At least 265 people were killed and more than 1,400 injured in an attempted coup d’état in Turkey on Friday night, a night that felt like doomsday for many.
Given the long history of coups in the country, this new attempt hasn’t taken the current political class by surprise and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) managed to assert control.
It all began when a faction of the military took control of helicopters and tanks in an attempt to overthrow the government. The rebel soldiers took over several institutions and key spots in the city capital Istanbul and attacked parliament buildings in Ankara.
It was a night of explosions and armed clashes whose death toll includes 161 civilians and police officers, as well as and 104 coup supporters.
Thousands of ordinary Turkish citizens demonstrated their loyalty to the country’s president, putting up a huge show of support when they responded to his call to rise up against the coup-plotters. Large groups of men poured into the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir to prevent the army units from taking over key institutions in these cities, and they eventually managed to foil the ill-planned coup, which was declared over early on Saturday morning, July 16.
President Erdogan now seems to be on a revenge mission against the military plotters, as more than 3,000 soldiers have been detained and arrest warrants have been issued for around 2,700 judges, who have also been dismissed from their positions.
The rebel military faction that started it all calls itself the Peace Council and they claim the purpose of their actions was to “reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms.”
The Turkish president blamed his archenemy Fethullah Gulen for the coup, a 75-year-old cleric who has been in exile in Pennsylvania, US, for the past 15 years and denied any involvement. Authorities, however, say the masterminds behind the coup were Akin Ozturk, a former air force commander, and two army generals, Adem Huduti and Avni Angun.
Conspiracy theories even go so far as to suggest that Erdogan himself staged everything so that he could gain more power over the country by establishing an executive presidency.
With all this instability and confusion, the future does not look too bright for Turkey.