Who Were the Dissenters?

The Republic of Turkey was founded by ATATURK on principles of democracy, secularism, social justice and the rule of law. Before 15 July 2016, ERDOGAN had been eroding those core values for a long time and seeking to gain ultimate control over all pillars of power: judiciary, legislature, and executive. This would inevitably lead to a dictatorship. It seems like the alleged dissenters’ main goal was to prevent the destruction of the country’s values and democratic foundation. They should have believed that unseating ERDOGAN was their last resort to stop him. Preventing an imminent, large-scale purge and an expected imprisonment of thousands by the Government could have played a role as well. A limited number of generals, a few hundred officers and a few thousand conscripts and cadets comprised the largest group of the alleged dissenters. They were from various fractions of the Turkish Military.

Some military personnel believed that the coup was a move by the whole military, under the chain of command. A lot of military personnel joined the dissenters because they could not grasp what actually was happening. For example, there were many military officials, who were called back to the duty because of a devastating domestic terror threat. There was another group who believed that they were in a snap exercise.

Lack of a directive and clarification from AKAR, GULER, the Service Chiefs, and other high-ranking officials in the initial hours resulted in the chaos. Yet there was an insidious group, which consisted of the infiltrators of ERDOGAN, PERINCEK in the Military. They participated in the planning, in the execution, and whenever required, corruption of the dissenters’ activities. Except for this last group, all participants of the events were imprisoned and purged.

The overwhelming majority of the Turkish Military did not take part in the events at all. They stayed at home, at their vacation places or abroad due to international assignments. However, this did not stop the Government. There are thousands of military personnel, purged and imprisoned despite their absence at any stage of the events.

For instance, hundreds of Turkish officers were outside the country, at their NATO or Attaché posts during the events. Nevertheless, they were accused by the pro-ERDOGAN media for planning the coup, in collaboration with their NATO and U.S. partners[1]. The Pro-ERDOGAN courts accused them of being members of the FETO organization and for supporting the coup from a distance.