Attempted Military Coup in Turkey
by Stephen Lendman
Turkey is no stranger to military coups, three occurring in the post-Ottoman era, the last one in September 1980 before the July 15 attempted takeover.
It continued overnight. Events are fast moving. Reports indicate scores killed, many others injured, numerous arrests made by regime authorities. They remain in power - martial law and a curfew imposed.
According to Tass, spokesman for President Erdogan’s National Intelligence Organization Nuh Yilmaz reported “(t)he coup attempt in Turkey has been curbed. All the events will be over before morning.”
Clashes occurred in Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s capital. Tanks opened fire near parliament. F-16s reportedly attacked them. A rebel helicopter was shot down. Fighting continued early Saturday morning, explosions heard, according to AP News.
Earlier, a US military source told NBC News that Erdogan was refused landing rights in Istanbul, sought asylum in Germany. From an unknown location, he appeared on CNN Turk calling on Turkish people to defend the nation.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the uprising was quelled. Pre-dawn Saturday, Reuters reported “rebel soldiers abandon(ing) their tanks in the main city of Istanbul,” the coup attempt appearing “to crumble.”
Early Saturday, Erdogan addressed supporters after arriving at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, saying he remains in charge, vowing severe punishment for coup plotters.
Obama urged “all parties (to) support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed” - despite strained US relations with Erdogan.
He blamed exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, living in Pennsylvania, Turkish intelligence claiming “signs that (he) is working closely with certain members of military leadership against the civilian government.”
It’s not the first time ruling authorities blamed him without just cause. Allied New York-based Alliance for Shared Values president Y. Alp Aslandogan “categorically den(ied) such accusation,” calling it “highly irresponsible.”
“We condemn any military intervention in domestic politics of Turkey,” he added. Erdogan long ago accused him of plotting to overthrow his government, putting him on trial three times in absentia.
Attempted coup took place against a backdrop of regional turmoil, including Erdogan’s support for ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria, along with war on Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds.
He rules despotically, cracking down hard on independent journalists, imprisoning them for doing their job, targeting all regime critics, along with responsibility for other human and civil rights infractions.
Turkish democracy is pure illusion. Erdogan’s rule is iron-fisted. Opposition parliamentary members were stripped of immunity, leaving them vulnerable to arrest, prosecution and imprisonment for criticizing regime policies.
Erdogan is an international outlaw, a tinpot despot in a part of the world ruled by dictators. Turkey is also an important NATO member, allied with Washington’s imperial wars, its involvement crucial to their continuance.
Its territory is a launching pad and safe haven for US-created and supported jihadists waging war on Syria and its people. Weapons, munitions and other material support pass freely cross-border to ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Their wounded are treated in Turkish hospitals. Erdogan covets annexing northern Syrian territory. He profits from selling stolen ISIS oil.
How the coup attempt affects things remains to be seen. Whether disruption these events cause are long-lasting is unknown.
For now, expect Erdogan to focus on consolidating power and eliminating all opposition elements - military and political.
Iranian media reported its armed forces sealed off border areas with Turkey. Syrians in Damascus celebrating Erdogan’s downfall were premature. He’s still in power, whether weakened remains to be seen.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.