Turkey witnessed a huge fracas last night as country’s military tried to overthrow the democratically elected government. A section of Turkey’s armed forces used tanks and helicopters to bring down President of the country Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
However, President Erdogan has regained his control and thwarted the coup of the military. People flooded the streets in support of their democratically elected government.
The death toll currently stands at 194, with over 1,100 injured in the fierce clashes in Ankara and Istanbul.
What is a coup?
A coup is a term used to describe an attempt to overthrow those in power. It comes from the French coup d’etat, which translates as “blow of state”.
Who organised it?
Experts believe it was a plan by senior military officials. So far, it has been known that the Army and the Air Force actively participated in the attempt to topple the president. No named military officer claimed responsibility for the actions although Prime Minister Binali Yildirim claimed a key pro-coup general had been killed.
Why was it attempted?
Since the creation of the modern Turkish state, the Erdogan government adopted several Islamist policies that didn’t go in favour of the military and hence he made enemies. The military considers itself to be the guardian or protector of the country’s secular tradition. They have widely criticised the president.
Violence and bloodshed marred the overnight scene in Turkey as the angry protestors confronted the military who tried to bring down the government. Helicopters fired bullets on protestors from the sky, while tanks rolled over some of the protestors’ body. Reports surfaced of explosions and the internet being cut, with the planes flying low over the Ankara. Also, the Blasphorus Bridge and Faith Sultan Mehmet Bridge were closed down.
Since the creation of the modern Turkish state, there have been four successful military coups. There was also a military coup in 1980 and an alleged military coup in 1993, a military memorandum in 1997.
World leaders have called for calm, with US President Barack Obama and other Western countries urging support for the government they said had been democratically elected.
“Everything must be done to protect human lives,” said a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.