Contradictory reports are coming in.
A faction within Turkey’s military announced that it had seized power against president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The statement accused Erdogan of “eroding the country’s secular traditions”, Martial law was announced and a curfew was implemented late Friday night.
According to reports, the armed forces were deployed in Ankara and Istanbul. There were also reports of clashes between the coup plotters and loyal factions of the armed forces:
“Reuters reporters saw a helicopter open fire. State-run news agency Anadolu said military helicopters had fired on the headquarters of the intelligence agency. Reuters journalists saw tanks open fire near the parliament building in Ankara, which they had surrounded. A Turkish fighter jet shot down a military helicopter used by the coup plotters over the capital, the NTV broadcaster reported.”
The president has called upon his supporters to take to the streets in a statement rebroadcast on CNN Turkey. A government spokesperson said that the attempted coup was by a faction within the military and that power still rested with the government.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a brief statement via CNN Turk calling on the country’s people to fight back against what he called a Gulenist network effort to undermine the country’s democracy. In the statement, Erdogan urged citizens to wage conflict and take to the streets in protest. (Sputnik, July 15, 2016)
The Gulenists are followers of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric who seaks the formation of a “Parallel Structure”. The Gulenists have denied any involvement. The group within the military responsible for the coup is a self proclaimed “Peace Council”. Their stated objective is to establish an interim government and “reinstall democratic practices”.
In recent developments, the Prime Minister has said that the coup has been put down and the coup plotters have been arrested. The evidence, however, points to chaos in the streets of Ankara, including the exchange of gunfire.
UPDATE: Erdogan made a speech at Istanbul airport. His whereabouts have been ascertained.
A Turkish F-16 fighter jet has reportedly shot down a military helicopter used by the pro-coup faction of the Turkish army, local broadcaster NTV reported, as reports suggested the capital of Ankara descended into chaotic clashes involving civilians and military. (RT, July 15, 2016)
The government sources point to a “Failed Coup” while independent sources point to confrontation between different factions in the Armed Forces. “Ankara chaos: All-out war with helicopters, fighter jets, tanks, casualties reported”
“Multiple reports of explosions and shooting are coming out of Ankara, with some stating that at least four explosions were heard. Tanks are opening fire around the Turkish parliament building”, Press TV reports.
A military helicopter was spotted opening fire above Ankara, Reuters reports, citing witnesses. Other reports claim that a loud explosion occurred at the headquarters of state broadcaster TRT.
Geopolitical Implications: The War on Syria
Recent developments point to a failed coup d’Etat. Irrespective of the outcome, Erdogan’s powerbase has been weakened. The country has been precipitated into a political and social crisis.
The geopolitical implications are potentially far-reaching.
Who was behind the attempted coup? US intelligence was certainly informed. How does the attempted coup affect Ankara’s relations with Washington, Brussels and Moscow?
Are we dealing with an attempted “regime change?
How does it affect the balance of power in the Middle East? How does it affect the refugee crisis?
Erdogan remains a staunch supporter (unofficially) of the Islamic State insurrection in Syria, with Turkish advisers operating within in the ranks of rebel forces. He also has territorial ambitions with regard to Northern Syria.
The Turkish people are strongly opposed to Erdogan’s actions against Syria, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and freedom of expression, including the crackdown on journalists.
TURKEY’S DIRTY WAR: MP Erdem (left) exposed the Turkish regime led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in running NATO’s dirty war in Syria.
Together with Saudi Arabia,Turkey played a key role in the recruitment and training of the terrorists.
The US air campaign allegedly against the Islamic State is operated out of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Force base. How will these developments affect the ongoing war in Syria?
The U.S. military’s future use of Turkish bases in the campaign against the Islamic State was left uncertain Friday evening amid an attempted coup against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (WP, July 15, 2016)
The US led “counter-terrorism” operation against the Islamic State is largely intended to protect rather than destroy ISIS and Al Qaeda forces fighting the government of Bashar al Assad.
In recent developments, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in liaison with Washington have channelled arms, ammunition and supplies to the rebels inside Syria, not to mention the influx of new terrorist recruits across the Turkey-Syria border.
Without the Erdogan government’s support, the US-NATO-Israel sponsored jihadist insurgency against the Syrian government would most probably have been defeated.
In the short run, the attempted coup is likely to have an impact on the Battle of Aleppo, inasmuch as as the supply lines from Turkey may be temporarily disrupted.
There is a strong secular tradition in the Turkish Armed Forces as well as opposition to Erdogan’s support of the Islamic State, including the smuggling of oil across the Syrian-Turkish border:
“We have received additional information confirming that the oil controlled by Islamic State militants (ISIS) enters Turkish territory on an industrial scale. We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure the security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers.” (President Vladimir Putin, Paris, November 30, 2015)