The Corner

Reports: Coup Underway in Turkey, Fighter Jets Over Ankara

In case you’re wondering, no, it is not normal for fighter jets to buzz around Ankara, Turkey in the middle of the night.

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. 

(Caveat: I haven’t followed Turkish politics as closely as I used to back in 2005-2007. Back then, when I lived in Ankara, I was struck by the despair and cynicism of many secular Turks I encountered. They loathed AKP and Erdogan, but didn’t have any faith in the alternatives, dismissing them as incompetent, corrupt, and consumed by petty agendas.)

UPDATE: This isn’t good. Allegedly this is a military helicopter firing down at some unidentified target in Ankara.


Most Popular