Thursday, January 21

The keys to the coup in Turkey | International

Was it an auto coup?

Several facts indicate that this was not the case: the magnitude of the military coup – it mobilized a not inconsiderable part of the Armed Forces, the violent fighting between rebels, police and loyal military, and the kidnapping of the Chief of the General Staff, General Hulusi Akar. The nervousness and lack of coordination with which the main government figures and their advisers acted in the first hours in a political formation, the AKP, in which the narrative and speeches are heavily controlled from the top of the party, also indicate that it was not something orchestrated. Furthermore, it does not seem feasible that Erdogan could find thousands of officers in the Army willing to throw their careers overboard – they will be sentenced to very long prison the greater glory of the president.

Did the government have information about the coup plan?

According to a security source consulted by this newspaper, the secret services transmitted to Erdogan 15 alerts of possible coups d’état in the last six months. At first, the coup was scheduled for the beginning of August, just before the Supreme Military Council (the meeting between the Government and the Armed Forces in which promotions and expulsions were decided), in which – it was an open secret the Army was going to be purged of soldiers opposed to Erdogan.

Another proof that the Executive could have had prior information is that already the week before the coup made arrests of alleged Gülenista military and the word spread that there would be more arrests at the end of July, presumably in a government tactic to advance events. “The main reason the coup failed was his premature birth,” writes the ex-military Metin Gurcan. The date and time chosen to carry out the coup were 3:00 a.m. on July 16, but the plan had to be advanced once again because, according to turkish media, the secret services previously captured military conversations and discovered the coup plans.

How did Erdogan find out about the coup?

President Erdogan assured the Qatari network Al Jazeera last night that he learned of the coup plans because his brother-in-law, Ziya Ilgen, a retired professor, told him. On the other hand, according to the security source consulted, this is not true, but it was the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) that notified him at around 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. In any case, when the commandos of the Special Forces and the Navy arrived at the hotel in the coastal town of Marmaris with the mission to kill Erdogan, he had already escaped to the fenced Dalaman airport.

How did Erdogan escape?

From Dalaman airport, Erdogan flew to Istanbul shortly after midnight on July 16 after contacting the First Army Corps that had remained loyal and promised him protection. Anyway, then the Istanbul Atatürk airport was taken over by the coup plotters and the president’s plane he camouflaged his flight code in that of a commercial airplane. It is not clear instead why the F-16s that apparently followed the presidential plane were unable to shoot it down.

Did any country offer its support to Erdogan during the coup?

There is no record of it. NATO allies waited several hours before issuing a statement condemning the coup. Other countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or Russia telephoned the next day to offer their support to Erdogan against the coup plotters.

Who were the authors of the coup?

The government accuses of being behind the coup the religious community led by Fethullah Gülen, which since the 1980s has infiltrated its followers into the Administration and the security forces. However, the journalist Ahmet Sik, who has investigated the Islamic brotherhood and went to jail years ago for it, believes that “they did not act alone” but in collaboration with other military factions, although the Gülenists were “the brain.” Various analyzes in the Turkish press agree with this. An Army official consulted by this newspaper assures that “the Armed Forces are very divided.”

What united the coup plotters?

Given that there were various groups among the military, from the followers of Gülen to those upset that until a year ago the Government negotiated peace with the Kurdish armed group PKK, the only issue that united them was hatred of Erdogan.

Who is on the street?

The Turks have taken to the streets for several days to express their support for the government.
The Turks have taken to the streets for several days to express their support for the government. EFE

Erdogan and his people called on the population to go out into the streets to stop the coup and not to leave the squares since “the danger has not yet passed.” For the most part, the Turkish citizens who crowd the streets are people from the lower class, working class and the new middle class that emerged during the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Many of those who attend the marches against the coup wear religious garb and chant Islamist slogans, although there are also followers of other parties. They have also seen banners in favor of far-right Sedat Peker, a convicted mobster who in the 1990s participated in the dirty war against the Kurds and the left, and is that part of the assistants come from the sphere of the ultra-nationalist MHP party. There are also demonstrators in favor of other political formations and, in fact, the main one of the opposition, the social democratic party CHP, has called a demonstration this weekend in Taksim Square in Istanbul “For the Republic and democracy”.

What is the balance of the blow?

More than 250 people, including civilians, police, loyal military personnel and coup plotters, have died. About 1,500 people were injured and several military, police and administrative buildings – including Parliament. they were severely damaged. More than 10,000 people have been arrested, of which the majority are military (and more than half of them, common soldiers). A purge has been unleashed against officials that has spread to various levels of the state, from the Judiciary to the secret services, Education and the prime minister’s office.

What are the purges based on? Did you have a list of reprisals prepared? Why has it been so fast?

Indeed, government sources acknowledged to EL PAÍS having prepared lists of people who in the Administration were linked to the Gülenista brotherhood, but that having to follow the usual judicial procedures had prevented them from acting against them before. A trade unionist consulted by this newspaper assured that “80-90%” of the affected teachers are people who are sympathetic to Gülen, and the rest are simple opponents: “It is clear that they know who they are going for, because they are themselves (the AKP Government ) who put them there ”.

Clergyman Fethullah Gülen at his home in the United States.
Clergyman Fethullah Gülen at his home in the United States. REUTERS TV

Who is Gülen?

Is a Muslim cleric around whom grew the most important Islamic brotherhood of Turkey, which they call Service (Service) and that the experts compare to a Muslim version of Opus Dei. Although conservative, they promote dialogue with other religions and defend – at least by word of mouth democracy and the market economy. After the coup of 1980, he took advantage of the fact that the Military Junta promoted religiosity as a way of fighting against communism to extend his organization. In the 1990s he relied on various political parties to increase his political influence, although after the 1997 coup, against the Islamist government of Necmettin Erbakan, he was exiled to the United States. Later a judicial process was opened to him in absentia after finding some tapes in which he urged his followers to silently infiltrate the State structures until they seized power. This trial was buried when the AKP came to power and Gülen and Erdogan allied, launched to fight against the old establishment Kemalist, nationalist and secular.

Why did Erdogan and Gülen fall out?

Gülen was against the peace negotiations established between the Turkish government and the Kurdish armed group PKK – considered a terrorist in Turkey, the EU and the US. in 2012-2013 and under the direct supervision of Erdogan. So the Gülenists tried to torpedo the process as best they could and Gülenist magistrates tried to prosecute the head of the Turkish secret services, Hakan Fidan, for the secret talks held in Oslo (Norway) with PKK leaders. So the clashes were growing: Gülen criticized the repression against the Gezi protesters who had risen up against Erdogan and the members of his brotherhood advised opposition politicians in successive elections, according to this journalist in Istanbul in the 2014 municipal campaign. In addition, an investigation into corruption in Erdogan’s environment was launched in late 2013 and high-level conversations allegedly recorded without permission were leaked online. The Turkish leader dismissed these events as an attempt to overthrow the government. Curiously, the PKK leader himself, Abdullah Öcalan, described these events as a “coup d’état” aimed at ending the peace negotiations.

Who would it be up to to implement the death penalty? Could it be implemented retroactively for the coup plotters?

As part of the EU accession process, the death penalty was abolished in peacetime in 2002 – when a tripartite ruled that included center-left, center-right and far-right parties of the MHP. and in 2004 also for wartime, when the Islamist AKP was already in command. To reintroduce it now would imply modifying the Constitution and leaving several European conventions, in addition to, as several community leaders have recalled, completely renouncing accession to the EU. Lawyers, political parties and human rights organizations have warned that it could not be applied to the coup plotters because that would imply exercising the right retroactively. Applying it to the rebel military, therefore, would imply abandoning the rule of law that governs Turkey and the country should leave international organizations such as the Council of Europe, to which the Strasbourg Court is linked, since this court of human rights could easily overturn any retroactive death sentences.

Where are the detainees?

Given the magnitude of the arrests and that the courts – reduced by the purges progress slowly when it comes to taking a statement and charging the military (so far there have been 1,300), the detainees are being guarded in various places, including stadiums and sports halls in Ankara – for the lower-ranking military and police stations and offices of the General Directorate of Security for the commands.

What is the state of emergency?

The measure, regulated by Article 120 of the Magna Carta, imposes severe restrictions on constitutional rights such as freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, and freedom of expression. It also makes it possible to extend the period of detention and accelerate the executive work of the Government through decree laws that Parliament must approve or reject immediately.

In addition, it allows to impose curfews and prevent traffic or passage through certain places at the will of those in charge of its application in each province, usually government delegates. In addition, it allows searches without prior judicial authorization and forces people who want to move to various parts of the country to request a special permit. During these three months, the authorities will have the power to prohibit or censor press publications, radio, television and cultural performances, such as plays or movies. The importation of all kinds of publications and works produced outside the area where the state of emergency governs – in this case, the whole of Turkey – will be subject to prior authorization. Furthermore, workers may be fired without regard to labor agreements, except under special conditions.

However, the Government has promised that it will not make use of all the prerogatives conferred by the State of Emergency and that “it will not affect daily life.” Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said the state of emergency in Turkey will be “like those in France or Belgium.”

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