The recent military coup in Turkey signalled hostility towards the country's current rulers. But support from various groups has highlighted the resilience of the President and his leading party.
The recent military coup in Turkey signalled hostility towards the country’s current rulers. But support from various groups has highlighted the resilience of the President and his leading party.
Since the foundation of the republic in 1923, Turkey has witnessed a high number of coups. One Turkish writer claims the country has experienced one coup once every ten years, and that after every attempted coup, scenes of death and torture appear in the streets to be stored in the collective memory of the Turkish population.
The military, which was once the country’s most trusted institution, has long defined itself as the guardian of the secular Turkey that was established by its founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
In 2007, a turning point in the nation’s view of the military was witnessed when some of its high-ranking staff went on trial for an alleged coup attempt – causing the public’s trust in the armed forces to have reduced significantly.
It has been argued by some that every time a coup is attempted in Turkey, the memory of past uprisings against the government spark fear and anger among its citizens, leading to actions which ultimately throw the county back by 50 years.
Backing against the recently attempted coup
On 15 July 2016, a faction within the Turkish armed forces attempted a coup d’état against the government. After the failed deposition, over 300 people had been killed and more than 2,100 were injured. Many government buildings, including Parliament and the Presidential Palace, were damaged.
The motives behind the attempt remain unclear, although it has been cited that it was due to beliefs in the erosion of secularism, the elimination of democratic rule, a disregard for human rights, and Turkey’s loss of credibility in the international arena. The Turkish President, who was on holiday at the time, condemned the coup as an attack on democracy.
Reactions to the event were largely against the coup. Shortly after news of the uprising broke, main opposition parties in Turkey denounced the attempt, professing their support for the elected government.
Several international leaders – such as those from the United States, NATO, and the European Union – called for “respect of the democratic institutions in Turkey and its elected officials”.
People who had previously protested against Turkey’s president said that a coup was not the answer. One MP said “Yes we have problems in Turkey, but at the same time, no military intervention can be a solution”. Many have argued that the lack of popular support for the military plotters was one of the main reasons for why the coup failed.