Turkey in Turmoil
Turkey’s president exploits the recent attempted coup against him to crack down on opponents.
Turkey in Turmoil
Turkish military stand guard near the Taksim Square as people wave with Turkish flags in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
By Chris Brazier / newint.org

It is tumultuous time to be in Turkey, following the failed coup attempt on Friday night and amid the subsequent clampdown by the Erdoğan regime. There are Turkish flags absolutely everywhere – draped from the top floors of public buildings, flown out the windows of cars and on sale at almost every street corner. The nationalist ferment is almost palpable.

President Erdoğan’s first response to the attempted coup was to call the people out to defend ‘democracy’ against the rebel soldiers and he continues to ask them to show their support for his government by taking to the streets. And there is genuine, understandable pride that it was precisely this show of public resistance to the military coup that tipped the balance.

Yet, to be honest, most of the time here in Istanbul over the past couple of days there has often been more sign on the streets of foreign news crews hungry for action than of crowds actually delivering it – in Taksim Square, Istanbul’s main gathering place for protest, the banks of media crews with satellite dishes on their vehicles have often seemed more numerous than any demonstrators in favour of the government or otherwise. I was myself interviewed today by a Czech journalist wondering why I was out and about around the city rather than cowering in my hotel room as advised by the British Foreign Office. Taking advantage of the free public transportation granted by the government in celebration of the coup’s failure, I might have said.

REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

People demonstrate outside Ataturk international airport during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

The atmosphere on the streets seems generally calm, good-humoured and positive. It suggests that people were keen to resume normal life as soon as possible, and that they had no appetite for a reversion to the bad old days of military coups and the repression associated with them. Last night there was more partying and more speechifying until well into the small hours and today public transport is again free.

The most obvious sign of political ferment is that every single TV screen seems locked on the face of Erdoğan: attending funerals, rabble-rousing, talking up people power. As one local observed while we watched one of those screens, whereas Erdoğan was previously struggling to achieve enough support for changing the constitution and increasing the powers of the presidency, it is likely that if he called an election now he would massively improve his majority and make such a constitutional change possible.

REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

People stand on a Turkish army tank at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Although Erdoğan certainly had a worrying few hours on Friday night, he has certainly now turned the situation to his advantage with ruthless single-mindedness. Almost 9,000 police officers and 30 regional governors have been dismissed since Friday in addition to the 7,500 people detained, and 2,700 judges are on the target list for arrest. Is it really plausible that all these people were either actively involved or to be found on the lists of sympathizers that the government claims to have found? Or is it more likely that the Erdoğan regime is removing known thorns in its side at every level of society?

As it stands, 20 news websites that are critical of the government have already been shut down. Was this the kind of democracy that ordinary Turkish people were defending on Friday night and have been celebrating since? Or is it a foretaste of a new authoritarian era?

More photos:

REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan wave a huge national flag as they gather at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir

REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan stand on an abandoned tank during a demonstration outside parliament building in Ankara, Turkey, 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

REUTERS/Yagiz Karahan

People take cover near a bridge during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey. REUTERS/Yagiz Karahan

REUTERS/Murad Sezer

A soldier beaten by the mob (C) is protected by plain clothes policemen after troops involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey 16 July 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 10,254 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
Stunning Summary of US Imperialism and Native Resistance... on MSNBC!
4 min · 10,090 views today · On The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Lawrence explains why a protest by Native Americans in North Dakota reminds us of the history American always tries to forget.
Veterans at Standing Rock Ask Forgiveness for War Crimes Against Tribal Nations
Jen Hayden · 9,008 views today · Jon Eagle Sr., Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has reported something wholly unexpected happened at the Standing Rock Reservation today. The...
Why People Cling to Old Beliefs
1 min · 8,347 views today · Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist at McGill University, Daniel Levitin, explains why people can be so stubborn when it comes to false beliefs. This behavior is...
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · 8,211 views today · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the...
Solar is Already Producing More Energy Than Oil, Says Major Scientific Review
Nafeez Ahmed · 5,229 views today · And is twice as powerful than previously thought
13 Crises That We All Must Face
George Monbiot · 4,502 views today · We face (at least) 13 major crises, some of which are immediate. It’s time for some hard thinking about how we confront them.
The Other Way of Knowing
Lilian Na’ia Alessa · 2,620 views today · Western science and Indigenous worldviews are often seen as incompatible, with the Indigenous view usually being far less valued by society at large. But an inside look at...
Sky Roosevelt-Morris: The Secret of Indigenous Resiliency
2 min · 2,368 views today · Activist Sky Roosevelt-Morris is of the Shawnee and White Mountain Apache Nations. She is a member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. In...
DREAM: A Spoken Word Meditation For When Life Is Kicking Your Ass
4 min · 2,029 views today · If life is kicking your ass and the general un-coolness of everybody on planet erf is making you want to off yourself, TALK to someone: 800-273-8255 (national suicide...
Seven Must-Have Skills for the 21st Century
Tommy Lehe · 1,882 views today · We live in a world that moves faster than we do. Trying to keep up can be an overwhelming task that at times feels hopeless, like we are falling further and further behind—but...
Andy Goes In - Working Undercover in a Factory Farm
10 min · 1,785 views today · He's a $10/hr farmhand, and his name isn't Andy. Andy Goes In is a compelling 10-minute documentary short about a Mercy For Animals undercover investigator. The vast majority...
15 Films Inspiring and Illuminating the 'New Story' Revolution
Tim Hjersted · 1,740 views today · Charles Eisenstein is one of the first people I heard talk about the "new story," synthesizing a diverse movement that has been emerging for the last several decades. When I go...
Dear Activists, Maybe It's Time to Admit That We've Got It All Wrong
Mickey Z. · 1,705 views today · “The first step in the revolution is eye contact.” - Alicen Grey
Incredible Stories From 5 Inspirational Farms
12 min · 1,661 views today · In this series of 5 short films we visit five farms where incredible things sprout. From growing massive, 100-pound vegetables to giving injured animals another chance, these...
Australian Government Promotes Crap with Adani Carmichael Coal Mine
2 min · 1,518 views today · The Australian Government just released this advert about the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine and it's surprisingly honest and informative. 6 WAYS YOU CAN HELP STOP CCRAP: 1...
How a White Supremacist Became a Civil Rights Activist
Araz Hachadourian · 1,404 views today · The story of a KKK leader’s transformation shows us that we need not live forever with the kind of violence we saw in Charleston this month.
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 1,364 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Mary Lyons Describes 'The We'
29 min · 1,187 views today · Beautiful. Listen to this. 
The Trouble With Equality: Feminism and the Forgotten Places of Power
Adebayo Akomolafe · 1,153 views today · "...Patriarchy is not the rule of men over women, it's the rule of the binary - the insistence that there really are sides, and that each is a pre-existing category unto...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Turkey in Turmoil