Turkey is in chaos and the future does not bode well for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his allies regardless of whether Erdogan can wrest control from an army group that announced on Friday it has taken over the country.
Unknown elements in the Turkish military on Friday released a statement claiming they had assumed power, while a presidential source told the media that a “group within the Armed Forces has made an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government outside the chain of command.”
Erdogan, an ally of the Obama administration, himself called into CNN Turk and vowed to overcome what he labeled an uprising by a minority.
This framing seems to downplay the significance of the events the past few hours. The military actions of today show the power seizure attempt involves members of the Turkish military senior enough to possibly close bridges into Ankara and streets throughout the city; deploy jets over civilian zones and send tanks outside the Ataturk international airport in Istanbul. It remains unclear which of the troops deployed are part of the coup attempt and which are responding.
There are also reports that senior military officers including Turkey’s top general, General Hulusi Akar, have been taken hostage at the military headquarters.
If Erdogan survives, his regime will never be the same. He has been thoroughly humiliated. He will be viewed internationally as a weak leader, with his grip on power considered so tenuous that it could suffer such a serious coup attempt.
This after NATO-member Turkey has been hit with a series of Islamic State terrorist attacks and Erdogan has been struggling to quell a Kurdish rebellion.
It remains to be seen exactly who is behind today’s dramatic actions. Erdogan told CNN the coup attempt was carried out by a “parallel structure,” a term he has used in the past to refer to Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher who is founder of the opposition Gülen movement. Gülen is himself based in the U.S.
A statement that was read on television claimed a “peace council” took over the country and was imposing a curfew and martial law. “The power in the country has been seized in its entirety,” declared the brazen military statement read on NTV television.
Of course Turkey has a long history of military coups.
The BBC provided a helpful timeline:
- 1993 – Claims of a “covert coup” intended to prevent a peace settlement with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
- 1980 – Military coup following armed conflict between right-wing and left-wing groups in the 1970s/
- 1971 – Military coup known as the “coup by memorandum”, which the military delivered instead of sending out tanks
- 1960 – Coup by group of young military officer outside chain of command, against the democratically-elected Democrat Party.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.