TURKEY. Ankara, Antalya and Istanbul provinces. July 16, 2016. Night of the attempted coup by the Turkish military against Erdogan and his government. [Part 2 of 3]
(1) Supporters of President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan shout slogans as they march on a street in Istanbul. Photograph: Cem Turkel/EPA
(2) People take cover during clashes near the Bosphorus bridge as Turkish military clash with people in Istanbul. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty
(3) A tank moves into position as Turkish people attempt to stop them in Ankara. Photograph: Stringer/AP
(4) People gather near a destroyed police car in Ankara. Photograph: Gokhan Sahin/Getty
(5) A man lays in front of a tank at the entrance to Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Photograph: Ismail Coskun/IHA/AP
(6) A man covered with blood stands near the Bosphorus bridge as Turkish military clash with people at the entrance to the bridge in Istanbul. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty
(7) People carry a man shot during clashes with Turkish military at the entrance to the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty
(8) People take to the street in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Antalya. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty
On 15-16 July 2016, a coup d'état was attempted in Turkey but ultimately failed. The attempt was carried out by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces. They attempted to seize control of several key places in Ankara, Istanbul, and elsewhere, but failed to do so after forces loyal to the Turkish government defeated them.
The motives behind the attempt remain unclear. The organisers cited an erosion of secularism, the elimination of democratic rule, a disregard for human rights, and Turkey’s loss of credibility in the international arena as reasons. The government and opposition parties blamed the Gülen movement—a group designated as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government and led by Fethullah Gülen, a self exile. Gülen, instead, accused Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of staging the event as a false flag operation in an attempt to legitimise further curbs to civil liberties and purges to the judiciary and military, as well as to increase support for an executive presidency.
During the coup, over 300 people were killed and more than 2,100 were injured. Many government buildings, including the Turkish Parliament and the Presidential Palace, were damaged. Mass arrests followed, with at least 16,000 detained. Around 58,000 state employees were also suspended, including judges, teachers and hospital staff. The maximum period of detention for suspects was extended from four days to 30.
More than 130 media organisations have been shut down and several dozens of warrants have been issued against journalists. A three-month state of emergency has been declared by the government. Under the state of emergency, “the Council of Ministers, meeting under the chairpersonship of the President of the Republic, may issue decrees having the force of law on matters necessitated by the state of emergency…”. The state of emergency was endorsed by the Parliament. The prime minister said that the state of emergency was necessary to “get rid of this scourge rapidly”.
As part of the state of emergency, the government announced Turkey was temporarily suspending part of the European Convention on Human Rights invoking Article 15 of the Convention. However, the suspensions may not affect the right to a fair trial or the prohibition on torture.
According to Amnesty International, detainees in Turkey have been denied access to legal council, have been beaten and tortured, and have not been provided with adequate food, water, or medical care. A person who had been on duty at the Ankara police headquarters claimed that police denied medical treatment to a detainee. “Let him die. We will say he came to us dead,” the witness quoted a police doctor as saying.