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Jul 17, 2016 | 19:00 GMT

14 mins read

Updates on the Coup in Turkey


Editor's Note: Stratfor is closely tracking the developing situation in Turkey. As with any breaking situation, details are still emerging, and confirmed information is scarce. We will regularly update this space, including a geopolitical overview of the implications of such military action in Turkey itself.

Turkey: Gulen Will Obey Any U.S. Extradition Ruling

U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose followers Turkey blames for a failed coup, said July 17 that he would obey any extradition ruling from the United States, Reuters reported. But he also said that President Tayyip Erdogan had staged the putsch. Turkey has said it is putting together an extradition request for the cleric. The U.S. government has said it would consider any formal request.

Turkey: Middle Eastern Flights To Country Resume

EgyptAir resumed its flights to Istanbul airport on July 17, MENA news agency reported July 17. The Egyptian airline company had made the decision to cancel all flights to Istanbul airport over the attempted coup in Turkey on July 15. Iran also resumed flights to and from Turkey on July 17, a spokesman for Iran's Civil Aviation Organization said, a day after suspending them, Reuters reported. At least 12 empty planes had been sent by Iran to Turkey on July 16 to repatriate thousands of Iranians.

Turkey: Coup Attempt Officially Over, Military Says

The Turkish Armed Forces released a statement on July 17, stating that the coup attempt officially ended as of 4:30 p.m. local time, Daily Sabah reported. The statement also acknowledged the support of the public in neutralizing the coup attempt that took place July 15, in which a faction of the military attacked institutions in Ankara and Istanbul in an attempt to overthrow the government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The announcement follows reports of Turkish police carrying out an operation at the 3rd Main Jet Base Command in Konya to detain coup suspects. The Turkish military will be weakened by the failed coup at a time when it is involved in conflicts in the Middle East.

Israel: Reconciliation With Turkey To Continue After Failed Coup

The reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey will be implemented as planned despite Turkey's failed coup, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, Reuters reported July 17. Violence erupted in Turkey on July 15 when a faction of the military attempted to take over the government, attacking institutions in Istanbul and Ankara. Despite the events, it appears Israel will continue the rapprochement with Turkey. Relations between the two countries crumbled after Israeli marines stormed a Turkish ship in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, killing 10 Turkish activists on board. The recent agreement reached between the two regional powers is partly driven by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean port and natural gas deals.

Russia, Turkey: Presidents May Meet In August Following Coup Attempt

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may meet in August, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a statement July 17 following Turkey's failed coup, Reuters reported. Putin called the Turkish president after the July 15 coup attempt and said he hoped Russian tourists would be protected. Erdogan pledged to do so. The statement quoted Putin as telling Erdogan that Russia found anti-constitutional acts and violence unacceptable and was hoping for the restoration of order and stability in Turkey. Relations between the Kremlin and Erdogan remain strained over the Syria crisis and Turkey's shooting down of a Russian fighter jet in Syria in November. However, Erdogan apologized to Putin in June over the downing of the plane, agreeing to resume bilateral cooperation. The Kremlin had responded to the incident by imposing restrictions on trade with Turkey.

Turkey: At Least 6,000 People Detained After Failed Coup

Turkey has detained 6,000 people over the July 15 failed coup and the number is expected to rise further, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said July 17, BBC reported. The sweep has included high-ranking soldiers and 2,700 judges. More than 50 soldiers were detained in the western province of Denizli on July 17, including Maj. Gen. Ozhan Ozbakir, commander of the Denizli garrison. Erdogan's military secretary was also arrested on charges of supporting the coup attempt, Al Jazeera reported. One of Turkey's most senior judges, Alparslan Altan; Gen. Erdal Ozturk, commander of the Third Army; Gen. Adem Huduti, commander of the Second Army; and Akin Ozturk, the former Chief of Air Staff were reportedly arrested as well. At least 265 people were killed in clashes as the coup failedTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused a U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen of being behind the plot, which Gulen denies. The failed coup will weaken the Turkish military at a time when it is entangled in Syria and Iraq.

U.S. Bans Flights from Turkey

Airlines are not permitted to fly from Turkey to the United States, even via a third country, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said in a statement posted on its website, AP reported. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed this in a statement, but has not posted the suspension on its website. The State Department cited diminished security at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, which has reopened already since the failed coup. No U.S. airlines offer service to Istanbul even under normal conditions. (Delta hoped to resume flights in May but canceled those plans in April.) But Turkish Airlines said that normal flights have resumed. Flights to the United States are essential for the airline, which relies on through traffic from the United States to destinations in more remote regions.

U.S. Would Consider Extraditing Gulenist Leader

The U.S. government would consider a request to extradite Turkish opposition leader Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, if the evidence stands up to scrutiny, Secretary of State John Kerry said July 16, AP reported. On live television, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt and of being a "terrorist leader." Kerry said that if Turkey submitted evidence of wrongdoing, U.S. authorities would investigate and issue a judgement. Gulen issued an official statement condemning the coup. His Gulenist movement has substantial support in the bureaucracy and military. Many of the coup leaders reportedly have ties to the Gulenist movement, and Erdogan will almost certainly mount a campaign to purge the armed forces.

High-Ranking Military Officials Detained

Several prominent military leaders were detained July 16 in the wake of a failed coup attempt, Hurriyet Daily News reported. Turkish 2nd Army Commander Gen. Adem Huduti, 2nd Army Executive Officer Avni Angun, 3rd Army Commander Erdal Ozturk and former Chief of Air Staff Akin Ozturk have all been detained. Meanwhile, at least another 10 unidentified senior officers have also been detained. Turkey needs serious time to repair its military, which will be difficult as conflict escalates across the country's southern border in Syria and Iraq. 

In Rare Joint Statement, Parties Condemn Coup Attempt

Four political parties read a joint statement July 16 before the Turkish parliament condemning the coup attempt and vowing to lay aside political differences, Hurriyet reported. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said this would mark a new start in cooperation and that the coup-plotters were no longer soldiers but terrorists. The four parties were the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Kurdish-dominated Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). In its statement, the HDP said Turkey should focus on solving the Kurdish issue first.

Mop Up Continues After Coup Attempt

The Turkish government appears to be mopping up the last remnants of the coup. More than 160 people have been confirmed killed in the fighting. Erdogan has vowed to purge the judiciary and military's ranks, calling the coup a "gift from God" because it will help with this process. Already, 11 prosecutors have been arrested, Daily Sabah reported. Other reports suggest that 2,745 judges have been removed from duty. The prime minister said 2,839 military personnel have also been detained for alleged connections for the coup attempt. Some surrendered on the Bosporus Bridge, which they took early in the coup, and others surrendered to police in Istanbul's Taksim Square, as well as in other Turkish cities. Tanks used by the coup plotters have been returned to Istanbul's Selimiye military base. 

Opposition leader Fethullah Gulen has denied playing any role in the coup and unequivocally condemned it from where he lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. The Turkish prime minister said that any nation that supports Gulen is not a friend of Ankara and will be considered to be at war with Turkey. In an early morning live press conference from Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen of building a parallel structure in the military, judiciary and other institutions to overthrow the democratic government.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim gave a speech before an extraordinary session of parliament following the abortive coup attempt. The Turkish parliament building in Ankara was badly damaged by tanks and helicopters. Yildirim thanked political party leaders for helping to unite the Turkish people and said he was proud of the protesters who came out into the streets to resist the coup attempt. 

The Greek government detained eight Turkish military personnel who fled to the city of Alexandroupolis, requesting political asylum following the coup attempt. Erdogan also accused the coup plotters of bombing the resort of Marmaris where he had been vacationing at the start of the fighting, just missing him before he left. Although Turkey's coup plotters had the element of surprise in their favor, they were led by a polarizing faction.

Meanwhile, reports emerged that the Turkish government imposed a lockdown on the Incirlik air base in Adana province, which is used by the U.S.-led coalition combating the Islamic State in Syria, the U.S. Consulate confirmed, Daily Star reported. Electricity in the base was reportedly cut off and local authorities were stopping movement in and out of the base. Hurriyet then reported that while entry and exit from the base was briefly constrained and power momentarily cut off, the base was reopened after a few hours. It is unclear if the base remains closed. U.S. President Barack Obama met with the National Security Council following the abortive coup, according to an official White House statement.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry and a number of other countries have issued statements congratulating the Turkish government on suppressing the coup attempt.

Thousands Of Judges Sacked

Turkish authorities have removed some 2,745 judges from duty on July 16, in a move to shore up support following the failed coup attempt on July 15, NTV and Anadolu reported. The decision was made at an emergency meeting of the Judges and Prosecutors High Council, which was called to discuss punitive measures for those with links to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Ankara claims was behind the coup attempt.

Anti-Government Group Seizes Frigate, Source Says

A Turkish group opposed to the government has seized a frigate at Turkey's Golcuk naval base, an unnamed senior Greek military source said July 16, Reuters reported. The group is also reportedly holding the head of the Turkish fleet hostage.

Coup Plotters Seeking Asylum In Greece

Greek authorities arrested eight men aboard a Turkish military helicopter which landed in the northern city of Alexandroupolis at midday on July 16, according to Greece's country’s police ministry, Greek state television reported. The men, who are believed to have taken part in the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, are seeking asylum in Greece, according to the report. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has reportedly demanded their return.

Some 104 Mutineers Killed, Acting Army Chief Says

Around 104 coup plotters were killed during and after the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, acting army chief Umit Dundar said July 16, AFP reported. Another 90 people, including police and civilians, were also killed. Another 2,839 members of Turkish army have reportedly been detained. Meanwhile, Erdogan called on his supporters via Twitter to continue protesting the coup in the streets, as a new flare-up could take place at any moment.

Bosporous Reportedly Closed To Shipping

Maritime authorities shut Istanbul's Bosphorus Strait to transiting tankers on July 16, citing security and safety reasons, according to shipping agent GAC said, Reuters reported. The move comes in the aftermath of the coup attempt that took place late on July 15 in Turkey. Some cargo ships, including bulkers, were reportedly still being allowed to pass through the channel, though witnesses said there was no traffic at the southern mouth of the strait at daybreak.

 Erdogan Declares Coup Attempt Over

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said July 16 that his government is in charge following the coup attempt, though sporadic ongoing clashes are still being reported. At least 60 people have been killed thus far in the violence, including a number of police officer, and at least 150 people have been wounded. Pro-government forces have retaken control of the Turkish military headquarters, according to an unnamed senior official, and the Turkish military’s chief of staff has reportedly been rescued after being taken hostage by coup plotters. More than 750 people have been arrested, many of them soldiers who participated in the coup attempt. Erdogan thanked the leaders of three opposition parties that refused to back the coup attempt.

Coup Forces Storm CNN Turk Office in Istanbul

Forces supporting the ongoing coup attempt in Turkey have entered the offices of CNN Turk, the media outlet reported July 15. An anchor said she was being taken off the air by supporters of the coup. Though the station's broadcast has yet to be cut, no program is occuring.

Erdogan Lands in Istanbul

A plane carrying Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan just landed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport, Flight Radar 24 showed on July 15. 

Dismissed Colonel Behind the Coup

Reports indicate that Col. Muharrem Kose, a former military legal counsel who was dismissed from his position in March, is behind the ongoing coup attempt in Turkey, Anadolu Agency reported July 15. At least three other co-conspirators are believed to be complicit in the plot.

Explosion Heard at Parliament Building

An explosion has reportedly taken place at the Turkish parliament building, Anadolu Agency reported July 15. The report coincides with various accounts of a loud blast occurring in Istanbul, Reuters reported. Stratfor could not verify the authenticity of the reports. 

F-16 Fighter Jets Allegedly Shoot Down Helicopter

Turkish F-16 fighter jets reportedly shot down a helicopter carrying supporters of the ongoing attempted military coup on July 15, CNN reported. The jets were seen making flyovers during the outbreak of the coup earlier in the evening.

Soldiers Reportedly Fire On Protesters on Bosporus Bridge

Turkish soldiers have reportedly fired on protesters trying to cross Istanbul's Bosporus Bridge, AP reported July 15. The crowds were taking part in demonstrations against the recently executed military coup.

Iran: Government Closes Border With Turkey, Reports Say

Iran has closed its border with Turkey, journalists said via Twitter on July 15. Stratfor could not confirm the accuracy of these reports.

Tanks Fire Near Parliament Building

Tank fire has been heard near the Turkish parliament building. Gunfire has been heard near the airport in Istanbul, according to Reuters.

Former President Denounces Coup

Turkey's 1st army commander, Umit Dundar, has said the army does not support the coup. Former President Abdullah Gul also rejects coup, according to Daily Sabah.

Anti-Coup Protests Have Begun

Tanks are reportedly facing down anti-coup protesters in Ankara and Istanbul. Riot police are said to be firing guns in air and telling the military to leave.

President Reportedly Seeking Asylum In Germany

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reportedly seeking asylum in Germany, after first landing in Istanbul and being turned away, senior U.S. military sources said, MNBC reported July 15. Erdogan is reportedly still in the plane on the way to Germany.

All Staff Of State Television Channel Told To Stay Home

All staff for the Turkish state television channel TRT have been told to stay home, unconfirmed reports via Twitter from journalists showed. According to the reports, no broadcast will take place at least until after the morning of July 16.

Military Statement Claims Takeover

The Turkish military has reportedly claimed in a statement that it has taken control of the country, Reuters reported July 15.

Military Active in the Streets of Istanbul

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim has confirmed through his Twitter account that a coup is underway in Turkey. The announcement comes after news that military forces were active in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara and blocking the Bosporus bridges in Istanbul. There have also been reports of gunfire at military headquarters in Ankara and of Turkish F-16s flying over the cities. The Ataruk airport in Istanbul is under army control. Turkish President Erdogan is reportedly on vacation in Bodrum, southwestern Turkey.


Updates on the Coup in Turkey
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