Retire Mechanical engineer. Student at California State university Channel Island studiyingAbout Me

July 17, 2016

Thoughts on the Failed Turkish Coup from an American's Perspective

By Nancy Webster Kaya

I am an American proudly married to a Turk. I have come to love Turkey as my second home and have been accepted with open arms by my in-laws. In fact, my dear mother-in-law, who is 92 years young, renamed me Gulten, meaning rose. I have had the privilege of visiting many parts of Turkey and hoped to visit much more. Eventually, my husband and I had planned on living part of the year on the Aegean coast.

All of that changed on Friday, July 15, 2016. My heart grieves for Turkey, for all my relatives and my friends. Sadly, I believe (but, hope that I am wrong) that the 90+ year secular democracy founded by Ataturk has seen the shining light go out. I grieve for my husband and my dear friends here in America, because, to them, they feel as though they have lost their homeland.

What really happened? As of today, Sunday, the facts are still trickling out. But, I must go back to Friday and share our thoughts and feelings as the day unfolded. When the news broke on CNN, my husband and I looked at each other in complete shock. We immediately went online – my husband to all his Turkish websites and news outlets and me to Facebook.

We both had initial high hopes that this was a real coup and that Erdogan would be removed from power and a new government formed. When Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923, a provision was added into the constitution that if ever a government in power veered away from secular democracy, the military had the power to remove and replace that government. In the past 90 years it has been called into play only 4 times.

As the afternoon progressed into evening, things didn’t seem right. Where was Erdogan? Why hadn’t he been taken into custody? Then, there came a strange Facetime message from Erdogan calling for all his followers to go into the streets and fight the coup. From there things turned very, very bad. People were being shot, many explosions, and there was utter chaos in both Istanbul and in Ankara. Both sides claimed they had control of the country.

The next major event was Erdogan landing at Istanbul Airport to a very large, cheering crowd. He espoused that the government was fully in control and that those who perpetrated the coup would be severely punished. My husband and I went to bed with heavy hearts, not knowing what we would wake up to. Just how could a coup fail so miserably and so quickly?

A posting by a Turkish friend, TC Mi Ne Oz.

“Turkish Military does not fail if they want to do a coup. They are experienced. Turkish Military's purpose to protect and defend Turkish Republic's sovereignty. This so called "coup attempt" nothing to do with our military. Those small amount of soldiers did not even know why they told to go to that bridge. Erdogan has been doing a coup since he became president. He took Turkey backwards at least 30 years.

This is a staged civil coup done by him to gain even more power and excuse to continue to change the constitution and arrest the rest of the military officials to stay in the power. Because Turkish military is the only power left standing in his way. A very dirty game has been played. R.I.P. innocent people who got killed by blood thirsty religious freaks.”

All day Saturday it was the consensus of opinion that Erdogan was behind the coup in an effort to consolidate his ever growing power and his dream of turning Turkey into the new caliphate. We tried to keep busy, tried to keep our minds off the news, but there was no consolation.

By Saturday evening the news came in that there were ongoing mass arrests totaling over 2,000. The Erdogan Government security agencies have been arresting a high number of judges, officers, soldiers, bureaucrats, across the 81 provinces in the last hours. Then, we began to hear rumors that it was possibly Fethullah Gulen that was behind the failed coup.

As of today, Sunday, the number of arrested had increased to over 6,000. Their fate? Unknown. The latest update on who was possibly behind the coup came in an article in the Cumhuriyet. A friend translated for me.

“Apparently there is evidence that indicates police were about to conduct a raid on cemaat (Gulen) members in the military on the morning of July 16. Therefore, cemaat (Gulen) members in the army decided - hastily - to initiate a coup on the 15th as a last ditch effort. Army is the only stronghold left for cemaat, Fethullah did not want to lose it. But the rushed effort had planning problems, as well as a lack of support in the upper echelon in the Armed Forces.

This required them to take control of the Chief of Staff and his entourage first, before chasing AKP guys down. In the interim, AKP had the opportunity to bail and cover, and called people out on the streets. This proved to be a major turning point in events, leading to a failure. Lack of support in the military as well as press and political establishment also hurt the coup attempt. This is why it looks like a rookie effort.”

From the – “In retaliation, the reclusive cleric blamed by Turkey’s president for the failed coup in Turkey claims the uprising by the country’s military may have been “staged” by the government.

In a rare interview, Fethullah Gülen, who is in exile in the US, denied all claims he was behind the coup and instead made the counter-claim that Turkey’s president had orchestrated the revolt. He told The Guardian: ‘I don’t believe that the world believes the accusations made by President Erdoğan.’”

Was it Erdogan? Was it Gulen? If it was Gulen, then that would indicate the CIA was ultimately behind it, since they have been protecting him here in the US for many years. What will happen going forward? Will Erdogan succeed in getting the number of votes to change the constitution making him president for life? What will happen to democracy? Human rights? What will happen to all those arrested? What will happen to the US/Turkey relations? There are just too many questions no one yet has the answers to.

In closing:

From the Guardian – “You thought Erdogan was bad before? The worst of Turkey's leader is yet to come,” by David Blair, Chief Foreign Correspondent:

“Vengeful, irascible, authoritarian, obdurate. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was all of these things even before a cabal of Turkish generals tried to cast him into oblivion. Now that he has survived their machinations, his worst instincts will be redoubled and reinforced.”