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
Jul 20, 2016

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
Trending Today
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 17,144 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
The Coming War on China
John Pilger · 5,248 views today · A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an...
Murdoch and Trump, Sitting at the Tee, S-C-H-E-M-I-N-G
Frankie Boyle · 4,850 views today · Say what you like about Donald Trump but he's already done things people said were impossible, like made Twitter worse. Looking back, the Harambe situation is the closest...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 4,550 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 4,434 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 2,270 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
Thich Nhat Hanh: How We Can Learn to Love Our Enemies
5 min · 1,694 views today · This is a short excerpt from Peacemaking. I often think about this story when I think about the kind of activism I would like to bring into this world. I want to help build a...
What Would It Take to Stop the Raids?
CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective · 1,631 views today · Responding Effectively to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Attacks
Simple Social Experiment Shows We Are More Than The Boxes People Put Us In
3 min · 1,585 views today · We live in a time where we are quick to put people in boxes. Maybe we have more in common than what we think?
I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
3 min · 1,423 views today · In his new film, director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished - a radical narration about race in America, using the writer's original words. He draws...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,319 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 1,227 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,100 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 947 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 903 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 851 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 840 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Surviving Capitalist Depression
Michael Emero · 628 views today · We live in a toxic society filled with toxic people. Even the ones with the best hearts- including ourselves- have been raised in ignorance, with disinformation. Our examples...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 595 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
The Charter For Compassion
2 min · 555 views today · The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Turkey in Turmoil