Erdogan Retains Power In Turkey Coup As Military Regains Control

The Turkey coup, reportedly led by the Gulen Movement, failed to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The attempted coup resulted in dozens of deaths, injuries, and arrests as the government tried to control the situation. Reportedly, Erdogan, with the help of Turkish armed forces, are taking steps to reinstate constitutional order and rule of law.

While it was uncertain whether Erdogan had crushed the military coup, the government is slowly confirming its authority over Turkey early Saturday. Current reports mentioned the death toll in the Turkey coup to more than 160, with hundreds wounded. According to Erdogan, the coup plotters would pay a heavy price for their treason.

Following a night of bloody conflict, video footage released by media outlets showed rebel soldiers surrendering in masses. Reportedly, thousands of suspected soldiers and civilians have been arrested across Turkey.

Turkish soldiers, arrested by civilians, are handed to police officers, in Istanbul's Taksim square, early Saturday, July 16, 2016. Members of Turkey's armed forces said they had taken control of the country, but Turkish officials said the coup attempt had been repelled early Saturday morning in a night of violence, according to state-run media. (AP Photo/Selcuk Samiloglu)

The Erdogan government has blocked access to the Internet and social media including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, while the state-owned TRT television has gone off the air.

Following the Turkey coup news and the political developments, Federica Mogherini, vice-president of the European Commission, called an urgent meeting of EU member states at the sidelines of a summit in Mongolia, the Guardian reported.

After the Turkish military coup failed, Turkish PM Binali Yıldırım declared that the first stage of the coup is over and urged Turkish citizens to fill town and city squares with Turkish flags tonight. Calling the coup-plotters a “black stain” on Turkish democracy, he said that the nation has answered their attempt effectively.

Reports mentioned that Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric, now residing in the U.S. in Pennsylvania, planned the coup. Gulen was a former supporter of President Erdogan’s AKP party but fell out of favor in 2013. He leads a popular movement called Hizmet involving Turkish intellectuals, businesses, schools, and publications across the globe.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities sealed checkpoints at borders and airports to prevent members of the Gulen Movement, including journalists from fleeing, after the overnight Turkey coup. Tanks are visible outside Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport and in other areas in the city.

Deaths and Arrests after Turkey Coup
A man poses with the flag of Turkey in front of a damaged car, crashed by a military tank as people gather in Kizilay Square to protest against a military coup in Ankara, Turkey, early Saturday, July 16, 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the nation Saturday that his government was working to crush a coup attempt after a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire across the capital. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

All flights from Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport have been canceled. “Heavily armed soldiers and military vehicles closed the two main bridges in Istanbul Friday evening, and while low-flying military jets could be heard overhead,” RT News reported.

Erdogan was enjoying a vacation in the southern resort town of Bodrum when the coup in Turkey happened. Following the news, he appeared on CNN Turk and issued a statement asking Turkish citizens to take to streets and prevent the coup.

The Guardian quoted Erdogan.

“The coup-plotters should know that no one can play games with the stability of Turkey and the love of freedom and democracy its civilians have.”

Following the Turkey coup and broadcast of Erdogan’s call to confront the military, thousands of protesters came out on the streets.

Turkey is largely a secular country, but under Erdogan, who is a right-wing conservative, religious considerations have started a play a bigger role in Turkey.

Meanwhile, “On Friday night – thousands of miles away from the upheaval in Turkey – all was quiet outside the gated complex in sleepy Saylorsburg, the small Pennsylvania town where Fethullah Gulen resides in his sprawling Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center,” the Guardian mentioned in another report.

According to USA Today, the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016 isn’t the first the country has seen. There have been several dating back to 1960.

Turkey saw its first coup in 1960 when the military toppled the government amid political instability in the country. The army arrested President Celal Bayar, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and other officials and tried them for treason. Menderes was later hanged.

The Turkey coup to remove Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, if successful, would have marked a paradigm shift in the Middle East in decades, transforming one of the most important U.S. allies with civil war and instability on its borders. Moreover, a failed coup is still an unpleasant news displaying the fault lines within Turkey.

What are your thoughts on the coup in Turkey?

[Photo by Emrah Gurel/AP Images]