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Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails] [skullcracking!]

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:36 pm UTC
by Mambrino
Reuters:Turkey PM says coup attempt underway, elected government still in charge

Reuters wrote: A group within Turkey's military has attempted to overthrow the government and security forces have been called in to "do what is necessary", Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday.


BBC: Turkey soldiers launch 'illegal action'

BBC wrote:Turkey's PM has denounced an "illegal action" by a military "group", with bridges closed in Istanbul and aircraft flying low over the capital, Ankara.

Binali Yildirim said the military action was not authorised but it was not a coup. He said that the government remained in charge.

Traffic has been stopped from crossing both the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges in Istanbul.

There are reports of gunshots in the capital Ankara.

Tanks are also said to be stationed outside Istanbul airport.


EDIT. Updates.
BBC wrote:An army group in Turkey says it has taken control of the country, with bridges closed in Istanbul and aircraft flying low over Ankara.

Unconfirmed, via Sky News live coverage: Senior military chief of staff held hostage in Ankara.

EDIT2. BBC live feed

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:57 pm UTC
by eran_rathan

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:06 pm UTC
by Vahir
If anyone deserves a military coup, it's Erdogan. Can't say I'm surprised.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:21 pm UTC
by Diadem
Turkey is a bit of a strange country when it comes to coups. The military has always seen itself as the guardians of secular democracy. They have committed coups in the past several times to oust governments that, in their eyes, we're undermining democracy.

So far it seemed like Erdogan had broken this pattern. He seemed firmly in control while the country was sliding more and more towards a dictatorship.

It would be nice to see Erdogan disposed of. Though it of course remains to be seen whether the military will reinstate democracy again, or if they will attempt to cease power for themselves. If the couple is successful in the first place.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:23 pm UTC
by Mutex
Vahir wrote:If anyone deserves a military coup, it's Erdogan. Can't say I'm surprised.


I'm kinda surprised to be honest. But if the aim of the coup is to reinstate democracy (through an admittedly un-democratic process) and secularism then I'm not against it in theory.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:40 pm UTC
by ucim
Diadem wrote:or if they will attempt to cease power for themselves.
Cease power! Seize fire!

It does seem a bit odd to me though that the military would be the guardian of democracy. How does that work? Perhaps the better question is why does that continue to work?

Jose

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:44 pm UTC
by Mutex
They're the only ones really able to overthrow the government, basically.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:49 pm UTC
by Mambrino

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:44 pm UTC
by Diadem
ucim wrote:
Diadem wrote:or if they will attempt to cease power for themselves.
Cease power! Seize fire!

It does seem a bit odd to me though that the military would be the guardian of democracy. How does that work? Perhaps the better question is why does that continue to work?

Thanks for the correction! I never consciously realized those were different words. Huh.

Anyway, it works, or at least has worked in the past, because tradition is often much stronger than law.

Some background from The Atlantic, which I'm quoting verbatim since the link is to a live-blog so I don't know how long this text will remain on it.
News of a coup in Turkey came as a surprise to the world, but not as great a surprise as it might have been in some countries. In the second half of the 20th century, the nation fell into a pattern of semi-regular military coups, and by that rhythm, it was in fact overdue. Previous coups came in in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997, so that the 19-year gap between the last uprising and today was notably long.

Modern Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal, a general in the Turkish Army who was later formally granted the surname “Ataturk,” or father of the Turks. Ataturk set about an aggressive program of modernizing and “Westernizing” the country, pushing religion to the margins, banning certain apparel like headscarves and fezes, and converting Turkish from Arabic to Latin script. But that secularism has always remained tenuous. Many Turks, especially rural ones, are religious, and not all of the reforms have remained popular.

The military has long seen its role as safeguarding Ataturk’s secularist agenda, and when it worries the government is shifting too far away, it has tended to take action. The first coup, in 1960, was a response to two currents: Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was both making overtures to Moscow and opening up to religion, reopening shuttered mosques, allowing the call to prayer to be sung in Arabic and more. A few dozen officers launched a coup in May 1960. Menderes was executed the following year after being convicted of violating the constitution.

The military relinquished control to civilians in 1965, when Süleyman Demirel was elected. But by 1971, growing unrest had emboldened Islamists, and the military again stepped in. This time, it did not launch tanks but instead delivered an ultimatum to Demirel, demanding “the formation, within the context of democratic principles, of a strong and credible government, which will neutralize the current anarchical situation and which, inspired by Atatürk's views, will implement the reformist laws envisaged by the constitution.” Demirel resigned; the military did not directly take control.

Nine years later, amid continued instability, the military again intervened, this time seizing power and holding it for three years. There followed a period of relative political stability. But in 1997, generals decided to depose Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, the head of an Islamist party. The military again enacted a coup by memo, forcing Erbakan’s resignation and banning him from politics.

Turkey has thus occupied a strange position in world politics: Although it is prone to coups d’etat, Western governments have often cheered the coups on, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, because they are in the service of a secular agenda. Periodic deposition of democratically leaders has, somewhat paradoxically, been treated as a small price to pay for ensuring liberalism.

Already, some analysts are shruggingly embracing the latest coup as a way to rid the country of the increasingly autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But what is not clear yet in the latest coup is whether it fits the same pattern of secular Kemalists clamping down on Islamism. There is speculation that the coup’s leaders may in fact be loyal to Fethullah Gulen, an enigmatic Muslim leader who’s currently in exile in Pennsylvania—that’s certainly what Erdogan claimed in his FaceTime address to the nation. Gulen is a former Erdogan ally who was essential to his rise, but the men have since broken. Whether Western leaders would be as eager to embrace a Gulenist coup as a Kemalist coup is unclear, though concerns about how Turkish instability could affect the civil war in Syria might render that question irrelevant: For outsiders, any leaders—whether Gulenist or Kemalist—may be preferable to ISIS.


Remember that 'democracy' doesn't just mean 'tyranny of the majority'. Democracy also means rule of law, protection of minorities, human rights, important freedom, etc. So a military stepping in to protect core democratic values is strange, but not self-contradictory.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:42 am UTC
by eran_rathan
Too bad the US military can't do that to certain areas of the US, enforcing protection of minorities and secularism.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:54 am UTC
by morriswalters
eran_rathan wrote:Too bad the US military can't do that to certain areas of the US, enforcing protection of minorities and secularism.
I hope that's a joke. A coup is a failure of Democracy.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:02 am UTC
by Mutex
morriswalters wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Too bad the US military can't do that to certain areas of the US, enforcing protection of minorities and secularism.
I hope that's a joke. A coup is a failure of Democracy.

It's a symptom of a failure of democracy - when your democracy has been taken away from you, there's no democratic way to get it back. You have to take it back with force.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:21 am UTC
by CorruptUser
It doesn't appear to be the whole military, just sections of it. And they failed to take out Erdogan, one way or the other. So this isn't likely to end well, at all. One way or another, it's likely to be over in a few days. Until then, hundreds if not thousands will die. Anything Russia, the PKK, ISIS, Iran, and FSM knows who else have planning to destabilize the place will be put into motion ASAP, leading to more turmoil.

Worst probable scenario; coup fails, Erdogan has an excuse to purge the military of everyone that isn't an Islamist, Kemalists gone for good.

Absolute worst scenario; Turkey collapses into civil war, Europe, which couldn't handle the Syrians, gets overwhelmed by the Turks, other countries like Greece collapse too, and half of Europe is in flames.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:32 am UTC
by morriswalters
Thank you for that lovely word picture.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:38 am UTC
by thunk
eran_rathan wrote:Too bad the US military can't do that to certain areas of the US, enforcing protection of minorities and secularism.


I think that was tried during Reconstruction. It worked for about ten years, then business as usual.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:41 am UTC
by CorruptUser
thunk wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Too bad the US military can't do that to certain areas of the US, enforcing protection of minorities and secularism.


I think that was tried during Reconstruction. It worked for about ten years, then business as usual.


Also when Eisenhower sent in the National Guard to Little Rock.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:56 am UTC
by eran_rathan
morriswalters wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Too bad the US military can't do that to certain areas of the US, enforcing protection of minorities and secularism.
I hope that's a joke. A coup is a failure of Democracy.


well, when you have large swaths of the country where the civilian police can murder minorities at will with little or no repercussions, when so-called 'religious freedoms' bills are written specifically to disenfranchise or legalize discrimination against certain members of the citizenry by a religion which hold majority support but goes against our version of rule of law... Yeah, not really a joke.

The US has been a failure of democracy for thirty years.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:24 am UTC
by sardia
eran_rathan wrote:
morriswalters wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:Too bad the US military can't do that to certain areas of the US, enforcing protection of minorities and secularism.
I hope that's a joke. A coup is a failure of Democracy.


well, when you have large swaths of the country where the civilian police can murder minorities at will with little or no repercussions, when so-called 'religious freedoms' bills are written specifically to disenfranchise or legalize discrimination against certain members of the citizenry by a religion which hold majority support but goes against our version of rule of law... Yeah, not really a joke.

The US has been a failure of democracy for thirty years.

Only if you're not white, or really rich. Well, really if you're not a rich white dude. For rich white dudes, the country is doing great, Trump not withstanding.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:28 am UTC
by Derek
eran_rathan wrote:The US has been a failure of democracy for thirty years.

See, now here is the stupid part of your post, because this implies that the US was not a failure of democracy 30 years ago, and that it has gotten worse. There are plenty of valid criticisms you can make about democracy in the US, but "civil rights are worse now than 30 years ago" is not one of them.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:07 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Not to mention that if you think things are bad in the US, well... France routinely ethnically cleanses itself of the Romani and treats the Magrebi like shit (not that they don't have faults), Germany is notorious for being a bit behind the times for women's rights, Britain is terribly racist, Switzerland used to sterilize rape victims until the 80's, whereas Ireland would just use rape victims as slave labor until the 90's.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:23 am UTC
by maybeagnostic
ucim wrote:It does seem a bit odd to me though that the military would be the guardian of democracy. How does that work? Perhaps the better question is why does that continue to work?
I don't know if democracy is exactly the right word here. It seems to me they are more the guardians of secularism which happens to include democracy (so long as people don't democratically decide they no longer want to be a democracy).

It's not a typical dynamic but I don't see anything that strange about it. The military might not be a democratic organization but that doesn't mean the officers in it can't believe in secularism because of their education and culture.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:37 am UTC
by elasto
maybeagnostic wrote:
ucim wrote:It does seem a bit odd to me though that the military would be the guardian of democracy. How does that work? Perhaps the better question is why does that continue to work?
I don't know if democracy is exactly the right word here. It seems to me they are more the guardians of secularism which happens to include democracy (so long as people don't democratically decide they no longer want to be a democracy).

It's not a typical dynamic but I don't see anything that strange about it. The military might not be a democratic organization but that doesn't mean the officers in it can't believe in secularism because of their education and culture.

Another way to put it would be to say that the military is the ultimate guardian of the constitution. If the elected government is acting contrary to its own constitution, and judges are unwilling or unable to bring it to heel, then the military is the final backstop.

It's really no different to the idea behind the second amendment in the US - except that the organised and trained military has a better chance of success.

Anyhow, I'm not sure this was a secular coup, was it? I'm hearing mixed messages on that.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:06 am UTC
by morriswalters
elasto wrote:Another way to put it would be to say that the military is the ultimate guardian of the constitution. If the elected government is acting contrary to its own constitution, and judges are unwilling or unable to bring it to heel, then the military is the final backstop.
This is government by lottery. It assumes that the Military holds the ideal of Democracy. The history of military dictatorships is quite different in a lot of cases.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:17 am UTC
by maybeagnostic
At any rate the coup has failed. About 200 killed and 3000 captured.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:36 am UTC
by Soupspoon
There was a suspiciously quickly-produced list of ?104? (IIRC) military people responsible, long before the initial actions were even finished warming up. If I were tending towards the conspiracy theory side of things, I'd suspect a Vetinari Gambit (all plots against you are ones you actually set up yourself, to keep that kind of person busy and yet under control). As it is, I suspect that he knew more than enough about the plans that he let it all happen whilst still dooming it to fail (hence how he was safely out of it when things kicked off, yet flew back into 'danger' to great acclaim).

Maybe a mix. It certainly has helped him that (apparent) terrorists have attacked peace demonstrations, so most generously actual intelligence on actual attacks has been suppressed and left unacted-against when it suits, and ditto here. The better to exhibit proven witches than arresting conspiritors for pre-crime discussions and being accused of an unfounded witch-hunt...

But I'm speaking from afar. I'm doubtless wrong in key matters.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:17 am UTC
by Diadem
Well the coup's timing is certainly strange. Why would you attempt a coup when the president is out of the country? That pretty much guarantees that you can't capture him, and that he'll be able to rally support. Which is exactly what happened.

Maybe the coup was actually very small, and they were hoping on additional support from other parts of the military before Erdogan could return to exert control. Or maybe they simply executed it poorly. Or maybe, as the conspiracy theories go, Erdogan actually planned this, or allowed it to happen. As conspiracy theories go that one isn't too far fetched.

Erdogan is certainly profiting hugely from this. He's already begun purging the military. It's still not clear to me if this was a Kemalist or Gulenist coup. Regardless of that though, Erdogan will certainly use this opportunity to get rid of both factions.

I'm not sure a coup was a good or a bad thing, but I'm pretty sure that a failed coup is the worst possible outcome.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:24 pm UTC
by Mambrino
The traditional history lesson is, as already stated by others, that Erdogan has now the perfect opportunity seize the power as unchecked authoritarian leader (even more so than before). The courts and the police were already supportive, and there is enough popular support. And action against an alleged coup / counter-revolutionary / etc action is the traditional justification for instituting de facto dictatorship, which I guess is the reason why "allowing a doomed to fail coup attempt to happen" sounds like kinda believable conspiracy theory.

a tidbit from BBC live thread wrote:Gory pictures and video are spreading on social media allegedly showing supporters of the ruling AKP beheading a soldier on one of the bridges crossing the Bosphorus.

The bridge was earlier the scene of a mass surrendering by soldiers involved in the coup.


also BBC wrote:A Turkish military helicopter has reportedly landed in northern Greece carrying eight men who have requested political asylum after being arrested, police say.


yet another wrote:The government will consider restoring the death penalty for those who attempted the coup, Mehmet Muezzinoglu, deputy head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), says.

Following his comments, #Idamistiyorum ("I want death penalty") has become the top trend on Twitter in Turkey. The hashtag has been used more than 23,000 times.


Not very sympathetic picture presented by BBC.

The thing about liberal democracy is that it requires that significant majority of people supports not only the bit about voting and "majority decides", but allowing an opposition and other critics to exist and even a real possibility of winning in fair and legitimate elections, and all the other necessary freedoms for that end. Making a religion a serious component of the state is never very compatible with that, .. so I'm not very optimistic about near future of Turkey.

update.

Telegraph.co.uk feed wrote:Thousands of judges purged

The Turkish government has embarked on a purge of the judiciary following the botched coup, state TV reports, in the first sign of how last night could increase Erdogan's authoritarian rule.

NTV said 2,745 judges had been removed from duty, following a decision of the High Council of Judges.

Five members of the High Judiciary Court Board were also removed.


So it begins.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:25 pm UTC
by elasto
morriswalters wrote:This is government by lottery. It assumes that the Military holds the ideal of Democracy. The history of military dictatorships is quite different in a lot of cases.

Well, obviously. Like every arm of government, its power can end up being abused. That's why you need all of them constantly keeping each other in check, like a pyramid balancing on its tip: The military answers to the executive, but needs to be capable of overthrowing it if the need arises.

If any check or balance gets too strong then your liberal democracy is in danger. Heck, even the free press can become too powerful - meaning unelected, often foreign media bosses hold undue influence over both politicians and the electorate...

In this case, if Mambrino is right, the military might have shot their bolt and the executive might have become too powerful.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey?

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:50 pm UTC
by Alexius
Diadem wrote:Well the coup's timing is certainly strange. Why would you attempt a coup when the president is out of the country? That pretty much guarantees that you can't capture him, and that he'll be able to rally support. Which is exactly what happened.

It's actually fairly common- Thaksin Shinawatra was deposed as PM of Thailand while out of the country, for instance.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:17 pm UTC
by pogrmman
I kind of wish the coup had been successful.

The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say that Erdogan arranged the coup or at least knew about that it would happen as an attempt to give an excuse to consolidate his power. I highly doubt Fetullah Gulen is behind this like Erdogan says he is. From what I know about Gulen, staging a coup doesn't seem like his MO.

The way AKP has been running the country, it seems to be reducing the chances well get a successful democracy in the Middle East significantly.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:54 pm UTC
by sardia
pogrmman wrote:I kind of wish the coup had been successful.

The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say that Erdogan arranged the coup or at least knew about that it would happen as an attempt to give an excuse to consolidate his power. I highly doubt Fetullah Gulen is behind this like Erdogan says he is. From what I know about Gulen, staging a coup doesn't seem like his MO.

The way AKP has been running the country, it seems to be reducing the chances well get a successful democracy in the Middle East significantly.

The reason the coup attempt was so pathetic is because erdogan had already crushed all opposition. Conspiracy theories are dumb without evidence.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:03 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
sardia wrote:Conspiracy theories are dumb without evidence.
THAT'S JUST WHAT they WANT YOU TO THINK!!!111!eleven!!

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:15 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Chemtrails can't melt steel vaccines!

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:58 pm UTC
by commodorejohn
I dunno. I'm not prone to conspiracy theories myself, but this is awfully goddamn convenient for Erdogan.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:00 pm UTC
by KnightExemplar
commodorejohn wrote:I dunno. I'm not prone to conspiracy theories myself, but this is awfully goddamn convenient for Erdogan.


Only because it failed.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:02 pm UTC
by pogrmman
commodorejohn wrote:I dunno. I'm not prone to conspiracy theories myself, but this is awfully goddamn convenient for Erdogan.



Yep, it seems like it. Look at how he's fired over 2700 judges now. A failed coup is a convenient excuse to continue to weaken the military and to further consolidation of power. Also, it's a good way to try and get Gulen out of the US.

sardia wrote:The reason the coup attempt was so pathetic is because erdogan had already crushed all opposition. Conspiracy theories are dumb without evidence.


Personally, I do think this is why the coup was so weak. However, it does seem awfully convenient as another poster said. I don't think it was done by AKP, but it is plausible. Conspiracy theories are dumb without proof, but it is far too early to get proof in this case.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:19 pm UTC
by Mutex
pogrmman wrote:Look at how he's fired over 2700 judges now.


That set alarm bells ringing for me too. What can judges have to do with this?

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:55 pm UTC
by pogrmman
Mutex wrote:
pogrmman wrote:Look at how he's fired over 2700 judges now.


That set alarm bells ringing for me too. What can judges have to do with this?


He claims they have ties to Fetullah Gulen, who Erdogan blames for the coup. However, that is over 1/3 of all the judges in the country!

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:01 pm UTC
by Mutex
Yes and I expect rather than having ties to anyone, they just don't share Erdogan's vision of turning Turkey into a theocracy. He'll use the same reason to arrest anyone he doesn't like.

Re: Military coup attempt in Turkey? [coup fails]

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:07 pm UTC
by pogrmman
They've already issued arrest warrants for many high ranking judges -- including members of Turkey's highest court. My guess is that you are right. Those opposing a less secular state will be detained, arrested, and the like.