Turkish Coup Attempt Crumbles; Erdogan Returns After Crowds Answer Call To Streets
In an event not seen in since 1997, military factions in Turkey tried to seize control of the country on Friday night, setting off a scramble for power and plunging a crucial NATO member and American ally into chaos in what is already one of the world’s most unstable regions. However, by Saturday morning President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose whereabouts were unclear and was rumored to have been on vacation when the coup attempt began, flew to Istanbul Ataturk Airport, signalling that the coup had failed.
“A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity,” Erdogan said at the airport, after the private NTV network showed him greeting supporters. Blaming political enemies, Mr. Erdogan said “what is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason. They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.”
In essence, thanks to the very poorly planned coup - which some have suggested had been orchestrated by Erdogan himself - has given the Erdogan regime legitimacy to accelerate the recent trend of converting Turkey from a parliamentary into a presidential regime, thus granting himself even more power as a result.
As the NYT adds, there were strong indications that coup leaders, at a minimum, did not have a tight grip on many parts of the country. One could go further and say that the military never really had much control anywhere. Supporters of Erdogan took to the streets of Istanbul early on in the coup hours to oppose the coup plotters, and there were scattered reports some of its leaders had been arrested.
Martial law was declared in the country, although few if any casualties were confirmed, despite constant media reports of clashes between the army and the protesters.