Causes of Civilian Losses

The events on 15 July 2016 resulted in more than 170 civilians losing their lives and left more than 1,300 wounded[1]. Most of the killings happened in Ankara or Istanbul. The chaos during the clashes obscured who was shooting whom. ERDOGAN agitated the public by mentioning the civilian losses in pursuit of his agenda.


ERDOGAN, YILDIRIM, FIDAN, Minister of Interior Efkan ALA and many Government officials waited until the dissenters took action, instead of taking decisive measures to prevent the events early. This preference, coupled with ERDOGAN’s invitation to the public to resist the dissenters, mainly caused the bloody confrontations.

Some civilian killings occurred while trying to stop the military armored vehicles. But most of the civilians lost their lives due to fire from unidentified directions and people. The civilians on the streets were used as shields or support to the police against the dissenters. Considering the limited number of the dissenters, it is hard to believe that civilians were needed to suppress the attempt. ERDOGAN later used the lives lost as a pretext to carry out his historically brutal crackdown. “Great resistance to defend democracy” images as well as overt violence and lynch images against soldiers have been intensely used by ERDOGAN’s media to agitate the public and raise support for the follow-on non-democratic practices and illegal acts.

Various media outlets reported civilian people armed by Police in Ankara and Istanbul[2] [3] [4]. Those civilians were linked to pro-ERDOGAN “SADAT”, an international defense consulting agency which provides nontransparent training to the opposition groups in Syria, “Osmanli Ocaklari” (Ottoman Clusters), ERDOGAN’s paramilitary power[5], and IHH, a pro-ERDOGAN humanitarian charity organization. All these organizations have been accused of having relationships with Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Al-Nusra[6].[7]


There are clear signals that different groups of pro-AKP militia and mafia gangs were armed on the streets. Their actions have not been investigated. There are allegations that these people were responsible for some of the losses[8] [9] [10]. Many of them were linked to organized criminals and the mafia. The son of the AKP’s Ankara Mayor, Osman GÖKÇEK is accused to have a close relationship with the mafia in Ankara[11].


For instance, a sniper positioned himself on top of a column of the Bosphorus Bridge and targeted pro-ERDOGAN militia and civilians and killed multiple people till morning[12]. The sniper’s identity is yet unknown. Pro-ERDOGAN media aired the identities of all critical dissenters, but they did not publish any precise report about this mysterious sniper.


Most civilian losses are not yet accounted for. Since there is no official document released on how, when and where the casualties occurred, the strong suspicion remains in the public opinion that some of the killings were orchestrated by the masterminds of the events.

Additionally, many soldiers, after their surrender, were violently attacked and some were even killed by these groups of civilians. There is no judicial process or investigation of these murders yet.