CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Friday, July 15, 2016

Turkish military declares takeover of country, top officials reportedly taken hostage



Defiant masses fight back: Stunning scenes as brave citizens rise up against the attempted
Defiant Turkish civilians (pictured middle) reclaimed the country from their own military after helping to end a coup by the army to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ordinary Turks confronted rifle-wielding soldiers, laid in front of tanks (pictured inset) and helped police officers to arrest rebels (top left and right) in an effort to take back control of the country, ignoring a curfew issued by coup plotters designed to allow the army to bring down the government unopposed. President Erdogan called on people to take to the streets, leading to reports of groups of soldiers surrendering at several key locations in Ankara and Istanbul, including Bosphorus Bridge, where 100 rebels laid down their arms and submitted themselves to advancing civilians and police officers. Some 104 plotters were killed (shown bottom left) after the coup attempt to bring down the Turkish government, while 160 people - at least 41 of them police and 47 civilians - fell as 'martyrs'.

Bloody and brutal revenge of a man that even Nato's second biggest army couldn't topple: ANDREW MALONE reports from Istanbul on Erdogan's brutal wave of repression against his enemies in Turkey 

  • Turkey’s dictatorial president arrested more than 6,000 soldiers, judges and opposition figures in barbaric scenes
  • There were gruesome accounts and images of Islamic mobs beating to death soldiers said to be linked to the plot
  • Turkish army conscripts attacked by lynch mobs after the president called on his supporters to take to the streets
After the abortive coup, the terror. Turkey’s dictatorial president last night launched a brutal wave of repression against his enemies, arresting more than 6,000 soldiers, judges and opposition figures amid barbaric scenes of revenge.
As the sun rose over Istanbul yesterday morning, a huge purge was under way by Recep Erdogan’s secret police.
There were gruesome accounts and images of Islamic mobs beating to death soldiers said to be linked to the plot.
Turkey in turmoil: Turkey’s dictatorial president last night launched a brutal wave of repression against his enemies, arresting more than 6,000 soldiers, judges and opposition figures amid barbaric scenes of revenge
Turkey in turmoil: Turkey’s dictatorial president last night launched a brutal wave of repression against his enemies, arresting more than 6,000 soldiers, judges and opposition figures amid barbaric scenes of revenge
On the famous bridge over the River Bosphorus, which links Asia and Europe, terrified young Turkish army conscripts were attacked by lynch mobs after the president called on his supporters to take to the streets to defy the coup leaders.
As F-16 fighter jets joined the coup attempt by strafing the parliament building and helicopter gunships attacked police headquarters, Erdogan – who was on holiday at a Turkish coastal resort – called a television news channel. Via a FaceTime video message on his iPhone, he urged the Turkish people to rise up and smash the uprising.
They did just that, using extreme violence and bloodshed.
Turkey coup: Injured man saved from gunfire at Bosporus Bridge
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And so the attempted military coup was crushed within 12 hours. 
But it’s what happened afterwards that has horrified many.
Awful images were last night circulating on social media of hardline Islamists killing soldiers by beating them to death with metal bars, wooden fence-posts and knives. 
In one scene filmed by witnesses, a soldier is beheaded on the bridge over the Bosphorus with a gleaming knife. 
The disfigured body is shown left lying in pools of blood.
Turkey's long history of military coups dating back to 1960
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Rage: Protesters beat cowering soldiers. In other footage, gangs are seen lashing soldiers, despite them laying down their weapons and surrendering
Rage: Protesters beat cowering soldiers. In other footage, gangs are seen lashing soldiers, despite them laying down their weapons and surrendering
In other footage, gangs are seen lashing soldiers, despite them laying down their weapons and surrendering. Ignoring their pleas for mercy, Erdogan supporters forced one group of captured soldiers to the ground – and jumped on their heads.
A witness told me that police officers tried to intervene to protect some of the soldiers, most of whom were poorly paid conscripts carrying out compulsory military service (which, incidentally, can be waived on payment of a £6,000 fee to Erdogan’s regime).
As bloodstains and debris were cleared from the streets yesterday and an eerie calm fell over the city, I was told how police tried to save soldiers from being killed by the mob who chanted: ‘We will kill them all!’
Another witness told me that soldiers claimed they had not been told they were participating in a coup attempt, but were simply told it was part of a training exercise.
‘Some people tried to protect the soldiers,’ I was told. ‘Women were calling from windows to the mobs, begging Erdogan supporters not to kill. But they paid no attention.’ 
Those spared by mobs didn’t fare much better in custody. 
Beaten and stripped naked, they now face the death penalty, which Erdogan has called to be reintroduced saying it has popular support, adding: ‘In a democracy, whatever people they want, they will get.’
The president has accused moderate Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the US, of being behind the coup attempt, and has called for American authorities to extradite him to Turkey to face justice.
For his part, the cleric denies any involvement and suggests that Erdogan actually staged the coup as an excuse to jail opponents.
Tensions high at funeral for those who died in Turkey coup
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Protesters clamber on a tank: While some tanks were halted by Erdogan supporters laying down in front of them, other young colleagues in the military who were ordered to overthrow the democratically-elected government refused to fire on Turkish civilians
Protesters clamber on a tank: While some tanks were halted by Erdogan supporters laying down in front of them, other young colleagues in the military who were ordered to overthrow the democratically-elected government refused to fire on Turkish civilians
Many of those linked to the military coup attempt will be held at the notorious Silivri Prison, where more than 10,000 inmates are already held, including hundreds of journalists, academics, lawyers and judges – many without charge – for daring to question Erdogan’s rule.
While the Turkish president has been at pains to argue that ‘people power’ saved his regime, the truth is far more complicated. 
Military leaders have substantial backing from those worried about Erdogan’s growing abuse of power and what they claim is his complicity with Isilamic State terrorists. 
‘I was celebrating when we heard explosions and were told the military was taking over,’ said a Turkish friend of mine.
‘President Erdogan wants to turn Turkey into Saudi Arabia, with sharia law and all pleasure outlawed. Now, we’re terrified he will crack down on liberals even harder.’ 
Despite the weekend calm, the country is now even more bitterly divided between hardcore Islamists and moderates who look to Western Europe as an example of the type of government they want. Erdogan is accused, too, of boosting his own wealth by striking oil deals with extremists.
With a fortune estimated at over £1billion secreted in eight Swiss bank accounts, he has become increasingly dictatorial – having once said sinisterly: ‘Democracy is like a train. We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want.’
After Friday night’s 12-hour failed coup attempt, let’s hope for the sake of this wonderful country – and for the stability of this part of the world – that President Erdogan’s brutal repression does not trigger an even greater crisis in the days and months to come.



Defiant Turkish civilians reclaimed the country from their own military after helping to end a coup by the army to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called on people to remain on the streets today over fears over a fresh uprising.
Ordinary Turks confronted rifle-wielding soldiers, climbed atop tanks and laid in front of military vehicles in an effort to take back control of the country, ignoring a curfew issued by coup plotters designed to allow the army to bring down the government unopposed.
President Erdogan called on people to take to the streets, leading to reports of groups of soldiers surrendering at several key locations in Ankara and Istanbul, including Bosphorus Bridge, where 100 rebels laid down their arms and submitted themselves to advancing civilians and police officers.
There were unconfirmed reports of one soldier being beheaded by a mob of civilians on the bridge after a video surfaced online showing the crowd launching an attack on the downed man. However the video shows no beheading and it is unknown if this happened after the footage ended.
This morning the President used Twitter to call on supporters to prevent any additional military action, adding: 'We should keep on owning the streets no matter at what stage because a new flare-up could take place at any moment.'
Some 104 plotters were killed after a coup attempt to bring down the Turkish government, while 160 people - at least 41 of them police and 47 civilians - fell as 'martyrs'.
Throughout the night, supporters of Erdogan threw themselves in front of tanks at key landmarks to prevent the military from maintaining a stranglehold on the country, notably outside Ataturk airport in Istanbul, where some civilians lodged themselves under the wheels of tanks to stop them from advancing.
More than 2,800 rebels have been detained after their failed military coup that killed at least 250 and wounded more than 1,500, with Erdogan vowing revenge for the bloody uprising. 
Scroll down for video 
A man lays down in front of a tank on the approach to Ataturk airport in Istanbul as citizens took to the streets to oppose the military coup
A man lays down in front of a tank on the approach to Ataturk airport in Istanbul as citizens took to the streets to oppose the military coup
A soldier cowers as he is confronted by plain-clothes police officers and civilians after the military surrendered on Bosphorus Bridge
More than 2,800 rebels have been detained after their failed military coup that killed at least 250 as Turkish President Erdogan vows revenge for the bloody uprising (pictured: Up to 100 rebel soldiers surrendered on Bosphorus Bridge after their failed uprising)
More than 2,800 rebels have been detained after their failed military coup that killed at least 250 as Turkish President Erdogan vows revenge for the bloody uprising (pictured: Up to 100 rebel soldiers surrendered on Bosphorus Bridge after their failed uprising)
Ordinary Turks confronted rifle-wielding soldiers, climbed atop tanks and laid in front of military vehicles in an effort to take back control of the country, ignoring a curfew issued by coup plotters designed to allow the army to bring down the government unopposed
Ordinary Turks confronted rifle-wielding soldiers, climbed atop tanks and laid in front of military vehicles in an effort to take back control of the country, ignoring a curfew issued by coup plotters designed to allow the army to bring down the government unopposed
People wave Turkish flags as they stand around the Republic Monument in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey
People wave Turkish flags as they stand around the Republic Monument in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey
A Turkish civilian whips soldiers with his belt after they surrendered to police on Bosphorus Bridge, a strategic landmark which was seized by the army during the coup
A Turkish civilian whips soldiers with his belt after they surrendered to police on Bosphorus Bridge, a strategic landmark which was seized by the army during the coup
People climb on tanks after around a hundred soldiers occupying Bosphorus Bridge surrendered in Istanbul, Turkey early this morning
People climb on tanks after around a hundred soldiers occupying Bosphorus Bridge surrendered in Istanbul, Turkey early this morning
A young girl joins police officers loyal to President Erdogan atop a tank abandoned by military personnel who surrendered this morning
A young girl joins police officers loyal to President Erdogan atop a tank abandoned by military personnel who surrendered this morning
Civilians take cover outside the building of the General Staff, the final landmark still held by coup plotters who are in the process of surrendering to police officers
Civilians take cover outside the building of the General Staff, the final landmark still held by coup plotters who are in the process of surrendering to police officers
The President made his triumphant return back to Istanbul after his forces quelled the coup on Friday evening, as he warned that the members of the military behind the plot to oust him would pay a 'heavy price for their treason'. 
The Greek police ministry said a Turkish military helicopter landed in Greece this morning and eight men on board, thought to be senior coup plotters, have requested political asylum. Turkey has asked for the men, made up of seven soldiers and one civilian, to be extradited back to the country.
The rebel army faction - who call themselves the 'Peace Council' - said they were trying to overthrow the government to 'protect human rights' and restore democracy from Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, AKP, which has repeatedly faced criticism from human rights groups and Western allies over its brutal crackdowns on anti-government protesters.
However, Erdogan has blamed his old scapegoat, Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the uprising. Muslim cleric Gulen, the president's rival who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, U.S. as the head of a billion dollar religious movement, has often been blamed for political unrest in Turkey.
The five hours of chaos began when two busloads of soldiers burst into the headquarters of the state-run TRT news agency, taking news off the air and replacing it with a stream of weather forecasts.
After launching the coup, the Turkish military imposed a curfew on civilians telling them to stay in their homes, but Erdogan called on supporters to ignore the order and take to the streets, which is thought to have caused the army to relinquish control.
After the uprising was crushed in the early hours of Saturday morning, Erdogan told the gathered masses at Ataturk Airport that those loyal to Gulen had 'penetrated the Armed Forces and the police, among other government agencies, over the past 40 years'.
'What is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason,' Erdogan said. 'They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.'

Bloodied soldier surrounded by civilians on Bosphorus bridge

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Soldiers, who surrendered following the defeat of last night's attempted coup, are loaded onto a bus following their arrest by police officers and civilians
Soldiers, who surrendered following the defeat of last night's attempted coup, are loaded onto a bus following their arrest by police officers and civilians
Men wave flags as they stand on tanks as people walk on the Bosphorus Bridge after taking over the military position in Istanbul
Men wave flags as they stand on tanks as people walk on the Bosphorus Bridge after taking over the military position in Istanbul
Civilians launch an attack on an armoured police car carrying Turkish soldiers who participated in the coup against President Erdogan
Civilians launch an attack on an armoured police car carrying Turkish soldiers who participated in the coup against President Erdogan
People celebrate on an abandoned military tank after they took over military position on the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul
People celebrate on an abandoned military tank after they took over military position on the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul
A civilian punches a Turkish soldier who took part in the failed military coup as he is led away by police having surrendered
A civilian punches a Turkish soldier who took part in the failed military coup as he is led away by police having surrendered
Coup attempt soldiers' clothes lie abandoned on bridge

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People shout at the soliders involved in the coup attempt who have surrendered on Bosphorus Bridge following their surrender
People shout at the soliders involved in the coup attempt who have surrendered on Bosphorus Bridge following their surrender
A soldier lies dead underneath rubble following the defeat of a military coup by Turkey's army to overthrow President Erdogan
A soldier lies dead underneath rubble following the defeat of a military coup by Turkey's army to overthrow President Erdogan
Police officers arrest a soldier after he was attacked by a mob of civilians following the surrender of 100 rebels on Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul
Police officers arrest a soldier after he was attacked by a mob of civilians following the surrender of 100 rebels on Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul
Up to 100 rebel soldiers surrendered on Bosphorus Bridge after their failed uprising. At least 2,863 connected have been arrested in connection with the dramatic coup which lasted approximately five hours.
New British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Twitter that he has spoken to Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu following the attempted military coup, adding: 'I underlined UK support for the democratic elected government and institutions.'
Explosions and gunfire erupted in Istanbul and Ankara on Friday night during the coup which killed at least 250 people in the army's bid to overthrow the Islamic government.
Elsewhere troops opened fire on civilians attempting to cross the river Bosporus in Istanbul in protest to the military coup, while a bomb exploded at the parliament building according to the state's press agency as the security situation in the country becomes more perilous.
Colonel Muharrem Kose reportedly led the Turkish military forces in the uprising.
Kose had recently been kicked out of the army, from his position as head of the military's legal advisory department, over his links to Gulen. He was killed during the clashes with Erdogan's supporters, sources report.
A Turkish policeman and other people stand atop of a military vehicle in Ankara after crushing the rebellion
Clothes and weapons beloging to soldiers involved in the coup attempt that have now surrendered lie on the ground abandoned on Bosphorus Bridge
Clothes and weapons beloging to soldiers involved in the coup attempt that have now surrendered lie on the ground abandoned on Bosphorus Bridge
The man then stood up and took off his shirt in an effort the present the tank from taking position in the airport 
The man then stood up and took off his shirt in an effort the present the tank from taking position in the airport 
The police siege around the building of the General Staff, thought to be the final landmark held by coup plotters who are in the process of negotiating their surrender
The police siege around the building of the General Staff, thought to be the final landmark held by coup plotters who are in the process of negotiating their surrender
As military took to the streets, Erdogan had urged his supporters to ignore a curfew and take back control of the country.
Tanks and armoured personnel carriers tried to seize strategic points in Istanbul and Ankara but were faced down by unarmed civilians who lay down in front of the heavy armour.
Police special forces headquarters was also hit and was razed to the ground. Other witnesses reported attack helicopters firing machine guns in the capital Ankara in a bid to depose the Islamic government.
There were also reports that a Turkish Air Force F-16 had shot down a Sikorsky helicopter over Ankara. The government claimed the jet destroyed the helicopter which had been 'hijacked by coup plotters'.
In Takism square, around 30 rebel soldiers surrendered following a gun battle with police loyal to Erdogan. A number of F-16 fighter jets had screamed across the square at low level blasting the area with a sonic boom.
During the night, both the civilian government and the military claimed they were in control of the country, with reports of sporadic gunfire and explosions.
In a statement, the army faction said that they took action 'to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for the law and order to be reinstated'.
The Turkish military has also long seen its role as safeguarding Turkey's secularist agenda, and has staged numerous coup's over the last 60 years when it feels the government's stance is moving too far away from that.
People wave national flags as they march from Kizilay square to Turkish General Staff building to react against military coup attempt
People wave national flags as they march from Kizilay square to Turkish General Staff building to react against military coup attempt
Civilians help police officers to arrest soldiers at Taksim Square in Istanbul after ordinary Turks helped to stop the attempted coup
Civilians help police officers to arrest soldiers at Taksim Square in Istanbul after ordinary Turks helped to stop the attempted coup
People gather for celebration around Turkish police officers, loyal to the government, standing atop tanks abandoned by Turkish army officers
People gather for celebration around Turkish police officers, loyal to the government, standing atop tanks abandoned by Turkish army officers
Turkish soldiers surrender on Bosporus bridge in Istanbul

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Defiant citizens block tanks as Turkish military launch coup

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Meanwhile, Erdogan made it clear he believes rival Gulen is behind the attack.
Gulen's nonprofit organization, the Alliance for Shared Values, denies any involvement and condemned the actions of the Turkish military.
Gulen, 75, was initially a close ally of Erdogan, who rose from the mayor of Istanbul to prime minister before he became president in 2014.
But the two fell out over a massive corruption scandal in 2013 that cost the country $100billion in a campaign thought to be initiated by Gulen's followers against Erdogan's closest allies.
Trained as an imam, Fethullah Gulen gained notice in Turkey some 50 years ago, promoting a philosophy that blended a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.
Erdogan has long accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the officially secular government from a gated 26-acre compound in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, which has a population of about 1,100.
The President, who was on vacation in the resort town of Marmaris when the coup began, issued a statement to CNN tonight referring to a 'parallel structure' behind the coup, a reference to Gulen's followers.
Supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan ambush a tank as it attempts to seize ground in Turkey's capital city of Ankara
Supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan ambush a tank as it attempts to seize ground in Turkey's capital city of Ankara
One man throws himself onto the front of a moving tank. Supporters played a key role in stopping the military from taking control
One man throws himself onto the front of a moving tank. Supporters played a key role in stopping the military from taking control
Turkish civilians throw a tarpaulin over a tank to stop it from seizing control of key locations in Ankara 
Turkish civilians throw a tarpaulin over a tank to stop it from seizing control of key locations in Ankara 
Pictured, an angry
Pictured, men shout at soldiers in tanks on the streets of Ankara
Pictured: Groups of protesters take to the streets of Ankara and face down soldiers rolling through the city in tanks

Turkish military declares takeover of country, top officials reportedly taken hostage

Turkey’s government appears to have been overthrown in a coup, as the military claimed taking control over the country.
“Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was  damaged,”the military said in a statement.“All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.”
Around midnight local time, a TRT anchor announced the country was now run by a “Peace Council” that will ensure the safety of the population.
Tanks have been posted outside Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport and in other locations in the city.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag reportedly blamed the coup on Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher currently residing in the US. A former ally of President Erdogan’s AKP party, Gülen fell out of favor in 2013.
 President Recep Erdogan is reportedly on vacation in the southern Turkish resort town of Bodrum.
About half an hour after midnight local time on Saturday, Erdogan appeared on CNN Turk (via Skype), issuing a statement blaming “parallel state” for the coup, calling for people to take to the streets, and vowing “We will overcome this.”
Tanks have been posted outside Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, while armored vehicles were photographed outside TRT offices. All flights from Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport have been canceled, Reuters reported citing a witness.
The Turkish military announced it was seizing power in the country “to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights.”
____________
Update from Press TV – International reaction: 7:15 pm EST  
Erdogan supporters have taken to the streets. It could be a long night…Jim Dean
Global reactions pouring in
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed his deep concern about the crisis in neighboring Turkey in a message on his twitter account, saying “stability, democracy and the safety of the Turkish people are paramount.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sain on Saturday that bloodshed should be avoided in Turkey, and that the situation should be settled within a constitutional framework. He also called on his countrymen in Turkey to stay indoors.
The Russian foreign minister made the statement during a joint press conference with his US counterpart John Kerry, who also expressed hope for peace in Turkey.
“I hope there will be stability and peace and continuity within Turkey, but I have nothing to add on what has transpired at this moment,” Kerry was quoted by US media as saying.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for “restraint” in Turkey after the attempted coup.
“In constant contact with EU Delegation in Ankara & Brussels from Mongolia. Call for restraint and respect for democratic institutions #Turkey,” she wrote in a tweeted from a regional summit in Ulaanbaatar.
____________
This is a current event, happening right now as I write, so details are a bit sketchy but the basic narrative seems clear – the Turkish military, or perhaps a faction within it, has launched an uprising against the Erdogan regime.
Turkish security officer stands on guard on the side of the road on July 15, 2016 in Istanbul, during a security shutdown of the Bosphorus Bridge.

Gunfire Heard in Turkish Capital; Military Jets, Helicopters Seen Overhead

Update 6:10 pm EST from Sputnik … Jim Dean
 –
America’s leading NATO ally in the Middle East has fractured into pieces following an apparently successful military coup to “restore the rule of law and democracy.”
Controversial President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to have lost control of Turkey with military forces seizing control of the state sponsored television station saying that they were forced to seize control due to what they view as dictatorial mandates by the country’s leader.
Calling themselves a “Peace Council” on the TRT news station, the military forces have declared that they will be announcing the country’s new constitution shortly that will provide robust protections for human rights and the rule of law while laying out a transition towards democratic rule.
The Turkish military conducted the coup on Friday evening with initial reports indicating gunfire had broken out in Istanbul and Ankara while tanks and F-16s had been deployed in an apparent attempt to put down the military coup.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says that the government remains in control and that the coup participants will “pay dearly,” but reporting on the ground by the RIA news agency corroborated by the AFP indicates that the country’s President Erdogan is in a mad scramble to escape the country via the Ataturk International Airport.
The Turkish military said that they will be reading the new constitution over television in the hours to come.



Erdogan’s Conundrum: What Could Trigger Military Coup in Turkey

Troops parade with Turkish flag on August 30, 2013 in Ankara during celebrations for the 91st anniversary of Victory Day, with ceremonies held at Ataturk's Mausoleum known as Anitkabir in Ankara, Turkey
The current state of affairs in Turkey is triggering concern. Ankara is facing the dangerous combination of deepening political polarization in the society, a slump in economic growth, and escalating tensions both at home and abroad.
Unlike the political and economic turmoil in the 1970s and 1990s, the current crisis is largely a result of the conflict between Turkey’s pragmatic domestic and foreign policy and its actual push for leadership, Pavel Shlykov, an associate professor at the Asian and African Studies Institute of the Moscow State University, said in his report.The current Turkish crisis can be described with several specific features.
First, all spheres of the country’s political and social life as well as all its state institutions are engulfed in the crisis.
Second, public incertitude is growing about the future. People realize that the existing model of social and political development is jaded.
Third, the Turkish military is gradually building up its political influence, thus laying grounds for a military coup.
Fourth, recently the Kurdish problem has entered the new stage, and the situation in south-eastern Turkey can be described as a lukewarm civil war between Turkish troops and Kurdish forces.Furthermore, the conflict in Syria is influencing Ankara’s foreign and domestic policy.
Finally, the political prospects of the ruling Justice and Development Party (founded by Recep Tayyip Erdogan) are vague in the current environment.
Erdogan and the Turkish military
In his report presented at the Carnegie Moscow Center, Shlykov analyzed the question: is a military coup possible in Turkey?
Active involvement of the military in political processes has been part of Turkish history. In the 2000s, Erdogan announced the reforming of relations between the military and civic institutions. Under his political course, the military would not dictate its policy to the government.
A military coup in Turkey would be possible if three criteria are met simultaneously: further deepening of the political crisis, a rising external threat, and the spike escalation of the Kurdish issue. And currently, all of the above is evident, according to the analyst.
After Ankara suspended the peace process with Turkish Kurds Erdogan had to form some kind of a tactical alliance with the military elite who he oppressed in 2007-2008.
The cooperation between Erdogan and the military became obvious in autumn 2015, during a military operation in south-eastern regions mostly inhabited by Kurds. At the time, Ankara gave a blank cheque to the army command. In order to take advantage of the situation, Erdogan admitted that his previous policy toward the military was wrong. Moreover, he found a scapegoat for his “mistakes” – exiled Turkish preacher Fethulah Gulen currently residing in Pennsylvania.
Troops parade with Turkish flag on August 30, 2013 in Ankara during celebrations for the 91st anniversary of Victory Day, with ceremonies held at Ataturk’s Mausoleum known as Anitkabir in Ankara, Turkey
Of course, at the present time the Turkish army is one the most powerful political forces in Turkey. But it is unlikely to stage a coup (like it happened in 1960, 1971 and 1980), Shlykov pointed out. The military doubts they would enjoy broad public support.
In the modern Turkey, the army also plays another important role – to counterbalance Erdogan’s risky foreign policy ambitions. A year ago, the military barely prevented him from invading Syria, and the situation repeated last month.
The Kurdish problem
Turkey has been facing the Kurdish issue in its current state for over 30 years. According to estimates, there are 15-20 million Kurds in Turkey, which accounts for 15 percent of the population. At the same time, the Kurdish minority has historically been highly atomized.
From a political perspective, Turkish Kurds can be divided into three groups: nationalist supporters of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), Alawite Kurds supporting leftist and social-democratic ideas, and the religious conservative majority (50 percent of the population) who in the 2000s were loyal to Erdogan’s party.The support of the Kurdish majority for the Justice and Development Party played in to the hands of Ankara. Thus, the conservative majority was excluded from the Kurdish problem and was integrated into the country’s social and political system. But everything changed after the Syrian war began and when Daesh (also known as Islamic State/ISIL) appeared. In this situation, the Kurds proved their readiness for national and political consolidation.
Kurdish refugees from the Syrian town of Kobani are seen at a refugee camp in the border town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province February 1, 2015
© REUTERS/ UMIT BEKTAS
Kurdish refugees from the Syrian town of Kobani are seen at a refugee camp in the border town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province February 1, 2015
After Ankara refused to help the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani at the Syrian-Turkish border, the conservative majority abandoned their loyalty to Erdogan and his party. They were even more disappointed after dialogue between the Turkish government and Kurds stopped.
Another important factor destabilizing Turkey is the porous 822-km-long border with war-ravaged Syria. Extremists are coming to Turkey from Syria not only to recover from wounds in Turkish hospitals (Erdogan has repeatedly been criticized for this) but also to stage terrorist attacks, undermining country’s national security.
However, according to the report, the rising threats to national security will not consolidate Turkish society, but instead will only deepen its political rifts. Unlike before, the military standoff with the Kurds is not broadly supported by Turks.
The Syrian trap
In 2015, the developments in Syria were not favorable for Ankara. After the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian jet last November Turkey lost the chance to influence the situation in Syria.
Over the past weeks, Turkey’s pro-government media has reported that now is the perfect time to intervene into the Syrian conflict. However, those reports were aimed only to consolidate public opinion.
Turkish soldiers stand guar near the Turkey-Syrian border (File)
© AFP 2016/ OZAN KOSE
Turkish soldiers stand guar near the Turkey-Syrian border (File)
There are several reasons that Turkey is unlikely to launch an operation in Syria.
First, in technical terms, any ground operation would require aerial support. Currently, the Syrian airspace is controlled by the Russian Aerospace Forces, and Turkish jets will not be allowed there.
Second, an intervention in Syria would have serious diplomatic problems for Ankara. The operation would be supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies. However, it will spark a conflict with the US and Russia. What is more, during such an operation the Turkish military would have to fight on several fronts at the same time; against the Syrian Army, Daesh, opposition groups, and Kurdish militia. It is obvious that Erdogan is not ready to take the risk.
Finally, if Turkey becomes involved in the Syrian war, they would also end up fighting the Kurds in the south-eastern parts of the country. Consequently, the conflict may spread across the entire of Turkey.
Turkey at a crossroads
Since the era of Kemal Ataturk who tried to create a controllable opposition force in Turkey, all experiments with democracy have turned pear shaped.
In his first years in power, Erdogan launched a number of political and economic reforms aimed at integrating with the European Union. Until 2007, his course was viewed as modernization. But then, especially following the 2010 constitutional reform, the setbacks began.
Currently, Turkey is at a crossroads. The choice is between a super-presidential republic ruled by Erdogan and further development as a liberal-democratic European-like state but with some specific characteristics.
The future of Turkey depends on its leader. According to the constitution, the head of state is Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. But in fact, power is concentrated in the hands of President Erdogan.
A handout image made available by the Turkish Presidential Press Office on January 29, 2015, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shaking hands with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at Presidential Palace in Ankara.
© AFP 2016/ TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE / KAYHAN OZER
A handout image made available by the Turkish Presidential Press Office on January 29, 2015, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shaking hands with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at Presidential Palace in Ankara.
Davutoglu is Erdogan’s protégé and is much weaker as a politician than Erdogan. But if he could find courage to restrict Erdogan’s power chances for a liberal Turkey would significantly improve, the analyst noted.
Rift with Russia
After Turkey shot down a Russian bomber in Syria in late November tensions between Moscow and Ankara turned into hostility. Any improvement is unlikely in the coming future.
The body of the pilot of Russia's Su-24 bomber that was shot down by Turkey last week has arrived at the Chkalovsky Airport near Moscow
© PHOTO: VADIM SAVITSKY / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY
Shlykov outlined three possible scenarios for Russian-Turkish relations.First, Russian and Turkey may reconcile.
Second, in order to normalize ties with Russia, Turkey may sacrifice one of its high-profile politicians, by shifting responsibility for the incident.
Third, a road to reconciliation may be very long. In this case, neither Russia nor Turkey would be ready to compromise, and the conflict would dry out in the long-term perspective.
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Update 5:40 pm EST
Erdogan has made a statement live from a hotel in the mediterranean holiday resort of Marmaris: (machine translation from Turkish)
Marmaris; the Grand Yazici Mares Hotel in a statement that President Erdogan “You know have been approached structure is focused team. To be overcome in this. All the people in airports, challenge, I’m waiting on the street. We will overcome in this. Our nation get comfortable. It has made the necessary statement of Prime Minister ., including the police involved, we will punish most severely, “he said.
Erdogan said: I am my country at the moment the President telling what that very clearly, all members of the party of which I am the founder, as well as national constituting will Cumhurun I invite you to challenge him our particular cities and squares of our cities, we will be hand in hand with our people and the need for those who dare course there We’ll give. This I believe to be successful coup.
Today, this development is moving really attempt unfortunately a minority in our Armed Forces. of this known structure, it encourages parallel restructuring, a move that top minds in their use. Our country, unity, togetherness, unity, I believe for the movement against this nation will give them a good answer will receive the necessary punishment.
Turkey is not a country to be sold cheaply at a time such uprisings and Pennsylvania than in a country that is not managed.
Updates: 5:30 pm EST… Gordon
Hurriyet Daily News reports that Erdogan was flown out of Ankara airport, current whereabouts unknown
Ankara airport is closed, tanks are parked in front of the terminal.


The state-run Anadolu Agency is reporting that Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar is being kept as a hostage with a group.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to make a statement, broadcaster CNNTürk said.
A CNNTürk reporter said a helicopter shot at the General Staff headquarters in Ankara.
CNNTürk reported that two buses full of soldiers entered the headquarters of the state-run TRT in Ankara. Channels started to broadcast weather forecast only.
Turkish prime minister confirms coup attempt.  Russian press confirms military in control.  Syrian government confirms military in control in Istanbul, no report from Ankara.  Erbil reports shock in Kurdish region. 
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Gunfire has been heard in the Turkish capital, and there are reports of unusual military activity, with a military chopper opening fire near the national intelligence headquarters.
On Friday, gunshots broke out in the Turkish capital of Ankara with witnesses saying that military jets and helicopters could be seen flying overhead. There has also been military helicopters spotted overhead in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul according to Reuters.
There are also multiple reports of a large military operation, with soldiers deployed in Hatay Province.
Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim has stressed that nothing will harm Turkish democracy, while also adding that the military action is being taken without the proper chain of command.
All police and security forces personnel in Ankara have been told to report in, and reports indicate that military personnel are disarming regular police forces in Ankara and Istanbul.
Bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul have also reportedly been closed by Turkish military police.
Tanks have also been reported in Istanbul.
Sources indicate that Facebook and Twitter have been blocked in Ankara. The Turkish prime minister has confirmed that an unauthorized campaign of military violence has been undertaken against the government with some calling it a coup.
A gunfight has now broken out in front of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s palace.
Turkish military has now released a statement saying that they have seized control of the government.
The Turkish military has taken to television to say that the “power of the country has been seized in its entirety” and that the Turkey’s leadership have been detained by the troops which conflicts with official statements by the government saying that President Erdogan is in a safe location.
All flights in and out of Turkey’s Ataturk Airport have been cancelled according to Reuters.
DETAILS TO FOLLOW
We have little word from Ankara of events there, not least because Both Twitter and Facebook have been blocked.
Doğan News Agency have reported that all police personnel have been ordered to report for duty and there are reports of gunfire being heard and jets flying low over the city.
However, Istanbul is in complete lockdown, military units are on the streets in large numbers, all bridges across the Bosphorus are blocked by Gendarmerie and a curfew is in place.
In a phone call to broadcaster NTV, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey is facing an uprising attempt from inside the army.

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