At first glance a strangely inept localised coup attempt which does not have the Turkish military's fingerprints all over it.
At first glance the alleged military coup in Turkey was either commanded by Capt Mainwaring or, more likely, it was Erdoğan own version of Hitler's night of long knives.
When it comes to the country's military, they've a history of instigating and carry out successful military coups. And one thing you can say about last night events an efficiently plotted coup attempt it certainly was not.
The last full blown coup was in 1980, led by the then chief of Staff General Kenan Evren. It was meticulously plotted in secret for over a year and then implemented rigorously to say the least. According to Wikipedia:
Within a very short time, there were 250,000 to 650,000 people detained. Among the detainees, 230,000 were tried, 14,000 were stripped of citizenship, and 50 were executed. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people were tortured, and thousands are still missing. A total of 1,683,000 people were blacklisted. Among those prosecuted were leading Turkish politicians of that day iSüleyman Demirel, Bülent Ecevit, Alparslan Türkeş and Necmettin Erbakan who were incarcerated and banned from politics.
Evren also suspended parliament, the senate and tore up the then constitution. Think what you might about the morality of his coup, he was thorough and open about what he had none. On 18 June 2014, a Turkish court, at Erdoğan bidding, finally had its revenge when it sentenced him to life imprisonment and demoted him to the rank of private.
Consider how the 1980 coup was plotted and carried out, and compare it with the latest alleged coup. It looks like a company of squaddies were sent out to occupy a bridge or two in Istanbul and Ankara and the main Squares. When challenged they seemed confused as to why they were there. A TV station was invaded to make an announcement about the coup, not by a senior or mid ranking member of the military, but by a young woman announcer who was terrorised to go on air. It's just not the style of the Turkish military to hide behind women in this way. If they intended to carry out a coup I doubt it would be announced anonymously.
A couple of jets were seen above Ankara and Istanbul. Who the pilots were loyal to we don't know. Nothing much seems to have occurred in the provinces as far as I can see, and not a single prominent gov minister was arrested at the start of the alleged coup.
Yet according to the latest news reports since the coup's failure was announced by the President, over 3000 'plotters' have now been arrested, with a call for the death penalty to be reinstated, and 2745 judges have been dismissed. It will be interesting to find out who these people are. If they turn out to be the supporters of a secular Turkey which Erdoğan despises and has been targeting of late, then the source of the coup might become much clearer.
A Turkish wag was heard to say in Istanbul "perhaps the president should have arrested himself as I fear half the population of Turkey will come to believe he was the individual who plotted this coup." Most coups work to the same agenda: arrest the President, prime minister and his cabinet, cut communication, shut down media, close airports and seaports and ensure a forceful military presence at the latter, in the Capital, provinces and major cities. None of this happened to a serious degree in this coup. Indeed the first we saw of Erdoğan was at Istanbul's main airport when he denounced the plotters and then again when he told the assembled media the coup had failed.
For the Ataturk secularists, Leftists, and the Islamist who are members of Fethullah Gülen Movement who all oppose Erdoğan, the new presidential palace is anathema as it epitomises his corruption and desire to become a new Sultan. In my judgement if there were rebel fighter jets over Ankara their first target would have been this extravagant £338 million pile of ostentatiousness built by the Turkish tax payers' hard earned cash. There are reports of a bomb going off in that vicinity but no pictures or video of any damage.
What is clear a good many will not be sleeping in their own beds tonight, and whoever instigated this alleged coup have moved Turkey further down the road to dictatorship and a new sultanship. Ataturk will be spinning in his mausoleum.
The question when an event like this occurs is always, who gains?
Former IRA volunteer and ex-prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh, 4 years on the blanket and no-wash/no work protests which led to the hunger strikes of the 80s. Completed PhD at Queens upon release from prison. Left the Republican Movement at the endorsement of the Good Friday Agreement, and went on to become a journalist. Co-founder of The Blanket, an online magazine that critically analyzed the Irish peace process.