We’re going to pause our live coverage of the failed coup by a Turkish military faction, its defeat at the hands of protesters, police and loyalists, and the subsequent crackdown in the military and courts by victorious president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The attempted coup
- On Friday night a faction of the Turkish military tried and failed to stage a coup to overthrow Erdoğan, and tanks, helicopters and soldiers clashed with police and protesters in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara.
- Erdoğan delivered an iPhone address to the nation, calling on people to resist the coup and defend their democracy. Thousands turned out, and the president landed in Istanbul, where he denounced the “treason” by the rebellious faction.
- Parliament was struck by at least one bomb, and graphic videos and photos social media showed clashes, surrenders and chaos.Helicopters fired at people on the ground, mobs grappled with soldiers, and tanks barreled through crowds or were overrun by protesters. On Saturday the defense minister said the control was fully in control of the government.
- At least 265 people were killed in the violence and at least 1,440 wounded. Prime minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday that 161 “martyrs” were killed, including civilians and police. The general acting as chief of staff, Umit Dundar, said earlier in the day that 104 “coup plotters” were killed in the fighting.
- Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and other world leaders condemned the coup. “All parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed,” the US president said.
- Authorities arrested 2,839 army members and ordered 2,745 judges and prosecutors detained, as officials began to purge the ranks of accused conspirators.
- Erdoğan demanded that Obama arrest or deport an exiled cleric, Fethullah Gülen, from his home in Pennsylvania. Secretary of state John Kerry said the US would consider extradition but required evidence of the imam’s wrongdoing.
- Gülen rejected the conspiracy accusations in a rare interview with the Guardian and other reporters, and suggested that Erdoğan could have staged the coup. He also condemned the coup attempt, saying, “now that Turkey is on the path to democracy, it cannot turn back.”
- Turkey shut down US military flights from a base near the southern border, which the foreign minister said was because conspirators had been stationed there. He promised that air strikes from the base would resume after anti-coup operations, but the halt has disrupted the campaign against jihadi militants in Syria.
- Yildirim said that Turkey would consider reinstating the death penalty to punish coup-plotters and the “black stain” they had left on the nation’s democracy.
- Turkey’s four major parties denounced the attempted coup, including those that have vehemently opposed Erdoğan’s AKP. But fears remained that the pro-democracy protests may have emboldened Erdoğan’s increasing authoritarianism.
- Anti-coup demonstrations returned to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, where police restored order and a celebratory mood reigned. Injured people still waited for medical care at Ankara’s biggest hospital, and people recounted scenes of horror and death from clashes with tanks and soldiers the night before.
- Two Turkish majors, a captain and five privates requested asylum in Greece after landing in a military helicopter. Greece’s defense ministry acknowledged a landing near Alexandroupolis, and said the passengers were arrested for illegal entry.
Defense minister: government has total control
Defense minister Fikri Isik has said forces loyal to president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have regained full control of all areas in Turkey, but warned that authorities will stay on high alert for any continued threat.
The uprising appears not to have been backed by the most senior ranks of the military. General Umit Dundar said the plotters were mainly officers from the Air Force, the military police and the armored units.
But Turkish authorities have detained General Adem Huduti, commander of the Second Army, and Alparslan Altan, one of the judges on Turkey’s highest court. There are also unconfirmed reports that General Erdal Ozturk, commander of the Third Army Corps, was detained, according to an unnamed official cited by Reuters.
What is the Gülenist movement, and why does Recep Tayyip Erdoğan consider it an existential threat?
My colleagues in London explain, and Amana Fontanella-Khan reports from Fethullah Gülen’s compound in central Pennsylvania.
Peaceful demonstrations are continuing around Turkey – with remnants of the attempted coup still standing scattered on the streets and the question hovering of how far will Erdoğan go in his retaliation.