By Robert A. Vella
Elements of Turkey’s armed forces staged a coup today against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The military closed off key roads and bridges, seized several media outlets, and began broadcasting announcements that it had taken control of the country. Erdogan has broadcast counter announcements stating that his government was still in control.
Friction between the historically secular military and Erdogan was inevitable since the Sunni Muslim leader has increasingly moved Turkey in a sectarian direction, escalated armed conflict against his nation’s Kurdish minority (i.e. ethnic cleansing), and has been heavily criticized for not combating Islamist terrorism (i.e. ISIS). The Turkish military has always seen itself as the protector of social order, and recent instability inside the country and throughout the region may have triggered this coup attempt.
Further reading: Coup underway in Turkey; president says he’s still in charge