9:31 P.M.: It seems the coup is failing. Per the Associated Press:
Private NTV television is showing footage of large crowds gathering at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport to greet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he emerged from a vehicle upon landing.
Meanwhile in Istanbul, an official at the president’s office says more than 50 military officers have been arrested in Istanbul and large crowds have carried out multiple citizen arrests.
Turkish TV channels are broadcasting scenes of soldiers being escorted away by policemen.
8:59 P.M.: The live feed of CNN Turk is utterly surreal. Make sure to turn on audio:
8:24 P.M.: With the coup looking increasingly likely to fail, some are anticipating that Erdogan will consolidate power in its wake:
#TurkeyCoup summary:— Mustafa Akyol (@AkyolinEnglish) July 15, 2016
1) This is a clique within military, not the whole military.
2) It is failing.
3) It will further empower Erdoğan.
8:15 P.M.: To those looking for background on Turkish politics, NRO has you covered. Tom Rogan, just yesterday:
And Turkey’s prime minister is no loose cannon speaking outside Erdogan’s authority. Yildirim is not only personally and professionally close to Erdogan, he’s essentially Erdogan’s puppet. Mr. Yildirim occupies his office to facilitate Erdogan’s continuing centralization of power. He does what his master bids. And that helps explain what’s going on here.
Victor Davis Hanson, back in December:
Erdogan has insidiously eroded Turkish democracy, free speech, and human rights. He is turning the once-secular state into an Islamic nation. Thousands of Turkish soccer fans recently shouted “Allahu Akbar” when asked for a moment of silence to honor the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks. So much for NATO solidarity.
Under Erdogan, the new Turkish model is not the secular modern state of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Instead, Erdogan praises the ancient Ottoman caliphate, whose theocratic empire once ranged from the Persian Gulf to southern Europe.
When the Muslim Brotherhood tried to dismantle secular government in Egypt, Erdogan egged them on and was instrumental in persuading the Obama administration to adopt a disastrous policy of support for the Brotherhood.
Erdogan used to visit Europe and chide its leaders over their supposed mistreatment of Islamic immigrants. But at home, he has increasingly marginalized the few Turks who are not Muslims.
8:10 P.M.: Now, rumblings that the coup might be doomed:
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkish national intelligence spokesman says coup attempt has been ‘repelled”— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) July 15, 2016
7:54 P.M.: Reports of explosions in Ankara and Istanbul:
7:42 P.M.: This flight tracker shows the status of a plane that left from Dalaman, where Erdogan is thought to have been on vacation when the coup attempt began. No definitive word on whether it’s Erdogan’s plane, but its trajectory certainly is peculiar.
7:36 P.M.: NATO has released a brief statement. The juxtaposition of the NATO statement with President Obama’s is interesting:
7:32 P.M.: Over at Bloomberg, a brief summary of the most recent developments:
Erdogan spoke several times on TV to repeat his resolve to fight the attempted coup; called on Turks to hit the streets to join the ‘fight for democracy.’
Erdogan says arrest warrants have been issued for the small group within military that is waging the ‘failed coup.’
A series of military generals, politicians, officials, and state news media have voiced their support for Erdogan, claiming ‘pro-democracy’ forces are gaining control.
7:27 P.M.: The White House released a brief statement:
The President spoke tonight by phone with Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the events in Turkey. The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected Government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed. The Secretary underscored that the State Department will continue to focus on the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Turkey. The President asked the Secretary to continue to keep him updated as the situation unfolds.
6:50 P.M.: Protests are breaking out in some of Turkey’s major cities. This footage is from YozgatFM:
5:35 P.M.: Meanwhile, Erdogan remains defiant:
Turkish TV broadcasts a message from Erdogan claiming he’s in control and will punish the coup leaders pic.twitter.com/8grmFarUfl— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) July 15, 2016
One has to imagine that FaceTime is not the most effective way to project power.
5:32 P.M.: Wow. President Erdogan is reportedly seeking asylum in Germany, per Kyle Griffin of MSNBC:
Senior US military source tells NBC News that Erdogan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 15, 2016
5:18 P.M.: It seems that the military has taken over state-run TV channel TRT, and is issuing statements through the network. From the Telegraph:
Reports that soldiers are at the HQ of state TV channel, TRT, in Ankara.
That would explain this:
State TV channel says the country is now under the control of a ‘peace council’ that will ensure the safety of the population.
It states that democratic and secular rule of law has been eroded by the Erdogan government.
5:15 P.M.: This video allegedly depicts a military helicopter firing down at an unknown target in Ankara:
Helikopterden ateş açılmasına dair paylaşılan görüntünün Ankara’dan olduğu iddia ediliyor. pic.twitter.com/3tHm6hMsgV— 140journos (@140journos) July 15, 2016
5:06 P.M.: There are tanks in the streets of Istanbul. A jarring sight:
5:02 P.M.: Turkey’s armed forces have released a statement.
Report: Turkish military releases statement, saying armed forces have ‘fully seized control’ of the country.— The Associated Press (@AP) July 15, 2016
4:59 P.M.: Reports are swirling that a military coup is taking place in Turkey. From Jim Geraghty’s post:
There are reports that a military coup is underway in Turkey: Military vehicles are in the streets, the bridges of Istanbul are shut down, and state television just stopped broadcasting.
If you’re concerned about the Islamist drift in Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his allies, a military takeover looks pretty appealing right now! Military coups are almost regularly scheduled in Turkey; the country had coups in 1960, 1971, 1980, and a near-coup in 1997. It’s a regular habit in Turkish politics; an elected leader accumulates too much power and drifts away from the secular, statist, Western-oriented philosophies and traditions of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and the military intervenes. His final remarks to the Turkish military gave them the duty of protecting the country from enemies foreign and domestic (I’m paraphrasing) and the Turkish military has not hesitated to include elected politicians among those enemies. Quite a few times in the past decade, foreign correspondents and Turkey-watchers have wondered if a coup was imminent. It wasn’t . . . until, perhaps, tonight.
Stay tuned to the Corner for updates as more information becomes available.