It would be unrealistic to call the events of 15 July 2016 as a genuine coup attempt. They fit best to the definition of a Self-Coup. Erdogan’s partners in the Government and the bureaucracy were ready well before the events broke out. Their goal was to set up bloody confrontations and increase the death toll. The suspicious acts of the chief of the Turkish Military General Hulusi Akar and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Gendarmerie service chiefs suggest that they had earlier agreed with Erdogan on staging a fake coup. A press release by the Turkish Military stated that the dissented personnel amounted to 8,651, mostly mobilized in Istanbul and Ankara. Almost half of them were cadets and conscripts. However, the crackdown was devastating. Mass arrests throughout the country begun immediately. Thousands of judges and prosecutors, including two members of the Supreme Court, were the first in line.
Erdogan’s partners in the Military provided him with a golden opportunity to consolidate a dictatorial regime and redesign the country. A few days later, Erdogan declared the State of Emergency and announced a series of Government dictated laws. The authorities of the police and the judiciary expanded tremendously. The State of Emergency provided Erdogan unconstrained power to suppress his opponents, extend his rule, and change the country’s democracy into tyranny. Erdogan’s regime jailed more journalists than all the other nations of the world. His Government sacked 151,967 government employees, detained 138,579 citizens, and arrested 78,687. 5,822 academicians and 4,463 judges and prosecutors were among the purged. The Military lost almost 30,000 military officials, 17,000 military cadets and nearly two-thirds of its cadre of generals and admirals. Approximately 90% of the career officers were expelled from the Military.
Keeping the hope in Turkey is hard. However, the authors of this study are hopeful. They firmly believe that a promising future for Turkey is possible and not so far. They trust the wisdom of their people. They are sure that this wisdom will eventually recall the respect for freedoms, the firm commitment to the rule of law and the more than a century-long strive for a genuine democracy.
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