't making sure the opposition is going to say "fuck the dictator" is an integral part of a coup?
posted by Talez at 3:04 PM on July 15, 2016


Probably the best thing for Boris considering he called Erdogan a goat fucker.
posted by daveje at 3:05 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


When its a political party launching the coup. When its the military, the other political parties are naturally going to be skeptical. Since what the military does to one party they can easily do to the next...
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]




For those who want MOAR LIVE BLOG, the Bloomberg live blog seems pretty solid...

bloomberg terminal is pretty good about aggregating the top news wires around the globe, the live blog has most of the non finance, verified news related stuff that I'm seeing flash through.
posted by larthegreat at 3:06 PM on July 15, 2016


The only thing we can say for sure is that it is a real coup, stevedawg. It may succeed or fail, but somebody is really trying to take over the government.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:06 PM on July 15, 2016


30m ago: The Turkish state broadcaster TRT has now gone off air, say the Reuters news agency and sources in Turkey.
posted by petebest at 3:08 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


When its a political party launching the coup. When its the military, the other political parties are naturally going to be skeptical. Since what the military does to one party they can easily do to the next...

Not to mention the fact that opposition parties have themselves used the specter of a "coup" to attack Erdoğan for his anti-democratic policies, so it would be unseemly for them to (publically?) support a coup.
posted by dhens at 3:08 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


The HDP (Kurdish party + Leftists who have had a seriously hard time under Erdogan) has not made any statements yet that I've seen, certainly not on their twitter feed
posted by talos at 3:10 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


The reporting that I'm seeing on this is really shoddy. A coup is just what we call the effect of certain events. It's not like you file a coup application. So who's actually done what in Turkey? If you're just scrambling to report that you overheard "a coup happened", that's journalistic FOMO, not news.
posted by threeants at 3:10 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


The cartoonist Martin Rowson on Twitter:
8 years ago in Turkey judging International Cartoon Comp 1 of organisers, v clever secular professional woman told me the army were the defenders of Turkeys secularism &, by implication, what she thought stood between her & her being forced to wear a veil. I simply report this without judging, tho 3 yrs ago in Istanbul, & since in seeking to mobilise defence of Turkish cartoonists persecuted by Erdogan, I got very strong impression of people trying to resist a corrupt, clerical plutocracy. Again, just reporting, not judging
posted by Grangousier at 3:11 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


In 2010 Suzy Hansen wrote a long profile of the Gülen movement and its leader called A Guy Who Lives in Pennsylvania May Be Taking Down the Entire Turkish Government. Here's an excerpt:
The Gülen movement reminds people of everything from Opus Dei to Scientology to the Masons, Mormons, and Moonies. Mark Juergensmeyer, an expert on international religious movements, says that the Gülenists echo the Muhammadiyah of Indonesia, the Soka Gakkai of Japan, and various Indian guru - led or political-religious groups. I’ve seen Gülen referred to as the Turkish Billy Graham. “If you look at some of their educational work, they remind me of Quakers and missionaries who went off to Africa,” says Bill Park of King’s College, London, a scholar who has written about the group, “but if you go all the way to the other end, it is a political movement as well.”

Gülen’s views are moderate and modern. He is fiercely opposed to violence and enthusiastic about science. According to Gülen, “avoiding the physical sciences due to the fear that they will lead to heresy is childish.” He is emphatically not a radical Islamist. “The lesser jihad is our active fulfillment of Islam’s commands and duties,” he has written, and “the greater jihad is proclaiming war on our ego’s destructive and negative emotions and thoughts ... which prevent us from attaining perfection.” He has exhorted women to take off their headscarves, a ritual he considers “of secondary importance,” in order to attend university in compliance with Turkey’s secular laws. His followers run nonprofit organizations that promote peace, tolerance, and interfaith dialogue, and Gülenist businessmen devote their resources to building secular schools.
posted by Kattullus at 3:12 PM on July 15, 2016 [20 favorites]




More facebook video of crowds.
posted by Kabanos at 3:17 PM on July 15, 2016


Live Periscope feed
posted by Kabanos at 3:18 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


A coup is just what we call the effect of certain events. It's not like you file a coup application.

It would make things a lot easier to schedule, though....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:22 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Apparently the army is split. According to Al Jazeera, the general in charge of the army group based in Istanbul has spoken against the coup.
posted by Kattullus at 3:25 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not sure if it means anything, but the local mosque has a muezzin broadcasting at the moment. And it is not time for ezan (call to prayer) as far as I am aware. Does anyone have any idea?
posted by Megami at 3:25 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


They might be urging people to go out on the street and protest.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:27 PM on July 15, 2016


This looks like a half-ass coup, which is the most dangerous.
posted by Kabanos at 3:28 PM on July 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


A coup defeated by the "power of the people", false-flag or not, seems like it would be a big win (I'm tempted to use the colloquial "coup") for Erdogan.
posted by clawsoon at 3:30 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good luck to the people of Turkey....hopefully this is bloodless no matter which way it falls. It's not like we need even more instability and suffering in that region.

Also, is it wrong that my first thought was Boris Johnson on a zip line with a Union Jack flag zooming in to try and solve this
posted by inflatablekiwi at 3:31 PM on July 15, 2016


BBC showing live footage of one of the closed bridges and paying no attention whilst gossiping with talking heads about the issue. Very poor JPEG-gy stuff. Milling civilians, gunfire, whistling and people ducking down periodically. They need to cover what they're showing, ffs.
posted by comealongpole at 3:32 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


On Twitter:
"Yes, imams calling people to streets from loudspeakers at the mosque minarets. Euronews says Diyanet ordered imams to do so."
posted by Megami at 3:34 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kevin Street, I believe you are right. It seems like a 'legit' coup. And also, as everyone keeps reminding me, what his faults he has been elected 3 times
posted by stevedawg at 3:34 PM on July 15, 2016


I have two UK friends in Istanbul on the north bank of the Bosphorous. They've just arrived. Best advice from mefi's sagest? Obviously staying put right now makes the most sense, but make a break for the Greek border early in the morning? Not helped by possession of relatively expensive German sports car, I suspect.
posted by srednivashtar at 3:35 PM on July 15, 2016


When the tanks are vacated, it's a failed coup. The only hope would be for the coup makers to appeal to the people in a wide popular fashion...come day break. Watch the tanks and the jets swooping, if that stops along with massive helo presence, it's a failed coup.
posted by clavdivs at 3:37 PM on July 15, 2016


There's a Twitter report that Erdogan's palace is being bombed, which tends to indicate that this isn't a false-flag operation. They're also saying that the Chief of Staff of the Turkish military is dead. Obviously take all this with a grain of salt, since it really doesn't sound like anyone knows what's going on right now.
posted by Copronymus at 3:37 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Turkish driving is mental at the best of times, I wouldn't be chancing driving in Istanbul tomorrow. Just tell them to stay put, keep in touch with friends and check what their travel insurance has to say about changing arrangements.

And there are thousands and thousands of German sports cars here, it is not going to make them a target or something. It is not unusual.
posted by Megami at 3:37 PM on July 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm not going to tell people in the middle of a coup what to do, but I'll say that neither side in this thing has the tiniest bit of desire to harm tourists, particularly Western tourists. That doesn't mean accidents can't happen and things can't get out of control but this isn't an anti-Western coup like when the shah got overthrown.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on July 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


talos: The HDP (Kurdish party + Leftists who have had a seriously hard time under Erdogan) has not made any statements yet that I've seen, certainly not on their twitter feed

The HDP has come out against the coup.
posted by Kattullus at 3:40 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


srednivashtar, if they're safe right now they should just stay put and see what happens. There aren't aren't any reports of foreigners being threatened, so the safest thing is to stay off the road and wait.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:40 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


This FaceBook Live feed has been reliably up for the past hour or so.
posted by spinifex23 at 3:40 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


So let's say that it is a real coup, and the coup fails. What does Erdogan do with the coup leaders and participants? Is there any way they can back down without being executed, or are they in a fight where the only options are win or die?
posted by clawsoon at 3:41 PM on July 15, 2016


They're all dead men if they fail.
posted by adept256 at 3:43 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


The HDP has come out against the coup (by what I make of the automatic translation of their twitter feed) saying that there is no way ahead without the democratic process and they're against any sort of coup

After posting: as pointed out by Kattullus
posted by talos at 3:43 PM on July 15, 2016


So let's say that it is a real coup, and the coup fails. What does Erdogan do with the coup leaders and participants? Is there any way they can back down without being executed, or are they in a fight where the only options are win or die?

You drive your car to Germany as quick as you possibly can.
posted by Talez at 3:45 PM on July 15, 2016


I don't think I like the 21st C anymore.

Unplug and plug it back in.
posted by Fizz at 3:49 PM on July 15, 2016 [17 favorites]


or are they in a fight where the only options are win or die?

They get Ned Stark'd.
posted by Justinian at 3:51 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well shit, reports on NBC are that soldiers have opened fire on the protestors trying to cross the bridges over the Bosporus.
posted by Justinian at 3:52 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fuck.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on July 15, 2016


Shots being fired is never a good thing.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:58 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Looks like the coup is failing. Opposition groups are coming out against it. A few big generals are saying they don't back it. Protestors are defying the curfew and showing up in large numbers.
posted by humanfont at 3:59 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


That's what it looks like to me as well. This may have been the last gasp of the failing secular state.
posted by Justinian at 4:01 PM on July 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


What does Erdogan do with the coup leaders and participants? Is there any way they can back down without being executed, or are they in a fight where the only options are win or die?

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004. So whatever happens to them they won't be executed.
posted by greycap at 4:01 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Thanks everyone.
posted by jonathanbell at 4:02 PM on July 15, 2016


Of course not, they'll just "go missing" or have "fatal accidents" or whatever.
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:03 PM on July 15, 2016 [14 favorites]


Maybe the biggest mistake these coup plotters made is not immediately arresting all the politicians. That's apparently what happened in 1980 and 1960: the army rounded up the civilian government before even announcing anything. This time all the civilian authority figures are still free to incite resistance, and win over any army officers who aren't on board with the coup.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:04 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


A lot of Turks are going to get ''insulted'' in the next 24 hours, if not killed. There is massive will in Turkey that they have not fallen into the pit of turmoil, but it looks as if they have now. Who gains by this set of actions? Who set this in motion?
posted by Oyéah at 4:07 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


So this just came through as a text message on my mobile phone:
Türk Milletinin değerli evlatları.Bu hareket Ankarada ve İstanbulda devletin zırhlı araclarını ve silahlarını gasp etmiş dar bir kadronun , 70 li yıllardaki gibi davranarak millete karsı bir kalkışmasıdır. Şerefli Türk milleti demokrasine ve huzuruna sahip çık. Türk milletini sindireceğini düşünen bu dar kadronun hareketine karşı sizleri sokağa ve milletinize sahip çıkmaya çağırıyorum.
Devletine milletine sahip çık
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

(Google translate)
Turkish Nation in Ankara and Istanbul valuable evlatları.b movement of armored vehicles in the state and a narrow staff have usurped their arms, pretending to be an attempt against the nation in the 70 's. Honorable come with democracy and the presence of the Turkish nation. The first action against staff who will digest this narrow street and the Turkish nation, I urge you to go to your own nation.
come with state of the nation


Sorry, rubbish translation but my Turkish is not good enough to do on my own. I am guessing everyone with a mobile on a Turkish carrier got this.
posted by Megami at 4:07 PM on July 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Hey cool now Erdogan will return and consolidate even more people and remove any hint of dissent in the military or any branch of the government. This is so dumb and bad and shitty.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:15 PM on July 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


All my Turkish friends believe that this is a fake coup staged by Erdoğan to provide a pretext for him seizing more power. None of the news I've seen so far is inconsistent with this theory.
posted by klausness at 4:17 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


The State Department just announced that all parties should support the democratically elected leaders in Turkey. I doubt they'd have done that if they thought the coup was going to succeed.
posted by Justinian at 4:17 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Well Russia is going to be pissed.
/advances hand on big clock.


John Kerry just happens to be in Moscow.
posted by Emor at 4:17 PM on July 15, 2016


Gulen has just denied any ties to the coup. The US just backed Erdogan.
This is over
posted by talos at 4:19 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


All my Turkish friends believe that this is a fake coup staged by Erdoğan to provide a pretext for him seizing more power

A Reichstag fire, in other words?
posted by acb at 4:19 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Speaking of the 21st Century. If you go to the Facebook Live world map and zoom in on Turkey, you can see lots and lots of people streaming live from their phones. Most of them seem to be people on the streets. It's a very modern way of engaging with news events.
posted by Kattullus at 4:21 PM on July 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


Seventeen police officers killed in helicopter attack on Ankara special forces headquarters, according to state-run Anadolu news agency. 15mins ago Al Jazeera
posted by adamvasco at 4:26 PM on July 15, 2016


So it is nearly half past two in the morning here. From a completely personal point of view - I have just seen the value of the money in my Turkish bank account tank five days ahead of our family going on an extended holiday to see family overseas (that is if flights are back up and running), less than a month after my other bank account, in British Pounds, got hit. As I said, we are meant to be flying out on Wednesday but who the hell knows. And of course I have spent the past couple of hours sending emails to family and friends reassuring them we are all fine. As I have had to do multiple times this year from Istanbul.
Trust me, living in interesting times in interesting places is not all it is cracked up to be.

I can't go in to it, but if you are interested in why there are various factions of the military involved and some support Erdogan and some don't, look in to the Ergenekon Conspiracy and specifically how it affected the military.
posted by Megami at 4:28 PM on July 15, 2016 [37 favorites]


Reports that a government fighter jet has shot down a helicopter used by the coup plotters. If it's a fake coup, they're certainly adding some realistic touches.
posted by clawsoon at 4:29 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


If it's a fake coup, they're certainly adding some realistic touches.

Poe's Law in horrid, real life application, maybe? I'm not sure you could stage a fake coup without a significant number of your subordinates thinking it's real.
posted by fifthrider at 4:34 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


A Reichstag fire, in other words?

Exactly.
posted by klausness at 4:35 PM on July 15, 2016




Ergenekon
posted by adamvasco at 4:37 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Via Kattullus' fascinating link, a livestream of a crowd around a tank. Looks like men on the tank (looked to be civilians?) convincing the occupants to come out. Then another civilian on the tank waving a Turkish flag.
posted by Pink Frost at 4:37 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe the biggest mistake these coup plotters made is not immediately arresting all the politicians. That's apparently what happened in 1980 and 1960: the army rounded up the civilian government before even announcing anything.

Yup. So either the military have mysteriously forgotten how to do a coup properly (and didn't bother to check how it was done the last two times), or it's fake.
posted by klausness at 4:38 PM on July 15, 2016


Pink Frost, this is exactly what happened in Moscow in 1991. This is how a coup fails.
posted by staggering termagant at 4:39 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's not a fake, people died today. But it looks like the coup has already essentially "failed," in the sense that it has been disowned by any possible allies and has no legitimacy. It's mostly just a question now of how much resistance they'll put up as Erdogan's forces move in. Hopefully they'll give up peacefully.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:40 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fact or Fiction?
posted by klausness at 4:41 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


So either the military have mysteriously forgotten how to do a coup properly

...or that institutional knowledge was wiped out when Erdogan purged the military in 2012.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:42 PM on July 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


It's not a fake, people died today.

Oh, Erdoğan's perfectly willing to kill a few people to get more power.
posted by klausness at 4:42 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


...or that institutional knowledge was wiped out when Erdogan purged the military in 2012.

Which is why I added the parenthetical note about not reading up on how it was done before. It's no secret how the previous coups worked, and I can't imagine that anyone planning a coup would fail to study the previous ones carefully.
posted by klausness at 4:44 PM on July 15, 2016


All of the dystopian fiction nightmares that I grew up reading have come true.

Ugh, stay safe Turkey.
posted by Fizz at 4:46 PM on July 15, 2016


I thought this was metafilter not infowars.
posted by kiltedtaco at 4:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [20 favorites]


The existence of social media and cell phones makes using previous coups as a guide to action unreliable, I think.
posted by Gnatcho at 4:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Gulen has just denied any ties to the coup.
I have now read 3 different articles (2 american 1 british) on Gulen and I still have no idea if this guy is an extremist, a moderate or a liberal/progressive religious leader!

Still waiting to hear Trump's take on the coup. I suspect it will be: "I don't like coups. I prefer stuffing with my Turkey."
posted by pjsky at 4:47 PM on July 15, 2016


Man, as an American here, I really wish that slaughtering your own people and supporting ISIS were enough to knock you off of our "friends" list.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:48 PM on July 15, 2016


It doesn't take a genius to know that your first priority in launching a coup is making sure you immediately gain physical control of the previous leaders, no? Why would they launch a coup when Erdogan was beyond their reach?
posted by Justinian at 4:49 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Like the coup attempt right now looks like:

1) Cut the Bosporus bridges.
2) Send a couple people to the airport in Ankara.
3) ???
4) Victory!
posted by Justinian at 4:50 PM on July 15, 2016


The Turkish left, and I see this as a good thing, is not particularly trusting of the Turkish state (by left I don't mean secular liberals). So the suspicion of the coup I'm seeing from Turkish leftists on social media is pretty standard (including things like the terrorist attacks, especially the one at the opposition demo).
posted by Gnatcho at 4:51 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ugh, stay safe Turkey.

Seems like in the longer term, already too late. I was hoping for a successful coup, this is the worst of all possible outcomes. I've spent a good amount of time there over the years and sad to see the dream of a secular state slowly crumble. Bye, bye, Ataturk!
posted by Meatbomb at 4:51 PM on July 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'm in Beyoğlu tonight, on a layover between the USA and a morning flight to Italy. ... guessing my flight will be delayed.

(not that I'm, or any holiday traveller for that matter, the focus at the moment)
posted by Seeba at 4:52 PM on July 15, 2016


I thought this was metafilter not infowars.

Why is a fake coup more of a conspiracy than a real coup? There are plenty of past examples of false flag operations in Turkey's past (for example, much of the violence that provided a pretext for the 1980 coup turned out to have been staged by the same people in the military who then staged the coup). In the context of Turkey, it's not at all unreasonable to consider the possibility that the whole thing is a false flag operation. It may or may not turn out to actually be that, but it's a perfectly reasonable theory in context.
posted by klausness at 4:53 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


I thought this was metafilter not infowars.

Yeah, people talking about false-flags like they're a thing that happen all the time. But are there even any notable ones? False-flag terrorist attacks like the Reichstag fire I can buy, because fewer people are required to pull off one of those... But a full-on coup?

Not that I blame any anti-Erdogan people in Turkey for suspecting a false-flag. But still.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:54 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why would they launch a coup when Erdogan was beyond their reach?

Probably hoped that they could consolidate enough control quickly enough that Erdogan's vacation would be rebooked as permanent exile.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:55 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Right, there have been false-flag coups but they generally involve busting up the supposed coup in the planning stages, and arresting the planners who just happen to be your political opponents. They don't tend to involve tanks in the streets and F16s shooting down helicopters.
posted by Justinian at 4:55 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


False-flag terrorist attacks like the Reichstag fire I can buy, because fewer people are required to pull off one of those... But a full-on coup?


Maybe more like a sting? Convince a rebellious faction they have more support than they really do, let them roll their supporters right into a trap.

Might also explain the immediate arrest of the Chief of Staff of the Army and the failure of the coup-leaders to get their hands on the leadership.

But, who knows? This is all speculation, and may remain speculation.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:56 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's a fancy pro-Erdoğan banner that showed up on a buiding shortly after the coup attempt. So someone stages a coup and the first thing you do is make some professional-quality banners?

And then brave members of the public went to the airport to seize it back from the coup plotters. This is the same airport that's under an extreme state of security after the recent bombings there, but these brave members of the public just breezed past all of that.

And just a few hours after it started, the coup is over, thanks to ordinary members of the public who swarmed to the streets and were mysteriously safe from the guns and tanks that are normally deployed in a coup.
posted by klausness at 5:01 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yes, this is Kemalism. Overthrow the non-secular civilian state, re-institute Ataturk's reforms, hand power back to the people in a few years. Erdogan and Gulen thought they had a recipe to prevent that, by infiltrating the military and ripping out the Kemalists by the roots.

Unfortunately, they were not entirely successful.

For one, Erdogan ratfucked Gulen, who was instrumental in bringing the military to heel.

For another, they missed a few, and they missed would be cagier than usual.

Don't expect this to be over tonight, tho it would be nice if it did. This feels like Syria 2.0 - bigger and louder.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:02 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I imagine some of the coup plotters have assets overseas. They may flee or seek asylum, and live out the rest of their days watching over their shoulders for special executive operatives of the MİT.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:03 PM on July 15, 2016


There is no evidence that this is a fake coup at this time. Such speculation is pointless and a bit disgusting when people are dying in the streets in peaceful protests.
posted by humanfont at 5:03 PM on July 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Klausness, I can't open the link to the picture of the banner but there are plenty of pro-Erdoğan banners kicking around Turkey all the time so I guess it is just one of them.
The airport security is not run by the army, nor would it have been in action if the airport was over run.
And you don't understand the Turkish military if you don't understand why they weren't mowing down civilians willy-nilly.
I get this is a site for discussion, but you don't seem to really understand the situation and are saying 2+2 must equal 5. This is not idle speculation for some of us, it is our lives, and the lives of our friends, workmates and neighbours.
posted by Megami at 5:05 PM on July 15, 2016 [47 favorites]


Apparently this is the flight tracker for Erodigan's jet approaching Istanbul.
posted by humanfont at 5:07 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


There is no evidence that this is a fake coup at this time. Such speculation is pointless and a bit disgusting when people are dying in the streets in peaceful protests.

This isn't a theory that I'm just pulling out of my butt. This is what my friends in Turkey (admittedly all anti-Erdoğan) believe. They're on the ground there, in the line of fire (since real guns are being used), so I think it's not unreasonable to take their opinions seriously. As for peaceful protestors dying in the streets, I haven't seen much evidence of that, though reporting is admittedly imperfect right now.
posted by klausness at 5:10 PM on July 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


Apparently this is the flight tracker for Erodigan's jet approaching Istanbul.

That plane is on the ground now.
posted by mr_roboto at 5:25 PM on July 15, 2016


CNN Turk now reporting that military have entered their premises, but they're continuing to broadcast. Flights to Istanbul are apparently being diverted again.
posted by klausness at 5:33 PM on July 15, 2016


According to wiki Turkey has 412,000 military and 170,000 gendarmarie with the the possibility of 378,000 reserves and
17,000,000 able and ready for conscription. Not small numbers.
posted by adamvasco at 5:40 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Looks like things have escalated again. Shit shit fucking shit.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:43 PM on July 15, 2016


CNN Turk staff have been ejected, but there's still a feed going with the camera pointed at the news desk and a few people walking around apparently trying to figure out how to cut the feed.
posted by klausness at 5:47 PM on July 15, 2016


While the conspiracy/false flag theories are circulating rampantly on social media (mine, too) I do not think they are credible. Erdoğan's likely to take ruthless advantage of the coup attempt's (apparent) failure, but Turkey has a long and ugly history of military interference in politics, and there's good reason to believe this is a genuine attempt by a group of disaffected officers, probably those targeted in the ongoing purge of supposed Gülenists from the armed forces.

Moreover, no matter how much of a disaster Erdoğan has been in recent years, military rule is worse. I can't emphasize that enough. All major opposition parties--HDP, CHP, MHP--have come out united against the coup attempt, and the Kurdish movement in particular has extremely good historical (and contemporary!) reasons to fear the armed forces and military rule. Sure, Islamists have suffered under past coups--so have ethnic and religious minorities, leftists, trade unions, queer people, journalists, academics, students, and just about everyone else. Kemalist nationalist "secularism" (laicism is a better term, but that's a digression) has historically been an anti-democratic force in Turkey, and the road to defeating Erdoğan's increasing authoritariansim does not run through its retrenchment. Erdoğan's political support--which is substantial and very real--is partly fueled by the vivid memory of the repression many Turkish citizens experienced under previous juntas and military-supported secularist governments. This is a disaster, and is going to end in more bloodshed and tears, and likely more political crackdowns. It could lead to civil war.

I say this as someone who got repeatedly tear-gassed in Gezi Park in 2013, who's been through jandarma checkpoints in the Kurdish southeast, and who's currently watching livestreams where people climb on tanks from my old neighborhood in Istanbul ( to be clear: I'm not Turkish, but I've been studying, working in, and/or living in Turkey on & off for much of the last decade, I speak the language, and I'm currently finishing a doctoral dissertation about contemporary Turkey). Please, if you aren't familiar with the context, refrain from glib statements about how this is for the best because Turkey has a "semi-okay record with military coups" (I mean Jesus, WTF? thousands of dead people, my mentors and friends who grew up in exile, and the leftist journalist I used to work for who spent most of the 80s rotting in political prison would beg to differ).
posted by karayel at 5:50 PM on July 15, 2016 [94 favorites]




Sounds increasingly likely that the coup is failing. Which probably a good thing in some ways but also will be used by Erdogan as a method for seizing even more control over the government.

To a certain degree the military has been the release valve for Turkey, they are willing to step in when Islamists are getting to powerful or if a Putin style strongman threatens to gain too much control. I'm afraid that the failure of this coup might lead to even more Putinesque moves on Erdogan's part.
posted by vuron at 5:55 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Agreed, karayel. My friends who lived through the 1980 coup all hate Erdoğan, but they hate the leaders of the coup more. I definitely would not say that a coup would be best for Turkey.

People now reporting low-flying planes over Istanbul.
posted by klausness at 5:56 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Periscope of Turkish Parliament . Skip to the last two minutes to see reaction as building is bombed and folks run for cover.
posted by humanfont at 5:56 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Livestream of the CNN Turk anchor's desk. Someone seems to be fiddling with the various audio sources.
posted by spreadsheetzu at 5:58 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


They know the mike is on.
posted by vrakatar at 6:00 PM on July 15, 2016


oh my god there's a guy in front of the camera right now
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:06 PM on July 15, 2016


Who is the guy in the pink tshirt on CNN Turk?
posted by vuron at 6:07 PM on July 15, 2016


he's not armed, he seems to be using his phone a lot. He might be a journalist. He knows how to use the tech.
posted by vrakatar at 6:09 PM on July 15, 2016


To recap the last hour or so, the coup-ists have apparently bombed (or shelled?) the parliament bldg, opened fire on crowds of protesters at one of the Bosphorus bridges, and are currently in the process of trying to seize control of CNN-Türk, Hürriyet newspaper, Doğan media center and possibly other major media outlets. There are also reports of clashes at the Istanbul airport. This is very ugly and far from over.

That said, I don't see any way this coup succeeds--it appears to have limited popular support and no official opposition support, and it's clearly the work of faction of the armed forces rather than the TSK as a whole (generals & admirals have been making statements condemning the coup and telling soldiers to retreat...) The police are also pretty firmly on the government's side (thanks in part to previous purges). Even if they have sufficient armed force to seize control, they are going to have to be willing to kill a large number civilians in the streets to maintain it, and I don't think the soldiers (possible conscripts?) on the ground are going to be willing to do that--as footage of tank crews surrendering to police and being disarmed or halted by protesters suggests.
posted by karayel at 6:10 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Apparently, the guy in the pink shirt is some sort of camera operator who works there. The crowds in the background were apparently chanting religious slogans.
posted by klausness at 6:15 PM on July 15, 2016


Ertigan is speaking now, just mentioned 'cleansing the armed forces'.
posted by adept256 at 6:21 PM on July 15, 2016


Can anyone make out what the crowd is chanting on CNN Turk?
posted by vrakatar at 6:23 PM on July 15, 2016


"Cleansing" is about the most frightening euphemism in the world.

Let's not pretend that this won't lead to the deaths of coup plotters and probably their extended families.
posted by vuron at 6:24 PM on July 15, 2016


Anderson Cooper just had the editor of CNN Turk on the phone. Soldiers are now disarmed and under police protection from the crowd that overwhelmed the soldiers when they tried to take the studio. They can't get anchors back up to the studio because of the standoff and the protestors.
posted by humanfont at 6:31 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


CNN Turk seems to have a newsreader in place now.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:31 PM on July 15, 2016


CNN Turk starting to report again.
posted by klausness at 6:32 PM on July 15, 2016


Holy living fuck now I've seen everything.
posted by vrakatar at 6:33 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


On MSNBC just now, during Erdogan's first, less-formal speech he said something the translator rendered as "Turkey cannot be ruled from Pennsylvania", which would seem to be an explicit reference to Gülen, but neither Rachel Maddow nor her guest commentator remarked upon it.
posted by XMLicious at 6:38 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think what is fascinating is that with the rise of social networking platforms like twitter the ability for coups to succeed if they aren't popularly backed is radically diminished.

If you can't control the message more or less immediately you risk the masses mobilizing in a way that you didn't have to deal with in the past.

You are seeing this in international crisis situations but also increasingly in the US where the activists are able to outrun, outlast, hit 'em quick, get out fast.
posted by vuron at 6:43 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


"This horrible thing that has befallen us is a gift from god"*

*not an actual quote
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, okay, after the commercial Maddow explained who Gülen is and that the "gift from God" bit Erdogan said was him claiming the coup will provide leverage against the Gülenists.
posted by XMLicious at 6:54 PM on July 15, 2016


I think what is fascinating is that with the rise of social networking platforms like twitter the ability for coups to succeed if they aren't popularly backed is radically diminished.

if this had been thought out at all, there would have been no twitter, facebook or cellular service available.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:01 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Economist says coup has failed.
posted by humanfont at 7:07 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, unless they just misjudged the public's willingness to support Erdogan. If the people were willing to go along with the coup, allowing social networking would have been a boon to the plotters.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:07 PM on July 15, 2016


There is wicked stupid chat along with the CNN site. Some thinking Erdogan is dead, lots of insults. Why it is almost like 4chan. I went there once, during San Bernardino to see what that media was like. It was like, I am never going there again, but it was a useful introduction to internet stupid. Mefi has me spoiled. Please pass the butter...
posted by Oyéah at 7:07 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Some people in chat were quoting The Economist in most despicable terms.
posted by Oyéah at 7:08 PM on July 15, 2016


I don't think you can't do a military coup because of the Internet. After all, the Egyptian military succeeded in overthrowing Morsi. This one seems to have failed because the putschists weren't able to take control completely enough, a bit like what happened in Spain on February 23, 1981, when the King wasn't captured and was later able to appear on TV.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:19 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Reports of explosions and gunfire ongoing in Ankara.
posted by klausness at 7:26 PM on July 15, 2016


The Economist says coup has failed.

It kind of seems like more of an opinion piece to me, ends with this anyway: Whether or not the attempted coup has failed...
posted by Drinky Die at 7:27 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


42 reported dead in Ankara. Erdoğan still at Istanbul airport, with crowds assembling.
posted by klausness at 7:32 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I want to favorite that to thank you, klausness, but do not want to favorite 42 dead.
Thank you for reporting.
posted by vrakatar at 7:35 PM on July 15, 2016 [11 favorites]




I'm wondering the same thing, lazarauslong.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:43 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


In Egypt the coup succeeded because President Morsi had become extremely unpopular. The army was able to step back into power because Morsi triggered another popular uprising.
posted by humanfont at 7:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think it is just a few seconds delayed from this one on the CNN Turkey site.
posted by drnick at 7:46 PM on July 15, 2016


I don't think the images on the CNN Turk stream are live; Google translates the "CNN Turk'e Baskin Ani" banner on the screen as "CNN Turkey raid memories," which hopefully means re-airing of past footage.
posted by SemiSophos at 7:48 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


vuron: You are seeing this in international crisis situations but also increasingly in the US where the activists are able to outrun, outlast, hit 'em quick, get out fast.

The problem is that this is all too often followed by "chick-a-pow."
posted by Superplin at 7:48 PM on July 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


Yeah, OK, they're showing what happened when the station was taken over.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:50 PM on July 15, 2016


At this point, I'm most concerned about what happens regarding Incirlik AFB, where we store 50-60 of our bigger fireworks in some poor conditions.

According to media Incirlik is at "Force Protection Condition Delta". No word on whether WOPR is still playing tic-tac-toe.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:50 PM on July 15, 2016


‏ @SweetestCyanide: I'm not saying that David Bowie was holding the fabric of the universe together, but *gestures broadly at everything*

Never have truer words been tweeted.
posted by Kabanos at 7:51 PM on July 15, 2016 [40 favorites]


While we should obviously be concerned given it involves NUCLEAR WEAPONS, the bangers at Incirlik are surrounded by quite a few members of the USAF and the RAF and I doubt they're inclined to part with them.
posted by Justinian at 7:53 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


42 dead does not sound like this is winding down
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:54 PM on July 15, 2016


It's not clear to me when the 42 people died. It could have all been at the beginning, or deaths could be ongoing. Not clear to me at this point. There are also reports of random soldiers being lynched.
posted by klausness at 8:10 PM on July 15, 2016


Whereabouts of the army chief of staff unknown.
posted by klausness at 8:10 PM on July 15, 2016


Obama had a statement ready. He condemned the coup, as being the head of the biggest, baddest democracy. He knew it was going down before Erdogan. This shoooould mean the coup is a done deal... except it clearly isn't.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:13 PM on July 15, 2016


Did he just give this statement because it's been 6 hours.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:14 PM on July 15, 2016


That's... not what happened? They whipped something up because they had to.
posted by Justinian at 8:14 PM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I think Slap*Happy meant the State Departments couple sentences about how everyone should remain peaceful and support the democratically elected government.
posted by Justinian at 8:15 PM on July 15, 2016


Is Erdogan still at the airport?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:16 PM on July 15, 2016


Third Armored Brigade (tank columns loyal to Erdogan) is reportedly rolling on Istanbul now.
posted by Justinian at 8:20 PM on July 15, 2016


I'm amazed we can tell who's loyal to whom at this point.
posted by Carillon at 8:32 PM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


A bomb was thrown parliament, according to google translate of the CNN Turk live stream.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:56 PM on July 15, 2016


Weird there's been so little news from Ankara?
posted by notyou at 9:06 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well with this fuckup of a coup attempt let's say goodbye to Turkey as a prototypical, modern secular state for the Middle East.

Erdogan will consolidate power on the back of Islamist support. Further crackdowns on the Kurds will make the current sectarian conflict look like a Sunday picnic. We've been seeing the islamization of Turkish society happening in slow motion over the last five years. Expect the lifting of the headscarf ban to be rammed through again shortly after the consolidation post-coup, higher education to become considerably more religious, and I wouldn't be surprised if ISIS show up with even more Turkish arms.
posted by Talez at 9:19 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Erdogan: “We will not abandon our country to these invaders. It will end well.”

I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.
posted by symbioid at 9:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


The headscarf ban was lifted in 2013, and was a shitty anti-democratic policy that profoundly limited many Turkish and Kurdish women's access to education, the workplace, and public life.

Turkish society is deeply divided along a lot of significant fault lines, and the religious/secular axis is only one of them--plus, describing the Turkish-Kurdish confict as 'sectarian' doesn't make sense (the Sunni/Alevi distinction cross-cuts ethnic or national identities). Finally, I'm much more worried about Erdoğan's authoritarianism than his Islamism, and they aren't the same thing. Many AKP supporters aren't Islamists, although most of them are Muslims. The role of religion in government and public life is something that Turkey is going to have to work out democratically, and nostalgia for an era of modernist secularist dictatorship isn't going to help make that process any smoother.
posted by karayel at 9:54 PM on July 15, 2016 [28 favorites]


Well, there's a generalized secular humanist aversion to public displays of religious identity, particularly those that appear to also express misogyny, and so the preference is going to default to that old secular pan Arabism that sought to crack apart religious and political identity. That view represents itself now, in some places... in the ban. ( Full disclosure, I'm nostalgic for that past, minus the dictators.) Obviously views on the scarf have changed -- women who once rejected it now embrace it -- but so too has the political context.
posted by notyou at 10:09 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


In case anyone is interested in the ex-pat life in the suburbs on the ground experience in Istanbul right now ... It's half past eight in the morning here. It's quiet. My kid is still in bed. My husband has gone out mountain biking with friends. I have yet again emailed family and friends to say we are fine and still planning on going on holidays next week. The kids of friends were meant to fly out of Istanbul today but don't know what is happening yet, but are not too worried. No-one is even messaging or texting with news or directions.

If anything this reminds me of the last coup I was directly touched by, the attempted coup in PNG in 1997. (If you want to see how much the media has changed in 20 years, go searching for stuff on the internet about that one ...)
posted by Megami at 10:30 PM on July 15, 2016 [34 favorites]


It "mustn't", but it does from some particular POV, which I think I made clear.

On preview: thanks Megami for your on the ground reporting! Your first and follow-ups way above, and this latest make me think of Candide's farm, removed from the political happenings of the day, but near enough to recognize their existence in the comings and goings on the river.

So, this is an Istanbul and Ankara thing, and the rest of the country is going about its business?
posted by notyou at 10:38 PM on July 15, 2016


Mod note: A couple of comments deleted. Let's not derail entirely into a headcovering debate, please and thank you.
posted by taz (staff) at 10:46 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


2017 is going to make 2016 look like 2013!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:24 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


The army chief of staff was held at an airbase by coup organizers. He has just been freed as pro-government forces regained control of the base.
posted by humanfont at 11:26 PM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


" the preference is going to default to that old secular pan Arabism"

You know Turks are completely different from Arabs, right? I found it hard to make sense of this comment.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:48 PM on July 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


(leaving the headscarf thing aside, but just want to note that Turkey's not an Arab country, Kemalism isn't pan-Arabism, and you can't divorce the secularist elements of Kemalism from its nationalism and deep intolerance to both religious and ethnic minorities)

meanwhile, here's a brief interview with a young soldier who says his tank crew was told it was all a training exercise, and that when he realized it wasn't, he ran away. He seems to have no idea that he was part of a coup: "what's happened, brother, explain it to me!"

People celebrating atop the abandoned tanks on the Bosphorus bridge (surreal in part b/c these, and many of the other crowd images, remind me so much of moments and images the Gezi protests). A friend has been sharing pictures from the bridge of the tanks being towed away by police vehicles, amid chants of "no coup!"

also, more abandoned tanks in central Üsküdar, about a five-minute walk from my old apartment (that Burger King was my go-to for midnight homesick cravings for crappy American fast food). They're still there, judging from some more recent daytime photos, and people are climbing up and taking selfies on top of them. This is the strangest would-be coup ever.

And because metafilter loves cats, the only photo from İstanbul that's made me smile today.
posted by karayel at 11:59 PM on July 15, 2016 [28 favorites]


On a grimmer note, reports of 90 dead and over a thousand injured, 1500+ military personnel under arrest, and it's not clear yet whether or not the fighting is over.
posted by karayel at 12:09 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Practical question. I'm in Istanbul (Beyoğlu) on an 18 hour layover, and my flight was just cancelled.

... I would like to leave. How is the best way to achieve this? THY seems hosed, but if that's the best thing to do, I can wander down to the airport and try to figure it out.
posted by Seeba at 12:40 AM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Call the embassy.
posted by adept256 at 12:54 AM on July 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Seeba, it sounds like things are coming under control but I'm hearing that are lots of people stuck at the airport now, so it might not be the most pleasant place to wait for another flight. Check with your consulate if you can, but otherwise I'd sit tight in Beyoğlu until you are rebooked, and maybe keep your distance from Taksim square since people may be gathering there to protest and/or celebrate.
posted by karayel at 2:11 AM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Seebs, embassy. It's what they do.
posted by effugas at 2:13 AM on July 16, 2016


dani rodrik is worth following; his take fwiw...
posted by kliuless at 2:22 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I imagine some of the coup plotters have assets overseas. They may flee or seek asylum, and live out the rest of their days watching over their shoulders for special executive operatives of the MİT.

Does Turkey have an assassination capability of the sort that Iran had? Have they actually killed dissidents abroad?
posted by acb at 4:25 AM on July 16, 2016


As a Pennsylvania resident...are we looking at a potential Red Dawn type scenario?
posted by Drinky Die at 4:49 AM on July 16, 2016


Does Turkey have an assassination capability

Under the increasingly authoritarian Recep Tayyip Erdoğan we may find out.
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:50 AM on July 16, 2016


A failed coup in Turkey could tip the country into authoritarianism

Judges are already being arrested.
posted by klausness at 4:52 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


humanfont: In Egypt the coup succeeded because President Morsi had become extremely unpopular. The army was able to step back into power because Morsi triggered another popular uprising.

It's also the case that the coup came from the top of the army in Egypt, while this one came from an army faction. A united army might win a coup over a divided public, but a divided army gets you a civil war at most.
posted by clawsoon at 5:01 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Seeba, I fly through IST a lot and the airport is not designed to cope with the passengers it has on a normal day, let alone a day like today with hundreds of flights cancelled. Absolutely try and contact them if you can (they seem responsive on Twitter at @TK_HelpDesk) and keep checking the Turkish Airlines website (which may have better information in Turkish) but do follow Karayel's advice and stay out of Taksim. A taxi to the airport will run you between 50-80 TL from Beyoglu depending on where you are. If you are looking for a place to stay tonight there's a LOT of Airbnb places in Beyoglu and plenty of other little inns and hotels. Also check out the bars and cafes in Karakoy if you need a stiff drink. Good luck!
posted by mdonley at 5:06 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Turkish military helicopter landed in the Greek airport of Alexandroupolis, after requesting emergency assistance. The military crew has applied for asylum, the helicopter is being returned to Turkey.
The huge crackdown on the judiciary now developing is also a coup in a sense.
posted by talos at 5:08 AM on July 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


reports of 90 dead and over a thousand injured

Which again makes this coup odd. The last two coups were relatively bloodless. I think there was one dead in the first and none in the second. Plenty of people were killed during the subsequent military regimes, of course, but the coups themselves were pretty much bloodless.

If there's one thing the Turkish military knows how to do it's organizing a coup. First you seize the heads of government and all the media, and then you have a huge display of military force that causes people to immediately capitulate. Instead, they made no effort to seize the heads of government, they took over TRT (Turkish state radio and television) but none of the private channels (aside from CNN Turk, which was eventually temporarily shut down by five privates -- hardly an occupying force), and they blocked some bridges and shot at some buildings. They had lots of planes at their disposal, but on the ground they just had a bunch of hapless privates who had no idea what they were participating in and who were then often lynched by angry crowds. That all seems almost deliberately incompetent.

This is why my Turkish friends are still calling it a faux coup. They know from experience how successful coups are run, and it's not like this.
posted by klausness at 5:12 AM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this looks unbelievably half-assed and amateurish for a coup attempt. Still don't (want to) think it's fake. Can buy the "trap for remaining dissidents" (with unintended consequences) idea though.
posted by ZeroAmbition at 5:23 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The reason this was not like previous coups is that the military is no longer of one, kemalist, mind. Erdogan has created a loyal Islamic faction from what I hear. The top leadership was loyal to him. So this was a coup that had to preempt strong internal military opposition, as well as navigate in a vastly more complex communications and media landscape. It isn't the 80s, it's more complicated now on a number of fronts
posted by talos at 5:32 AM on July 16, 2016 [19 favorites]


2,745 judges removed.
posted by klausness at 5:37 AM on July 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Of course, the official line is that Turkey is a democracy, and anyone who says otherwise is paranoid or some kind of troublemaker. It hapens to be that kind of uncommonly unified democracy where a naïve outside observer could be forgiven for mistaking the True Will Of The People for a dictatorship
posted by acb at 5:41 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yes, pulling off a coup is more complicated now. But if you don't have the personell on the ground to do the basics (take the government into custody, take control of the media), then you're not prepared to execute an actual coup. It might be more difficult (compared to 1980) after you've seized the government and the media. But if you don't take those first steps, there's no way that you will succeed.
posted by klausness at 5:42 AM on July 16, 2016


This thread made me realize how some of the liberals in U.S. don't really care or know about people's lives (and perspectives) in other nations. From this thread, some would rather throw Turkey people under the bus and see the military rule again - even though Erdogan do has popular support, even though he did improve Turkey's economy considerably well, even though the previous similar coup (Egypt) propped a mass murderer general who is pretty much in every way worse than Mursi. Maybe my old ustadz who taught me was right : people in the west do hate Islam as evidenced by the hate for islamism or whatever thrown in here. Heh.

I'm reminded of how the first president my (birth) country, Indonesia, was thrown in a coup --- U.S.-supported --- and public/elected officials all over the U.S. crowed and cheered for a 30-year long dictator and mass murderer of 1 million people whom also was one of the most corrupt leader in the world.
posted by tirta-yana at 6:11 AM on July 16, 2016 [44 favorites]


Apparently, many of the crowds of ordinary people rallying against the coup are actually made up of right-wing religious types. Calls for people to take to the streets were coming from mosques (even in Alevi areas, where mosques don't really play a significant role). There's some sort of disturbing right-wing religious extremist aspect to this whole thing, the exact nature of which is not entirely clear at this point.
posted by klausness at 6:22 AM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


many of the crowds of ordinary people rallying against the coup are actually made up of right-wing religious types.

What's your source(s), please.
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:27 AM on July 16, 2016


Maybe my old ustadz who taught me was right : people in the west do hate Islam as evidenced by the hate for islamism or whatever thrown in here.

Not to deny that there are some people in the west who hate Islam, but what many people in the west hate is religious extremism (no matter what the religion). The Turkish Republic has always been Islamic (at least after most of the remaining religious minorities were kicked out, but that's another story). What's troubling is the slide into extremism under Erdoğan. Opposing Islamic extremism is not at all the same as opposing Islam.
posted by klausness at 6:28 AM on July 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


many of the crowds of ordinary people rallying against the coup are actually made up of right-wing religious types.
What's your source(s), please.


Reports from friends watching Turkish media. So yes, it's second-hand (I don't speak Turkish myself, so I have to rely on their reports of what's happening). But apparently, in addition to the reports in Turkish media, you can tell just by looking at the crowds in footage of the rallies what kind of people they're made up of (since the religious extremists have distinctive styles of dress, beard, etc.).
posted by klausness at 6:34 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Turkish Republic has always been Islamic

That's an odd thing to say, given Atatürk's ideas on the subject.
posted by gimonca at 6:35 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


One plausible variant of the faux coup theory is that government supporters in the military infiltrated a group planning a coup incompetently and encouraged them to go ahead with it when they were clearly going to fail.
posted by klausness at 6:39 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]



The Turkish Republic has always been Islamic

That's an odd thing to say, given Atatürk's ideas on the subject.


Modern Turkey's relationship with Islam has never been straightforward. Atatürk made alliances with religious leaders during the post-WWI fight against Ally and Greek occupation, but sought to limit their control on collective allegiances once he and his cadres set up the Republic. But given the composition of the population in Turkey (due, not least, to massive population movements starting from mid-19th c in the region, culminating in the purge and mass killings of non-Muslims in and immediately after WWI), Islam indeed was the primary shared anchor for collective allegiances of the population. So it was not so much purging or marginalizing Islam or espousing secularism, religion and its networks were coopted and put to the service of nation-building under strict state control. There is quite a bit of academic research on this ambivalent relationship, and it certainly has informed contemporary Turkish politics for decades.
posted by zany pita at 6:50 AM on July 16, 2016 [17 favorites]


You know Turks are completely different from Arabs, right? I found it hard to make sense of this comment.

Ahh, thanks for the correction. I do know this and should have taken more care writing my comment.
posted by notyou at 6:55 AM on July 16, 2016


Klausness, I'm finding your speculations unhelpful and suspect that they are subtly misleading and based on dubious premises. I can't really know this because I am quite ignorant in this matter, but I wish you'd pipe down for a bit and wait until there is more information. I feel like this breathless speculation about the higher-order motivations behind and effects of this coup showcases exactly the sort of tasteless-at-best callousness that tirta-yana rightfully deplores a few comments up.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:56 AM on July 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


Grateful for Klausness' reports given they have friends over there. Tasteless-at-best is 'shiiiit'.
posted by adept256 at 7:08 AM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


If the reports on the arrests of a couple of thousand judges are true, it's hard to imagine that the government didn't have a list ready for a while, waiting for an excuse to carry out the arrests.

Apparently, many of the crowds of ordinary people rallying against the coup are actually made up of right-wing religious types.

Right-wing religious types can be ordinary people, too.
posted by clawsoon at 7:09 AM on July 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Apparently, many of the crowds of ordinary people rallying against the coup are actually made up of right-wing religious types.

Right-wing religious types can be ordinary people, too.


Yes, of course. But when you see crowds consisting entirely of right-wing religious types (rather than the usual mix of ordinary Turks that consist of a range of people from secularists to very religious people), that's suspicious.
posted by klausness at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


isn't this going to affect the army's ability to deal with the ethnic conflicts and acts of terrorism? i would think morale is going to take a big hit from this
posted by pyramid termite at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2016


Klausness, I'm finding your speculations unhelpful and suspect that they are subtly misleading and based on dubious premises.

These aren't my speculations. As I've mentioned several times, among people I know in Turkey (people who are very familiar with the situation and currently living through it), the idea that this is a faux coup is pretty much conventional wisdom. I'm basically reporting what I'm hearing from people on the ground there. Whether the faux coup theory is actually true or not remains to be seen. But it's a theory that is pretty widely accepted among educated anti-Erdoğan Turks, so I think it's worth discussing.

I can't really know this because I am quite ignorant in this matter

A Turkish friend recommends this article from Vox (which I think has been posted above) for some background.

My friend also forwarded this summary of the situation that an academic expert on modern Turkey (I won't mention his name, since I don't know whether he wants to be participating in this debate in public) posted on facebook:
Where we are now: This is a manipulated coup. Those who realised it probably believed in their mission. I believe that they were set up. The government was far too relaxed in its very organized response. Mosques all over the country were transmitting the same messages.
Now it is rule of the baltagiyya, for Erdogan to govern through open civil war. The baltagiyya are the rabble rousers who attacked demonstrators on Tahrir. The root to the word is Ottoman Turkish though. It's the same conduit of rule through fascist mobs.
This is Turkey's first hyperreality coup.
posted by klausness at 7:24 AM on July 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


I can't really know this because I am quite ignorant in this matter, but I wish you'd pipe down for a bit and wait until there is more information.

I'd rather he continue offering his opinions (and speculations) on the subject, especially since they are informed by reports from Turkish residents. And since any further information to emerge will be disseminated by the Turkish government, it would be naive to trust its accuracy. But what we do know so far is that the main beneficiaries of the coup were Erdogan and his acolytes, who have already begun pruning the judiciary of opponents.

I would also suggest a third scenario (based on this tweet): the government was planning an operation against elements of the military, who hastily attempted a coup before the operation could be carried out.
posted by Abelian Grape at 7:30 AM on July 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


I'm not in favor of the coup and I'm not necessarily in favor of Erdogan. This can be seen as a situation where none of the outcomes are particularly great and inevitably the common people are going to hurt in the crossfire (both real and metaphorical).

The reality is that Turkey is one of the ideal locations where the European world and the Islamic world meet and while that has been a source of tension it can also be a place of strength because there are no inherent reasons why the West and Islam can't coexist.
posted by vuron at 7:33 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]




Re: klausness's quote, Wikipedia entry on baltagiya:
Baltagiya or Baltajiya (Arabic: البلطجية‎‎) in Arabic also Baltaga or Baltaja (Arabic: البلطجة‎‎) is an Egyptian word that originally means "hatchet men" but it generally means "goons" or "thugs" or "gangs," who are often hired to attack regime targets. Nonpolitical baltagiya gangs appeared in Egypt in the 1980s; in the 1990s the Egyptian police decided to hire them, "outsourcing coercion to these baltagiya, paying them well and training them to use sexualized brutality (from groping to rape) in order to punish and deter female protesters and male detainees, alike". They gained international media attention when spotted in the fighting in Tahrir Square during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. In the Port Said Stadium disaster on 1 February 2012, eyewitnesses accused the police of allowing baltagiya in plain clothes into the stadium with weapons and then not intervening to stop the violence.
posted by XMLicious at 7:38 AM on July 16, 2016


I would also suggest a third scenario (based on this tweet): the government was planning an operation against elements of the military, who hastily attempted a coup before the operation could be carried out.

Ahmet Sik (the journalist quoted in that tweet) is apparently very credible and well-informed, so that scenario is worth taking seriously.
posted by klausness at 7:39 AM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Klausness, I realise you are participating in the discussion in good faith, and are entitled to your opinion - and I am in no way a 'Turkish expert' and nor am I going to play the whole 'my friends know more about what is happening than your friends game' BUT much of the evidence you have given for this being a manufactured coup shows a lack of understanding of how Turkish politics currently works, the attitudes of both the bourgeoisie and the more working/'lower' classes towards Erdogan and the AKP, how people act in Istanbul and the Turkish military; and these are all areas I have at least a bit of on-the-ground knowledge about. I am ready to be proven wrong, but from this point of view at least your speculation doesn't look like it is based on a full understanding of what has happened/is happening.
posted by Megami at 7:44 AM on July 16, 2016 [19 favorites]


Mod note: One comment deleted; maybe let's hold off on more false flag stuff unless there are more facts to support that interpretation? The idea's been suggested, not worth a separate fight about it while we're just waiting for more info.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:59 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Apparently, many of the crowds of ordinary people rallying against the coup are actually made up of right-wing religious types. Calls for people to take to the streets were coming from mosques (even in Alevi areas, where mosques don't really play a significant role).

Hmm, maybe this is a cultural misconception? I don't see what is right-wing about people from / that frequent mosques. In a muslim-majority country like Turkey and Indonesia it's totally normal for big cities to have mosques like, every 200 meters. It's usually hidden in the small streets for commercial area but the number of mosques here and in Turkey is.. enormous.

And people who frequent them are not just the 'right wingers' and the definition itself is a bit erronous; you'd better describing them as 'people who frequent mosques' because even a secular, agnostically inclined person like me still visits them and pray there. And I know a lot of Islamic leftists who are pretty devout too.. it's simply inapplicable to brush them as some kind of a narrow label. The role of mosques in these countries are more than just for religion.
posted by tirta-yana at 8:02 AM on July 16, 2016 [21 favorites]


Apparently, many of the crowds of ordinary people rallying against the coup are actually made up of right-wing religious types. Calls for people to take to the streets were coming from mosques (even in Alevi areas, where mosques don't really play a significant role).
Hmm, maybe this is a cultural misconception?


I don't think so. I probably can't reliably tell a religious right-winger from an ordinary religious Turk, but I think my Turkish friends can, and they're the ones who have identified the crowds as religious right-wingers.

I don't see what is right-wing about people from / that frequent mosques

I'm not saying that it's right-wing to go to a mosque. Not at all -- no more than going to church makes you a Christian fundamentalist. I'm saying that it's odd that the mosques are all transmitting the same information (clearly based on some sort of central direction), and that the mosques are suddenly so active in Alevi areas. Alevi Muslims don't go to mosques. They worship at cemevi. Why are religious channels of communication (and specifically Sunni ones) suddenly being used so extensively to communicate supposedly non-religious messages? This may be common where you live, but it's not common in Turkey.
posted by klausness at 8:27 AM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


While we can (and probably should) set aside the issue of whether or not this was a false-flag operation, it is going to be important that so many people seem to think that this was the case.

In light of that, you'd think that, either way, Erdogan needs to convince people that the coup attempt was real.

In light of that.... why round up the judiciary the very next morning? There are far more subtle ways in which the same thing could have been accomplished, and I find it hard to believe that Erdogan is that incompetent.

It's no surprise that Erdogan is cracking down on his opponents, but the immediacy and boldness of the crackdown seems surprising and irrational. The only (and terrifying) conclusion that I can make is that Erdogan genuinely believes that his hold on the country is strong enough that his actions will not have consequences.
posted by schmod at 8:38 AM on July 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


Without trying to talk about the veracity of these claims, it is perhaps useful to consider them in their cultural context. My understanding is that notions of conspiracies and false flags are much more mainstream in relation to the political culture of Greece and Turkey in contrast to American politics where these notions are at the fringes. This difference is the result of such intrigues occurring with in recent memory.

And of course as we've seen with accusations of vote fraud and fixed elections in the recent democratic primary between Sanders and Clinton it isn't like our own political culture is completely immune to these notions. I don't mean to present this as we're better or worse. There are legitimate reasons that our politics are different in their emphasis.
posted by humanfont at 8:39 AM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am ready to be proven wrong, but from this point of view at least your speculation doesn't look like it is based on a full understanding of what has happened/is happening.

I admit that my friends are mostly highly-educated anti-Erdoğan secularists, so that's going to influence their perspectives. But I think they're perspectives that are worth adding to the discussion. Feel free to add other perspectives if you think that things are one-sided. I'm not really in touch with these alternate perspectives, so I'm not the right person to be presenting them.
posted by klausness at 8:44 AM on July 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


I think the immediacy of the crackdown is perfectly rational: the most opportune moment for taking such authoritarian action is in the aftermath of an important event, while passions are still running high. For example, the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended various civil liberties and allowed for the arbitrary imprisonment of political opponents, was passed the day after the Reichstag fire.
posted by Abelian Grape at 8:47 AM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm saying that it's odd that the mosques are all transmitting the same information (clearly based on some sort of central direction)

This Quartz news video has audio of what was transmitted by some mosques. A commenter claims that what can be heard is the call to 'sela' and explains that "if it is not for Friday prayer, or for someone's death, then it means 'call to unity' in Islam". So it would be a pre-recorded message rather than a recording made specifically for the occasion.
posted by dmh at 8:52 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


So apparently one of my colleagues is stuck at Ataturk airport on his way to the AIDS conference in Durbin. No contact from the U.S. State Dept. so far. He sounds quite frightened.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:23 AM on July 16, 2016


There a number of reasons to be concerned about the instrumentalization of religion by the governing AKP in this instance. Top officials who have been very opposed to people using their democratic rights of protest/dissent or even silent resistance in the street, using tear gas, water cannon and worse during various events in the last few years (Gezi is the most high profile and sustained event, but not alone by any means), who accused that democratic practice of being treasonous, and were brutal even against peaceful demonstrators, suddenly started inviting people to take it to the streets to protect their democracy. Suggesting there is a double standard in assessing what is considered a democratic right and what is not.

Also, not only did they use a clearly religious language in defending the current government, but also put religious officials to work, the Director of Religious Affairs was pressed into service and mosques in all towns large and small were reciting calls to prayer all night long. (Imagine Justin Welby being summoned as the Archbishop of Canterbury to send SMS messages to all of the UK to take it to the streets!)

In the past--especially during Gezi--Erdogan kept threatening that he has millions of followers waiting at home for his orders to take it to the streets too, and this time, when he demanded they come out, he and other party officials were using an unmistakably religious language and religious channels. And let me be clear, he is appealing to Sunni sensitivities here, he is known to often publicly disparage Alevis, who constitute about 25% of the population, of not being proper Muslims.

Finally there is footage of people in various cities marching in the streets, gathering in front of AKP offices and chanting Allahuekber, which is often used as a war cry even though it only means God is great.

This is not to say all who took it to the streets against the coup were religious right wingers, of course there were people from all political shades who are just as upset about a military coup, but there is reason to believe that the most zealous were and that religion was used to invite them to act.
posted by zany pita at 9:23 AM on July 16, 2016 [14 favorites]


It's great to see the focus of discussion here staying on Turkey compared to the 2008 discussion on Ergenekon that adamvasco linked to above.
posted by clawsoon at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Alp Eren Topal, Bilkent University, Ankara, with a bizarre yet compelling rationale:
My working theory of what happened yesterday is as follows:

For the last couple of weeks there were rumors to the effect that a large group of ranked officers in Turkish Armed Forces would be forced to retire by the end of summer. My guess is that last night's move was an organized attempt by this group of officers. The quite obvious lack of organization and inefficiency observed in the attempted coup can also be explained without resorting to conspiracy theories or theatricality of a staged ploy: The junta prepares for, or at least entertains the idea of a coup but somehow the news of the attempt is leaked and rumor gets around. Government learns about this. The disappearance of Erdoğan for the last week and the excitement of several foreign embassies in the last few days can also be attributed to these rumors. It is also quite possible that the government, with the comfort of being forewarned and realizing the limits of the junta, may have planned to turn this into an advantage and instrumentalize a potential coup for its own benefit. They may have also planned to catch all the junta in the act thus making it a more open and shut case.

Obviously the junta would know that its cover had been blown and in return they may have acted prematurely as a last resort, to save their asses and made the last night's gamble. I think, this is the most logical explanation of why the coup seemed like a farce.

As to the the aftermath, I think Erdoğan is most right when he frames this as a providence from God. This coup attempt could not have come at a better time. The u-turn in foreign policy, the admittance of failure in Syria, the great purge within the party, the issue of Syrian refugees all had brought the party esprit-de-corps to an all time low and alienated Erdoğan to his base. And as such, it provided Erdoğan a decisive victory in domestic politics. Now he is a victorious leader once again, a veteran. The people flooding the streets were also united in their leader's defense and this turned into an opportunity to overcome the alienation. Erdoğan will once again acquire the status of rightly-guided leader who is led and provided by by God. And of course there is no doubt that he will use this credit to utmost limits.

Kind of like the Auspicious Affair (Vaka-yı Hayriye) of 1826 whereby the Janissary corps were abolished once and for-all, this failed coup has a facet of auspiciousness. Yet, imagining the aftermath we can also predict that it will have several facets which will prove quite oppressive and burdensome for Turkish citizens.
posted by standardasparagus at 9:26 AM on July 16, 2016 [24 favorites]


you'd think that, either way, Erdogan needs to convince people that the coup attempt was real.

Except that Turkey, like much of the world these days, is politically polarized. In this case, it's between Erdoğan's supporters and his opponents. Erdoğan's supporters don't need convincing, and Erdoğan has shown repeatedly that he he doesn't care what his opponents think.
posted by klausness at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Guardian's live blog is reporting on protests in Ankara's Kizilay Square, where people celebrating the fall of the coup are chanting "There is no left or right wing, only Ankara, the last castle.”

Anyone know what this idea of the 'last castle' means? I see that it pops up occasionally in reporting on Turkey, so it must be some standard phrase in Turkish: e.g. to describe Gezi Park and Turkey itself.

Is it simply the idea of a single point of resistance against overwhelming odds? Does it have the connotations of 'last stand' in English, where typically those making their last stand expect to lose?
posted by crazy with stars at 11:41 AM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Would Erodigan's post coup agenda be different to external observers depending on if it was an inside job? I doubt it.
posted by humanfont at 11:43 AM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's weird that the news and perspective offered here is second only to the BBC in terms of English language internet coverage of the events.
posted by midmarch snowman at 12:01 PM on July 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


Power to Incirlik air base has been cut and access to the base has been blocked.

Twitter sez that the government is alleging that coup airplanes were refueled by a Turkish tanker from the base. Meanwhile Erdogan is demanding Gulen's arrest and extradition from the US.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:38 PM on July 16, 2016


Reports of mobs chanting religious slogans attacking Alevi neighborhoods. Police water cannons following up. (Note that no one has claimed that Alevis had anything to do with the coup attempt.)
posted by klausness at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2016


The Alevi neighborhood in question is Gazi Mahallesi, which is apparently a frequent target of Sunni extremists (not to mention official anti-Alevi discrimination). At this point, it looks like the mobs have withdrawn.
posted by klausness at 12:57 PM on July 16, 2016


Here's some footage from Gazi Mahallesi.
posted by klausness at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2016


Now there are rumors of fires being set in Ankara neighborhoods that house Syrian refugees.
posted by klausness at 2:06 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Now academics have started penning op-ed pieces, this from one of Turkey's most respected political scientists, Ayşe Kadıoğlu. Further links below that article by other well respected academics written just before the attempted coup, about the dire state of politics in the country.
posted by zany pita at 2:34 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm very sad to see that the coup failed, or is failing. I admit I have not spent a lot of time thinking about Turkey for most of my life, but recently I've met some Turkish friends who are studying at the local university. One is fairly pro-Erdogan, the other very anti. Speaking with both of them yesterday, they both seemed to think this was the end of the place they call home, and would lead to further civil war, or an Islamist theocracy.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 2:51 PM on July 16, 2016


Very poignant, that article, zany pita; she references a very recent academic study that characterizes the situation as "rising competitive authoritarianism".

All of this bodes very badly, for Turkey, for Europe and far beyond.

Question for those closest to the situation, and/or the historically aware: what's the most useful course of action for a concerned outsider vis à vis this new Turkey?
posted by progosk at 3:00 PM on July 16, 2016


I found this article, which includes input from Jenny White, a professor at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies, illuminating, especially as someone who had previously had an impression of Turkey that was outdated (namely, a unified military as the protector of the secular Kemalist state). A good quote:
"The generals are Kemalists. They are not secularists. Neither side is secularist. Secularism means that there is a differentiation between church and state. In Turkey it is laicist but gets translated as secularist, which muddies the issue. Kemalists controlled religion in society and preferred Sunnis. I hate using secular because it makes it sounds like they are the good guys and everyone else is bad."
posted by TheNewWazoo at 3:46 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


So, does anyone know who the guy in the pink shirt on CNN Turk was? Because I want to believe he's some kind of hero.
posted by vrakatar at 4:11 PM on July 16, 2016


klausness: I admit that my friends are mostly highly-educated anti-Erdoğan secularists, so that's going to influence their perspectives.

That's your problem. Look, most of my Turkish friends outside of Turkey--and many of those there--are also highly-educated anti-Erdoğan secularists! (are you familiar with the term Beyaz Türkler? that's who you're talking to...) But there's a profound echo chamber effect at work, coupled with a long history of elite disdain for mass politics, that means I am wary of taking those friends' perspectives at face value. Just realize that who you're talking to really structures the picture you get of the situation--this is a concern for me too, since as I said, a lot of people I'm close to are from a similar background. I make a point of engaging with (and following on social media) a number of folks from very different positions in Turkish society precisely because I don't want to parrot received wisdom, even from people I share many values with. (A huge problem with western media coverage of Turkey is that many of the people who write it tend to socialize and interact primarily with a narrow slice of elites in İstanbul and Ankara, and that means they miss things--kind of a Pauline Kael "who voted for Nixon?" problem).

By the way, I'd suggest following Zeynep Tüfekçi on twitter (@zeynep)--her feed has been consistently smart and clear-eyed (even though she's very much from the same educated elite secular background). I also think Ali Eren Topal's "working theory" cited above is plausible. This wasn't a staged coup, but it may be an instrumentalized one.

uncomplicated soups of my childhood: I'm very sad to see that the coup failed, or is failing. I admit I have not spent a lot of time thinking about Turkey for most of my life

There are several people in this thread, myself included, who have spent a great deal of time thinking about Turkey for much of our lives. I can't begin to express how frustrating this kind of glib hot-take-from-a-distance is, especially in circumstances when a lot of people have just died and people we care about are at risk. I don't know if the failure of the coup will lead to civil war, but its success absolutely would have.
posted by karayel at 4:25 PM on July 16, 2016 [35 favorites]



If the reports on the arrests of a couple of thousand judges are true, it's hard to imagine that the government didn't have a list ready for a while, waiting for an excuse to carry out the arrests.

Yes, the purge of the judiciary was already in the works, and has been for some time--to understand what's going on you really have to have some grasp of the AKP-Erdoğan-Gülen movement mess. For a decade or more, the Gülen movement was a key element of the AKP base and very much part of the party structure, and during that period many people associated with the movement became part of the (formerly more secular-nationalist) institutions of the state: army, judiciary, civil bureaucracy, etc. Since the abrupt Erdoğan-Gülen breakup (triggered by the corruption scandal in 2013, among other things) the Erdoğan-dominated wing of the AKP has been purging Gülenists, or supposed Gülenists, from the party itself and all of these institutions. It seems likely that the coup was the work of a bunch of mid-ranking officers who knew they were going to be purged after an upcoming armed forces review meeting in August, and reacted by trying to overthrow the government first. Whether Gülen himself or other elements of the movement were involved is something I'd be wary of claiming without hard evidence.
posted by karayel at 4:41 PM on July 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


This piece is by Jenny White, an anthropologist who has written extensively about the rise of political Islam in Turkey. She's also interviewed in Slate . In a few days, if not tomorrow, we probably will get posts on Jadaliyya, though I did not see any yet. The situation is certainly volatile, frictions have been on the rise not just between the major polarized factions (anti and pro-Erdoganists), but also against Alevis, Kurds, and most recently, Syrian refugees.
posted by zany pita at 4:46 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


yeah, the Jenny White interview is really good (I think better than her op-ed, actually) for an overview of historical and contextual background. I also second the recommendation of Jadaliyya as a good source in general for popular-academic analysis of current events (admittedly I'm biased, since I know the Turkey page editors and have written for them in the past...) MERIP is another good source, though there's nothing up on their blog yet. But back issues have excellent coverage of Turkish politics for those who want to delve deeper.

also, zany pita, I agree with your point raising concern about the instrumentalization of religion by the AKP/Erdoğan, and particularly the fear that this kind of thing will further inflame sectarian sentiments against Alevis in particular. I just find myself pushing back on a lot of comments that too easily conflate "religious" with "Islamist" and "AKP voter" with both. I'm seeing the same images from the streets--but there are also a lot of people out there who aren't wearing religious garb or chanting allahüekber too. If anything, the overwhelming tone seems to be the usual flag-draped macho nationalism, complete with distressing news of some attacks on HDP offices.
posted by karayel at 5:12 PM on July 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I admit that my friends are mostly highly-educated anti-Erdoğan secularists, so that's going to influence their perspectives.
That's your problem. [...] there's a profound echo chamber effect at work...


I'm aware of that possibility. But some of my friends are academics who spend a lot of time thinking about exactly the issues you mention, so I know that they make an effort to adjust for their biases. Still, no one can overcome the biases entirely, which is why I mentioned the biases of my sources.

I also think Ali Eren Topal's "working theory" cited above is plausible. This wasn't a staged coup, but it may be an instrumentalized one.

Yes, I had mentioned the possibility of an instumentalized coup myself. In fact, I find Topal's theory (at least in its broad outlines) to be the most plausible one I've heard. Basically, the government got wind of an impending coup attempt and let it proceed (rather than stopping it, as they could have) so that they could capitalize on it. To ensure that it failed, they somehow forced the plotters' hands so that they made the attempt before they were fully ready. I find that more plausible than a staged coup, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a widespread belief that the coup was in fact staged.

I'm very sad to see that the coup failed, or is failing. I admit I have not spent a lot of time thinking about Turkey for most of my life
... I can't begin to express how frustrating this kind of glib hot-take-from-a-distance is, especially in circumstances when a lot of people have just died and people we care about are at risk.


Totally agreed. As bad as Erdoğan is (and I think he certainly is bad), a successful coup would be worse. The effects of previous coups were severe and long-lasting, and no one should wish for that to return. In fact, one could argue that the rise of Erdoğan is a long-term consequence of the 1980 coup and its aftermath.
posted by klausness at 5:14 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


A bit of background from Dexter Filkins, in a New Yorker longread from 2012: The Deep State: The Prime Minister is revered as a moderate, but how far will he go to stay in power?
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:26 PM on July 16, 2016


I'm glad the coup failed. It would have been an awful thing, far more awful than the situation we see now. History shows that military strongmen seldom deliver on their promises and are awful for human rights.
posted by humanfont at 7:01 PM on July 16, 2016




Just wanted to say thank-you to karayel for the fantastic insight and commentary in this thread - you have done an outstanding job of taking complex and intertwined information and made it understandable.

This coup has had a very direct impact on people we know. We leave the country on Wednesday and know that it is going to be a very different place when we return in two months.
posted by Megami at 1:05 AM on July 17, 2016 [8 favorites]


The purge begins in Turkey.
posted by klausness at 4:36 AM on July 17, 2016


I think this is going to get very ugly as Erdogan vows to 'clean state of virus' as 6,000 are arrested, more expected and 2,745 judges dismissed.
The language is comparable to that used in another country 80 years ago.
There are also reports that the Head of Counterterrorism has been shot by the coup plotters
So Erdogan becomes the Law. This should be no surprise when seeing how he has recently closed down the Press and all intellectual opposition.
posted by adamvasco at 6:55 AM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hard to believe that a successful coup would have been worse. But then I suppose there would have been purges either way. What a horrible world.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:10 AM on July 17, 2016




Hard to believe that a successful coup would have been worse.

I'm inclined to believe the people I know who have lived through both the 1980 coup and the Erdoğan years. They all would love to get rid of Erdoğan, but they also believe that a coup would be worse. Which is not to say that Erdoğan might not rise to the challenge and make things as bad as during the coup years. But he hasn't done that so far.
posted by klausness at 9:36 AM on July 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


ianbremmer's take(s):
  • Worth debate: At what point does NATO need to question issue of Turkey's suitability for alliance?
  • US/NATO has a dilemma: support increasingly authoritarian (but democratically elected) Erdogan? Suspect they hedge for a bit.
  • NATO (read: US) supported the last military coup in Turkey, in 1980... Incirlik, where America keeps its nukes. In Turkey. #TheMoreYouKnow
  • If Erdogan restored, Gulen's position in US would create unprecedented US/Turkey crisis.
  • Failed coup means more authoritarianism in Turkey. But Erdogan won't be able to change constitution / create a presidential system. Erdogan envies domestic power of Putin. But Turkey's institutions are too strong & Erdogan's support base too narrow to bring it about.
  • Pre-coup, Erdogan's popularity was, um, tanking... folks not so happy about where Turkey was headed. #JustWait
  • Turkey coup: All over but the repression.
also btw...
-Dani Rodrik: My piece on Turkey's baffling coup
-previously: Narrative Power in Turkey
-In 2014, @rodrikdani's 'Memo to the world' on #Turkey was spot on. 'Two evils' are now one
posted by kliuless at 9:56 AM on July 17, 2016 [5 favorites]




I am not at all excited about living in a world where there aren't enough Kemalists in Turkey to take it over.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:53 AM on July 17, 2016


Failed coup means more authoritarianism in Turkey. But Erdogan won't be able to change constitution / create a presidential system. Erdogan envies domestic power of Putin. But Turkey's institutions are too strong & Erdogan's support base too narrow to bring it about.

Does Bremmer have any evidence for that? I'd like to believe that Erdoğan can't grab the power he wants, but I'm not so optimistic about the situation. I think this coup attempt may just give Erdoğan the political capital to push through the constitutional changes he's looking for. Not that he really needs those changes, since he's already been successfully acting as if he were in charge in a presidential system, despite there being no constitutional basis for it, and no one has been able to stop him.
posted by klausness at 11:12 AM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rodrik's piece on the coup attempt (posted by kliuless above) is an interesting companion to the New York Times article I posted. There's just a lot that's very odd about the situation.
posted by klausness at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2016


Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004. So whatever happens to them they won't be executed.

Looks like Erdogan wants to change that.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:23 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


It is impossible by Bremmer's chart to figure out if Erdogan's popularity was tanking, as it stops in Spring 2015. I'm not saying it wasn't, just that it doesn't follow from the evidence he presents. Was it?
posted by talos at 2:57 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yep, to care about the death penalty having been abolished you have to care about the rule of law. Erdogan doesn't seem to. (This doesn't mean the coup plotters do; that's almost tautological of course.)
posted by Justinian at 6:27 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Could the timing of this have anything to do with Brexit? It seems like for as long as I can remember, the promise of possible entry into the EU has been the diplomatic carrot of choice for European and American diplomatic efforts in the region. If this does turn out to have been a false flag coup or "instrumentalized" coup as someone put it upthread, and with all the saber rattling toward the US coming from Erdogan now (at one point, he was actually blaming the US for orchestrating the coup), is it possible this is a knock-on effect of the UK's withdrawal making EU membership look less attractive, prompting Erdogan to play his hand and make this move as a prelude to a more aggressive and hostile posture toward the US and our regional allies?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:43 PM on July 17, 2016


Yesterday Radio New Zealand interviewed Robert Amsterdam^, a Canadian lawyer who represents the Turkish government in some overseas lawsuits against the Gülenists, and unsurprisingly blames the coup on Gülen. He also has lots of nice things to say about Erdogan.
posted by XMLicious at 3:26 AM on July 18, 2016


Erdogan is purging dozens of provincial and district governors and thousands of judges. All of which came down within hours of the coup. That's some mighty fine detective work to identify how all those folks were involved in a failed coup so quickly.
posted by Justinian at 3:45 AM on July 18, 2016 [12 favorites]


Four inconvenient questions . The ongoing crackdown was definitely prepared in advance.
This Weekend of the Long Knives should definitely be giving NATO leaders food for thought as John Kerry states Turkey could fall foul of Nato's "requirement with respect to democracy"
posted by adamvasco at 9:00 AM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]




France24 claims that the arrest count now exceeds 7,500 with The interior ministry saying almost 9,000 police, municipal governors and other officials had also been dismissed in a widening purge.
Saudi Arabian authorities arrested the Turkish military attache in Kuwait, Mikael Ihsanoglu, at Dammam airport. The military attache was traveling from Kuwait to Germany.
posted by adamvasco at 3:03 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Turkey government seemed to have list of arrests prepared: EU's Hahn
The swift rounding up of judges and others after a failed coup in Turkey indicated the government had prepared a list beforehand, the EU commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, Johannes Hahn, said on Monday.

Turkey widens post-coup purge, demands Washington hand over cleric
At height of Turkish coup bid, rebel jets had Erdogan's plane in their sights

Following a failed coup attempt on Saturday, Turkish authorities on Sunday rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters, ranging from top commanders to foot soldiers, and the same number of judges and prosecutors.

"It looks at least as if something has been prepared. The lists are available, which indicates it was prepared and to be used at a certain stage," Hahn said.

"I'm very concerned. It is exactly what we feared."
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:13 PM on July 18, 2016 [8 favorites]




Apparently the government has requested the resignation of the deans of every university in Turkey. Between this and the other purges, creating a new class of tens of thousands of unemployed highly-educated and well-connected people with good reason to hate the government doesn't seem like the world's greatest idea to me.
posted by Copronymus at 7:55 AM on July 19, 2016 [4 favorites]




Turks are soon going to be the largest group of refugees in Europe.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:54 AM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who is a Turkish judge. He has been telling me for months about persecution of members of the judiciary by Erdogan's government. He is convinced Erdogan stage managed this "coup" to give himself the means for a complete strong man takeover.

At this point it is getting harder to disagree with him.
posted by bearwife at 10:07 AM on July 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


The Nation has an interesting piece about  Fethullah Gülen and how various educational enterprises associated with him are  the highest users of H1B visas:

As the The Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out, Gülen schools are among the nation’s highest users of H1B visas, receiving 684 approvals for visas in 2009, outpacing corporate multinationals, such as Google, which only got 440 that year. Similarly, from 2001–15, the Texas Gülen chain, Harmony Public Schools, filed 3,280 visa applications for numerous positions, including physical education teachers, English teachers, human-resources managers, superintendents, and counselors, which would not seem to be hard to fill from the domestic labor pool.

Amsterdam & Partners, a law firm representing the Turkish government, estimates such H-1B expenditures may have cost the Gülen Texas schools over $6.5 million in public funds.

While the network’s schools cite a supposed lack of qualified teachers in the United States, Hendricks points out that journalists should be asking why the schools seem only able to find these high-caliber instructors in Turkey. And some parents and students claim these teachers are not always experienced, and sometimes struggle to communicate in English.
Still not sure how involved Gülen has been in the coup but it's obvious that he and his movement try to influence Turkish politics from abroad.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:33 AM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


A few years ago, there were certainly plenty of Gülenists in various government offices, since Erdoğan helped put them there. Gülen helped get Erdoğan into power, and they basically split up government offices between then. They had a falling-out in 2013, and Erdoğan has been trying to purge Gülenists ever since them. None of this means that the Gülenists were actually behind the coup. The Gülenists don't really go in for overt violence like this, and most of them had already been purged when the coup happened. But they're Erdoğan's favorite scapegoats.
posted by klausness at 11:26 AM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]






Turkish navy ships still missing since attempted coup – as it remains unclear which side admirals are on

Fourteen ships that were on active duty in the Aegean or the Black Sea haven't made contact with the Turkish government since the coup, and their whereabouts are unknown. (Though there is speculation they may be heading for asylum in Greek ports.) The Admiral in charge of the navy is also missing, but no one knows if he was part of the coup or maybe kidnapped by them.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:41 PM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]




Perhaps having seen the power of mass protest to stop the coup they same voices will now stand up to Erodigan.
posted by humanfont at 4:11 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


receiving 684 approvals for visas in 2009, outpacing corporate multinationals, such as Google, which only got 440 that year.

So did he just have his guys get real good at getting H1Bs or does he have some USG buddies assisting with the paperwork?
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


You probably get more H1B visas when the requests are spread among many enterprises than if you're a single large business. This isn't underhanded or broken; it's the way the system is supposed to work. That being said, it looks to me as though Gülen does have friends in the State Department, and the US government has not been shy about using soft power in the past.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:14 PM on July 19, 2016


In the interview with Robert Amsterdam (of the Amsterdam & Partners firm mentioned in The Nation excerpt above, representing the Turkish government) he alleges mass visa fraud and that the Gülenist organization is aided in various ways by multiple branches of the U.S. government. (But again, he appears to also be functioning as a personal PR promoter for Erdogan.)
posted by XMLicious at 5:34 PM on July 19, 2016


Gülen, diving deeper into his background, seems to be a fan of democracy, equal rights for men and women, and consideration and empathy for minority ethnicities - Hizmet is pro-Kurd while being anti-separatist. I am distrustful of the internet, but, man. Meanwhile, the Strong Leader who calls him Gülen incarnate is purging every last intellectual in public life not personally beholden to his bold new Putinocracy.

Also Greece now has a kick-ass Navy. I am completely positive Greece will give back all of the Turkish warships surrendering for asylum in her ports. Sure.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:44 PM on July 19, 2016


Turkey bans all academics from travel.

This is going downhill very fast.
posted by klausness at 3:28 AM on July 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


From that WaPo article: The government has also announced an “important decision” is expected Wednesday after a meeting of the national security leaders

Rumor has it that the government will be imposing martial law.
posted by klausness at 3:36 AM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Turkey blocks access to WikiLeaks after ruling party email dump: "WikiLeaks on Tuesday released nearly 300,000 emails from the AK Party dating from 2010 to July 6 this year. Obtained before the attempted coup, the date of their publication was brought forward "in response to the government's post-coup purges", WikiLeaks said on its website. {...} Turkey routinely uses Internet shutdowns in response to political events, which critics and human rights advocates see as part of a broader attack on the media and freedom of expression."
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:00 AM on July 20, 2016


This is fine. Europe hasn't been the same since the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
posted by Justinian at 12:23 PM on July 20, 2016




cross-posting from the Nice thread: The World is Stuck in an Endless Death Spiral

And once you notice the pattern, you start seeing it everywhere. Take the failed coup in Turkey: Erdoğan's government was increasingly despotic, corrupt and unhinged, and so a military cabal tried to overthrow it in the name of a constitutional democratic secularism that has, at the same time, never been averse to a little mild genocide. Some 145 civilians were killed in the attempt, there was horrifying footage of attack helicopters firing on crowds and guns cracking as protesters crossed the Bosporus, and the response from Erdoğan has been more repression, more purges, more restrictions on the press and a faster clearing-out of all the last trappings of liberal democracy.

For the people who really suffer at the hands of the Turkish state – Kurdish people or religious minorities – this couldn't have seemed a battle between opposing sides, but two elements of their oppression – the state and the military – each giving the other a leg up. [...] No hope, no respite. The bad side is always fighting itself, and it always wins.

posted by progosk at 2:20 PM on July 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


(even Mario Gómez wants out...)
posted by progosk at 2:50 PM on July 20, 2016


Conspiracy theories in Turkey

After the coup, Turkey turns against America

Turkish media and even government officials accuse America of being in on the plot


Economist
posted by rosswald at 4:00 PM on July 20, 2016


Things People Blame the Jews For, Volume XXVIII: The Coup Attempt in Turkey
[...] one of the six senior officers arrested in the aftermath of the coup attempt had served as Turkey's military attache to Israel .... almost 20 years ago.

Now sure, that may seem like a tenuous connection. But you don't control the world for thousands and thousands of years without knowing how to play the long game. Good sleuthing, everyone -- you've solved the puzzle [...]
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:17 PM on July 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Turkey suspends European convention on human rights in wake of failed coup.
posted by adamvasco at 7:41 AM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Turkey MPs approve state of emergency bill allowing rule by decree

It's not like it's subtle at this point.
posted by jaduncan at 12:45 PM on July 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


More than 60k people detained since the attempt, according to av article I read this morning.

Meanwhile erdogan is blocking websites on one hand and texting everyone on the country with the other.

They are still talking about "maintaining fundamental rights and freedoms". That ship sailed a while go...
posted by smoke at 3:40 PM on July 21, 2016




"Democracy is like a train: when you reach your destination, you get off."

-Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

welp.
posted by Justinian at 4:01 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Contrary to huffs and puffs coming out of Washington and Paris, Turkey's experience shows that its NATO membership guarantees it can do what it pleases internally as long as it serves US and NATO externally.
With the alliance “reinvigorated,” this is not the time for a sudden break. It’s important to remember that there’s little chance of anything beyond talk on the NATO membership question.
posted by adamvasco at 4:06 PM on July 21, 2016


You know, on reflection, how could that 60k figure be right? That's a huge number of people. Maybe the article for the more common six k figure mixed up.
posted by smoke at 4:34 PM on July 21, 2016


The article is probably lumping in all the folks who have been suspended from work -- teachers, police, bureaucrats -- among those actually detained (mutineers and associates).
posted by notyou at 4:38 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think 60k is all affected people, including arrested, detained, fired, and put on leave. Apparently, Turkish media are reporting that there are currently 7190 people detained and 1690 arrested. Most of those detained or arrested appear to be from the military.
posted by klausness at 4:43 PM on July 21, 2016


Prior to the emergency measures, the government had already imposed a crackdown that has included mass arrests, suspensions, forced resignations and the closure of hundreds of schools. Nearly 70,000 government or military employees were affected in total, including close to 10,000 arrests.
posted by adamvasco at 5:14 PM on July 21, 2016


(finger slip posted too soon) Yes this is a huge number and as the links in my last post show the western powers will make noises and do nothing. There are rumours that football stadia are being used and that raises ominous recollections of what happened in Chile.
Turkey has never been afraid of a bloodbath.
“The people have the opinion that these terrorists should be killed,” Erdoğan said in interview for CNN on Monday night. “Why should I keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come? That’s what the people say.” Erdoğan said the final decision lay with parliament and that “as the president, I will approve any decision to come out of the parliament”.
And now Erdogan can rule by decree.
Dark days.
posted by adamvasco at 5:25 PM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do the people who think it is much better that the coup failed still feel that way? This is not a sarcastic question, I don't live there and am wondering what the view is now given what Erdogan is doing. 'Cause it seems like he's going Full Tyrant.
posted by Justinian at 5:58 PM on July 21, 2016


Of the three possibilities, I'd certainly agree that a failed coup was the worst of them. I just don't think a successful coup would have been good either, despite Erdogan's increasing megalomania; that's not how a democracy should work. Though Erdogan is certainly doing his best to justify it retroactively.
posted by tavella at 6:02 PM on July 21, 2016


My dear friend is an academic who is now living (in his home country) in Turkey. I am worried for him, but honestly afraid to post anything or query on facebook now (my way to reach him) in case it points out his international links and becomes problematic...

I have no idea if that is rational. The day of the failed coup I sent a general note saying hope he and his family are ok. . .

I am very much appreciating the updates and links here.
posted by chapps at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Post-Putsch Narratives and Turkey's Curious Coup (The Turkey Analyst)
posted by Kabanos at 8:22 AM on July 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Turkish “coup”: a view from Russia (Intersection: Russia/Europe/World)
posted by Kabanos at 8:26 AM on July 22, 2016 [1 favorite]




Turkey trying to track down Gülen supporters in Sweden
The hotline for informing on alleged Güllenists goes directly to President Erdogan's office.

The Turkish government is trying to track down supporters of the moderate Islamist Gülen movement, both at home and abroad after the attempted coup last week.

The government has set up a hotline where members of the public can call in to report Gülen sympathizers, who the Turkish government believes are responsible for the failed coup.

...

A Swedish Radio reporter called the number and it rang through to Turkey’s presidential office. The person on the other end confirmed that they were also interested in any details about Gülen sympathizers in Sweden including personal data and addresses.

When asked who is in charge of this initiative, the response was: The president. The State.

International law expert Ove Bring says these types of intelligence activities could be illegal and could qualify as espionage against refugees. He believes that Sweden has the ability to push back on Turkey.

“I think, since the Turkish state is involved, it can be a matter for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to summon the Turkish Ambassador and have a serious conversation about this and say that it is not appropriate,” he told Swedish Radio.
Turkish ambassador: It's natural that Turkey wants tips about Gülen supporters in Sweden
posted by XMLicious at 3:53 AM on July 23, 2016


Erdogan shuts schools, charities in first state of emergency decree.
This is the biggest witch-hunt in Turkey’s history and
extends detention without charge to 30 days.
1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions have been shut down.
posted by adamvasco at 9:50 AM on July 23, 2016 [3 favorites]




Wikileaks releases 30,000 Erdogan emails. The dump
contains spreadsheets of private, sensitive information of what appears to be every female voter in 79 out of 81 provinces in Turkey, including their home addresses and other private information, sometimes including their cellphone numbers. ... I have confirmed that these files indeed appear to contain correct private information by confirming that dozens of my friends and family members in multiple cities were included in that database, to my horror, with accurate private data. The files also include whether or not these women were AKP members — right after a brutal and bloody coup attempt to overthrow the AKP.
posted by clawsoon at 9:03 AM on July 25, 2016


“Read this whole thread
‘Instead of "AKP emails", Wikileaks dumped private info of ALMOST EVERY WOMAN in Turkey Yes. https://t.co/oteB3xwPLX pic.twitter.com/D6cgHaoFd3’— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) July 25, 2016
‘It was reported widely in Western media as "Erdogan Emails" because Wikileaks claimed that. They weren't. Apparently, nobody checked it.’— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) July 25, 2016
”— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) July 25, 2016
posted by ob1quixote at 9:45 AM on July 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


How nice of Assange to hand Erdogan a list to use in his next round of purges.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:07 AM on July 25, 2016


Wikileaks dumped private info of ALMOST EVERY WOMAN in Turkey

Assange really is a narcissistic scumbag who doesn't care whom he hurts as he pursues his political agenda, pretending all the while to be a noble whistleblower.
posted by klausness at 1:34 PM on July 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, 42 journalists arrested.
posted by klausness at 1:36 PM on July 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


For what it might be worth (probably very little) The arch Conservative newspaper Yeni Safak, which has been known to resort to hate speech has claimed US Commander Campbell as The man behind the failed coup in Turkey and Millions of dollars of money has been transferred from Nigeria to Turkey by a group of CIA personnel.
posted by adamvasco at 3:50 PM on July 25, 2016


Putin has been busy lately undermining the west!
posted by notyou at 4:05 PM on July 25, 2016




Fascinating link, homunculus.

WhatsApp was instrumental to them, as was controlling phonelines (occupying the Coordination Center and Telekom, or by just not answering) and public broadcating; Erdoğan prevailed via FaceTime, private broadcasting (CNN Türk) and minaret PA.
posted by progosk at 3:21 AM on July 28, 2016


I suppose things could have shifted towards the coup-plotters (where are they now, BTW?) but it looked to me as if they never had the critical mass necessary for success.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:13 PM on July 28, 2016


They missed Erdogan by minutes, allegedly, which would have changed things dramatically.

Someone above linked to a FlightStats track of Erdogan's plane. For the first few hours it circled over SW Turkey (near his vacation spot?) before heading to Istanbul, suggesting just how touch and go things were in the early stages.

Histories are written in moments.
posted by notyou at 5:32 PM on July 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 24
More than 100 media organizations shuttered by decree
A decree signed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday shuttered three news agencies, 16 television stations, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines, and 29 publishing houses and distribution companies. The decree also ordered the shuttered organizations' assets to be transferred to the state's treasury, but stipulated that the state would not assume the organizations' debts. Going forward, any cabinet member may order the closure of any media organization if he deems it a threat to national security, the decree said. [...]
More chronicles and individual articles linked from that page.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:17 PM on July 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


'Young, old, conservative, liberal’: Turkey in shock over journalists’ arrest
Exiled writer Mahir Zeynalov brings news of president Erdoğan’s crackdown on the media.
posted by adamvasco at 9:17 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's amazing how quickly Turkey has gone from "plausible EU member"
to "Iran with a better haircut".
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:46 PM on July 30, 2016 [5 favorites]




From that last link, some rather nasty stuff that I wasn't aware of:
Fethullah Gülen, the Jews, and hypocrisy

It's pretty much par for the course in the Islamic world, I'm afraid, but it's still deplorable; and surprising to find in someone who has been portrayed as such an accommodationist.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:52 AM on July 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just as God unleashes the hawk to evolve the sparrow’s capability for flight, with the Jews He keeps humans alert and under tension. From a different perspective, we can look at Jews as humanity’s vice-urging self [nefs-i emmâresi].

I don't speak Arabic or Turkish but it looks to me like that's the same phrase as the inciting nafs (an-nafs al-ʾammārah) or nafs-i ammare.
posted by XMLicious at 5:08 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]












From that link: According to the organistion, all the publishers’ goods, assets, rights and documents have been transferred to the Turkshire treasury, which will not be liable for any monies owed by these publishing houses.

Firstly, lol "Turkshire".

More importantly, what the hell is going on? This is just out-and-out civil plundering.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 PM on August 3, 2016


Putinism. Erdoğan has been supporting ISIL, got caught on it, and now accuses the USA of throwing the coup. In the meantime, his economic miracle is at the very tail end of its scheme. Much like Putin's Russian Empire, it cannot sustain. Erdoğan is pivoting toward Russia for the first time in that proud nation's history. Because Erdoğan want's to be First among Equal Oligarchs, just like Vladimir.

One Man. One Vote. One Time.

Turkey is no longer a NATO ally.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:23 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Western response to the coup attempt is scary. The author is a respected journalist and political scientist who has been a target of Erdoğan's ire, so she is definitely not writing from a pro-Erdoğan point of view.

Many anti-Erdoğan people who originally suspected Erdoğan of being behind the coup attempt are now finding the claims of Gülenist involvement much more plausible. But, as someone said to me, the only thing we know for sure is that no one is telling us the truth about what really happened.
posted by klausness at 3:01 PM on August 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


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