A coup was attempted in Turkey overnight on Friday, when the military tried to overthrow the President. It all began when the military stopped traffic over two bridges that cross the Bosphorus and connect the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. Cars flowed from the European side to the Asian side; soldiers and military vehicles blocked the path to the European side.
Here’s how the events unfolded.
- The military blocked the way that connected the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.
- In Istanbul, about 300 residents gathered in Taksim Square, some waving Turkish flags. Army tanks and a military vehicle were parked at the square. Videos and photos on social media showed large crowds marching through the streets of both sides, while the Turkish military fired guns in the air.
- Amid chaos and uncertainty over what’s going on, the military issued a declaration saying that it had seized control of Turkey to maintain democratic order. According to the declaration, the “political administration that has lost all legitimacy has been forced to withdraw.”
- People flooded into the streets in support of their leader.
- The ‘Peace in the Nation’ council, through the Turkish state broadcaster, declared imposition of martial law.
- A faction within Turkey’s armed forces used tanks and helicopters in its attempt to bring down President Tayyip Erdogan. There were gunfire attempts near the Presidential complex in the capital of Ankara.
- Angry crowds of people confronted the military, leading to large-scale violence. One video shows a tank running several people down, while others show intense gunfire. A helicopter gunship has also been filmed spraying a street with bullets as protesters run for their lives, while another video shows a tank commander being dragged from the vehicle’s turret. There were also reports of explosions and the internet being cut, with planes flying low over the Ankara.
- More than 180 people died during the clashes, and over 1100 were injured. About 2800 military personnel were arrested by the Turkish authorities.
- President Tayyip Erdogan has now claimed that the military coup was unsuccessful and that the elected government is in charge of the situation. Nevertheless, an atmosphere of tension and turmoil seems to have enveloped the state and its people.