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2016 Turkish Coup d’état Brings Trouble to Turkey
  • 장재혁 기자
  • 승인 2016.09.20 17:35
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At 10:30 pm on July 15, 2016, the Turkish military attempted a coup d’état. The bridge on Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait was blocked by this military faction, and a gunfight began in downtown Ankara. The military dominated international airports and national broadcasts. Turkey’s chief of staff was detained by tanks and a helicopter. However, attempt ultimately failed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s arrival at the Istanbul airport. The coup was suppressed less than 12 hours after it began. In all, 336 people involved with the anti-government forces have been attested by the Turkish government. But although the coup was put down in a very short time, despair caused by the events persists. About 265 civilians died, over 400 thousand people were injured, and the 2,839 rebels were arrested. Villagers were tremble with fear because the coup began so suddenly. The United Nations, NATO, and the United States announced their support of Erdoğan’s government, refusing to acknowledge the military’s coup d’état.

Conflicts between Secularists and Islamists

The Republic of Turkey is a country based on secularism, even though 95% of citizens are Muslim. Originally, the military began the coup to protect the secular democracy. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), called the “Father of Turkey,” followed the ideology of secularism, making it the spirit of Turkey’s foundation. He was the first Turkish reformer, and his tendency was to separate politics and religion. In times past, Turkey was the only Islamic country with freedom of religion and gender equality. The government pursued protection of women’s rights and guaranteed freedom of thought. However, Erdoğan is attempting to return Turkey from its secular roots to Islamic fundamentalism.

In ancient times, the Ottoman Empire, a Turkish tribe, destroyed the Great Seljuq Empire and founded the Islamic empire in Asia Minor. This empire flourished from the ancient capital of Istanbul; however, it ultimately collapsed due to revolutionary national spirit. Those who maintain the faith of the Ottoman Empire follow the ideology of Islamism. A representative Islamist is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He wishes to establish a society that meets Islamic regulation. Four coup d’états have taken place in Turkey between the 1960s and 1990s; the most recent was begun by strong secularists in the military to make a break from the Islamic government of Erdoğan.

Fifth Turkish Coup d’État Failed

The Fifth Turkish coup d’état failed because of Erdoğan’s long-term seizure of power over the past 14 years, and because of the Turkish citizens themselves. The Muslims involved in the military coup were dissatisfied, and thus attempted to halt Erdoğan’s authoritarian regime and Islamist stance. However, they were unable to gain support among the secularists in the military. Low participation rate in the coup caused it to fail in a short time at the hands of government forces with the backing of Erdoğan. The fatal impatience of the coup led to unhappy results.

Another reason for the coup’s failure is that many citizens support Erdoğan’s Islamic politics. During his term, gross domestic product (GDP) has risen 7% per a year, and national income has tripled. In general, citizens do not support secularism, because it did not demonstrate actual strong points. The citizens who support Turkish secularism despite its disadvantages do so out of tradition.

Was the Turkish Coup d’État Fabricated by Erdoğan?

From the outset, the Muslims involved in the small military coup were at a disadvantage, even compared to the chain of command of Turkey’s government. Therefore, some presses have raised the possibility that the coup scenario may have been fabricated by Erdoğan. In truth, the Muslims who attempted the coup had an amicable relationship with Erdoğan’s forces. But recently, Erdoğan strongly revealed his desire for power and Islamist leanings, alienating Muslims in the military. For these reasons, it is possible that Erdogan facilitated the coup d’état.

Since the events of the Turkish coup d’état have calmed, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed anger over the military coup, stating his intentions to handle the traitors severely. This will result in an estranged relationship between Erdoğan’s forces and the military involved in the coup.

장재혁 기자  dhy04138@ajou.ac.kr

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