On July 15 2016, there was a failed coup attempt in Turkey, organized by the Peace Council, a group of soldiers from the Armed Forces of Turkey. The President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on holiday, with his family, at a resort in Marmaris. Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar was taken hostage, then released. More than 290 people were killed in Ankara and Istanbul during clashes. Thousands were arested.
CHRONOLOGY OF A HISTORICAL NIGHT
The coup in Turkey failed. Q Magazine made known this fact at 2 o’clock in the morning, on Saturday, July 16, when we published the first four names of the officers arrested in Ankara. We published the news that President Erdogan was to arrive in Istanbul, minutes after he had been lifted into the air, while CNN or Al Jazeera screens were displaying the headline „Nobody knows where Erdogan is”.
At 4 a.m., Q Magazine website published the first photo of President Erdogan arriving at the airport in Istanbul and details of his evacuation as well as the order he had given before his departure from Marmaris regarding the downing of the F16 plane that was to bomb the resort where he was on holiday.
Shortly after that, we published the photo with the soldiers that had been arrested, and at 9 a.m. I posted on our site a list with more than 30 names of senior officers arrested overnight.
I would like to underline that the coup was mainly organized by the second echelon in command of the Army. Even though it was supported from the shadows by some generals, none was in command on the night of the coup, each waiting to see how things developed in case of failure. This is why initially, during the night in question, there were arrested only colonels, majors and lieutenants. Only the next day, when the president and the government were in complete control, the authorities identified and ordered the arrest of several generals suspected that they were not only acquainted with the plot but they also plotted to overthrow the regime in power.
In the avalanche of the midnight fragmented pieces of information, the most difficult task for a professional journalist, who was in another country than the one where the events were ongoing, was to process and analyze the information received and decide whether or not to publish it. It is extremely hard to resist NOT to disseminate a piece of information.
However, I did it with two important pieces of information.
The first was the one regarding the involvement of the United States in this putsch. Although my sources were absolutely reliable, I considered it wise to wait and have the information confirmed by other sources too. And, paradoxically, one of them came from the United States.
At around 4.30 in the morning, I wrote on qmagazine.ro: „Sources in the Turkish intelligence community stated for Q Magazine that everything was organized with the active support of the United States”, but I refused to publish this information due to lack of concrete evidence.
The silence kept by the Administration in Washington in the early hours of the coup could be evidence enough of their involvement, but quite subjective.
According to the same sources, President Erdogan has become uncomfortable because of the intransigent way he rules the country and a possible trilateral alliance: Russia-Turkey-Israel could have an enormous impact on the balance of power in Europe.
Confirmation of the information from the Turkish sources from a former high-ranking US Army officer. Lt. Col.(r.) Ralph Peters, on the TV channel Fox News, said verbatim: „If the military coup succeeds, Islamists will lose and we will win!” Peters is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, the state where Imam Fethullah Gulen has his headquarters. A former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and currently his fiercest opponent, Gulen, according to several sources in the Turkish intelligence services, is the man the United States counted on to assume power after the coup last night.
Petres worked in US military intelligence, spent 10 years in Germany and became a specialist in the Soviet space.
A few hours after Turkey had virtually been taken hostage by the army group that wanted to overthrow the regime in power, a message from the White House showed that both Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry supported „the democratically elected regime” in Turkey.
Sources told Q Magazine that all world leaders were taken aback by the solidarity the Turkish people felt with President Erdogan as they didn’t not expect people to take to the streets to support him even if they risked being machine-gunned by the army.
Altought Q Magazine, a few hours after the first militray schemes, revealed that the coup had failed, few people believed. And many hoped that … maybe… still…
In his first statement uttered on the night of the coup, in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan identified as the author of the events the Turkish Imam Fethullah Gulen (photo), and the next day, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said: „any country that gives refuge to Muslim cleric Gulen cannot be friends with Turkey and will be considered at war with Turkey”.
In turn, Gülen condemned in the strongest terms the attempted coup in Turkey, adding that „I have suffered in the past 50 years due to several military coups and consider an insult to be accused of having any connection with the attempt. I categorically reject such allegations”.
Immediately after the statements made by Erdogan, a group close to Fethullah Gulen denied any involvement in the coup. I categorically reject such allegations”.
„We condemn any military intervention in the internal politics of Turkey”, stated the Alliance for Common Values. „Statements made by those close to Erdogan on the involvement of the movement are extremely irresponsible”, the organization stated clearly.
Then I also decided NOT to post the news that President Erdogan had asked to land in Germany, requesting political asylum, which would have been denied, although this information had been taken up by many agencies and international broadcasters.
Q Magazine sources later confirmed that it did not occur to Erdogan to land in Germany – for the simple reason that he could have landed on any Turkish airport except for the two airports in Ankara and Istanbul that were under the command of the putsch forces – so there was no question of asylum. Whoever provided this information, does not know Erdogan at all.
Turkey is one of the few countries where the military have an extremely powerful voice. The explanation is found in the biography of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who had an exceptional military career and who is the father of the nation for all Turks. At the age of twelve he became a student at the Military Academy in Istanbul. His teachers „baptized” him KEMAL meaning „perfection” and in 1938 took the appellation of ATATURK which means „father of the Turks”.
President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introducing the new Turkish alphabet to the people of Kayseri on 20 September 1928.
The first constitution of the Republic of Turkey and the organization of the state were his work. He was the first president of the Republic assuring the transition from the Ottoman, archaic Turkey to modern Turkey. Inspired by his studies on governmental organization of the Western countries, he applied the same principles but taking into account his country’s national peculiarities. He was criticized for the secularization process, some considering that thus the national cultural traditions of the country were spoiled.
Even today there are two different schools of thought, a clash between those who have conservative nostalgia versus those who want democratic freedoms.
Mustafa Kemal Pasha on the cover of Time magazine’s issue of 24 March 1923. The title reads: „Where is a Turk his own master?”
Kemal Ataturk was the one who gave the military the responsibility to be Guarantor of the CONSTITUTION, having in view the excesses at the court of Sultan he had deposed of power.
In time, the position of „Chief of the Army” (i.e. Chief of Staff) became extremely powerful and respected. The Army became a body of „supervision” of governance performance. It sanctioned the breaches of constitution, but it never wanted to become a military junta to assume governing, as it happened in Egypt, for instance. The military status is highly respected and there is a very strong structure of the military retirees.
Compared to Germany, where the military is „a citizen in uniform”, in Turkey the military uniform is considered the guarantor of normality and not only for Turkey but also for NATO and the US, given its strategic position.
PRO ARMY DEMONSTRATIONS
In 2011, 15,000 protesters gathered at the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk to protest the trials of 196 senior officers, active or reserve, who were accused of attempting to overthrow Erdogan government. The government representatives stated that such events „strengthen democracy in Turkey.”
Critics argued that these trials were aimed at intimidating Erdogan’s opponents and that the evidence was fabricated. On the other hand, bringing the Army in civil courts offended the entire army corps. Let us not forget that the military, anywhere in the world, are a professional caste with its own rules and codes of conduct and considers an offence to be tried by civilians who do not understand the military code.
CHINA – A REASON
President Recep Tayip Erdogan sometimes ignored not only the interests of some NATO partners, but also their political and diplomatic sensitivities.
In 2013, Turkey started negotiations with China to purchase an air to ground defense system worth $ 3.5 billion. The negotiation was stopped in 2015 under pressure from the US and NATO.
The reason was that the Chinese system was not compatible with NATO’s defense system (based on US Patriot missiles) and it was not desirable to let China have access to integrated information within NATO missile defense.
Commentators praised Erdogan’s gesture as a reaction both to the US decision and to the decision of other states that admitted that during the period 1915-1923 more than 1.5 million Armenians were massively deported from Turkey and that it is its duty to make up for the consequences of this genocide.
A reason for the revolt that led to the putsch is not only the fact that Erdogan’s regime strangled the democratic freedoms, but also the importance and priority that it has given to the budgets allotted for the purchase of military equipment in recent years.
From 2002 to 2014, Turkey has allocated $13.2 billion to the defense budget.
In 2002, Turkey’s defense budget represent 3.5% of the GDP and in 2014 it had fallen to 1.7% of the GDP.
In 2014, Turkey exported military technique worth $1.4 billion and imported military technique worth $1.3 billion.
Turkish army allocates 50% of the annual budget for salaries, benefits and payment of military pensions. Therefore, the soldiers are very sensitive to the decisions made by the government essentially led by President Erdogan. In 2009, Turkey has allocated $10 billion from the central budget for military equipment (besides the funds managed by the State Undersecretariat for Defense Industry). We must take into account that these allocations for Defense have put significant pressures on the budgets for other such as health, education, economy etc.
It is too early to make predictions. At the time of writing these lines, even if hundreds of thousands of people are in the streets to support Erdogan, Army leadership is either decimated, arrested or terrified by what is in store for them. However, I can’t believe that even under these circumstances they will soon forget the humiliation of this failure.
Among the people who died when the Turkish military opened fire on civilians during the failed coup was Erol Olcak, a close friend and ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who worked on the leader’s first major political campaign, for Istanbul mayor, in 1994. In the above picture, former President Abduallah Gul and President Recep Erdogan are carrying his coffin.
The 290 dead people can justify any decision that Erdogan will make. We have seen thousands of magistrates fired and we will also see other actions that will have one thing in common – they will be of vast proportions.
The president has to give a message of force as, without it, the officers that are not loyal to him will continue to plot with the obscure forces of some states supporting a regime change in Ankara – (I hope, if they want to succeed, they won’t organize everything on what’s app) and next time they will be successful.
A list of Turkish Armed Forces units that have lost their commanders
WHO SAVED ERDOGAN
The strategic mistake of this coup was the fact that Erdogan wasn’t annihilated. He should have been the main target, even before taking the tanks to the streets or close the bridges over Bosphorus Strait or taking control of the airports.
„THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE STOPPED TANKS AND HELICOPTERS”, said PRESIDENT ERDOGAN, during a huge rally of support
A country whose people had no one to take to the streets for would have been a conquered country and the conquerors, even if they had been accused of manslaughter, they would have written the history of the future.
Sources from the international intelligence community have declared for Q Magazine that the plotters really wanted to annihilate the Turkish president but, twenty minutes before the hotel Erdogan was staying at was to be bombed, a foreign intelligence service prevented him of the attack, Erdogan was evacuated and the putsch forces bombed the hotel without knowing the situation on the ground.
The president that had also received information about the plane which was to carry out the mission, before leaving had given the order for the F16 to be downed. A piece of information Q Magazine posted at 3.10 a.m., a few minutes after Erdogan leaft.
As soon as it was clear that the coup had failed, all the important leaders of the world showed their support for the „democratically elected government in Ankara”, but ONE country kept silent.
It didn’t need to do it because it had saved him!
The fact that Erdogan survived changes the result of other future coups. These days I would watch the relations Turkey-U.S.A. and Russia-Turkey-Israel.
President Erdogan is considers to be the defender of the Islamic religion. The turkish society is divided in two trends, pro and anti – religion. According to some unofficial numbers, 20% of the Turks are traditional muslims, 30% moderate muslims and the other are promoters of the secularism. Erdogan’s vision, which is different than that of the secularist generals in the Army gave birth to a irreversible conflict which doesn’t exclude not even a future military coup.
Some thoughts I wrote days later after de coup
- Two days later, in an interview on CNN, president Erdogan confirmed that if he had been ten minutes late he would have been killed. No one expects that the details of this affair will ever be disclosed. There was only a ten minutes error.
- A few days after the event, an Iranian press agency wrote about the fact that that the Russian intelligence services would have intercepted the messages of the putsch forces and they would have warned Erdogan. A few hours after this information became public, the Kremlin denied everything. Paradoxically, this is the truth. The information of the Iranian agency and not the Russian denial.
- I would also watch the trilateral: Russia-Turkey-Israel. A meeting between Putin and Erdogan is to be held on the first week in August. When you read this lines it has already taken place. The possible tightening of Turkey-Iran relations is nothing else but apolitical and diplomatic manipulation. It hides another relation. Keep an eye on what I have told you.