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Category 8

The 27-Night Democracy Watch After the July 15, 2016 Coup Attempt and the Social Partnership Against the Coup Attempt.

Witnessing The Power Of People’s Partnership Putting Down A Coup Attempt: The Case Of Turkey, July 15, 2016

İlknur SAVAŞKAN

Key words:

I assume that most of us who were in Turkey on July 15, 2016, were just proceeding into a typical summer evening. However, as time passed and the night slowly fell into darkness we were unaware that the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which unfortunately for many years had secretly placed its representatives and members into many influential institutions in Turkey, after a leak of its sinister plan, was obliged to pull out its sharpened claws in order to stage a coup. FETÖ, which has a terrorist ideology disguised as Islam and a political fraction, on the night of July 15, displayed the most horrific actions to its so-called own people, but at the time was unaware that these people from all walks of life were going to unite behind the shield of democracy.

Residing in Bursa, after about 10:30 p.m., by chance we were informed through social media that in İstanbul, coup soldiers blocked the two bridges connecting the European and Asian continents, the Bosporus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, and the traffic on these two vital roads was being diverted. Panicking at this news, the first thing that came to mind was strict precaution of a probable revelation of an undefined terrorist group’s plot of a dirty bomb attack. We were uneasy and eager for more information, and approximately half an hour later, again on social media we learend there was chaos in Ankara, the capital city.

Then television newscasts started airing the scenes. There were baffling military exercises such as unexpected low flights of military jets and helicopters, soldiers taking orders and the noise of gunfire and bombs. Turkey’s two major cities were being destroyed. When these disastrous events broke out, there were innocent citizens who happened to be outdoors or in the locations being bombed. Which self-explanations would these people have conceived? Turkey was not at war with any other country, this could not be a civil war, there were not any rifts among the people, this was surely an unconventional battlefield. But one thing was obvious: these unfortunate citizens faced the odds of being killed. And that is exactly what happened to hundreds of innocent, unarmed people, and many more were injured.

In the quest for more information, at approximately 11:00 p.m., while surfing TV channels I came upon a channel where Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım was speaking live. He warned that there was a coup attempt underway by a minority faction from the military, later to be revealed as the Gülenist junta, and told the public to stay calm because everything was under control. This relief did not last long, because minutes later, while our eyes were still fastened to the TV screen, an announcement from the military was delivered on TV, stating that it had taken over the country. In addition, the public was notified of a curfew. In the following hour while the coup plotters continued their announcements, it was slightly after midnight when President Recep Tayip Erdoğan appeared on TV on a live video call connection from his mobile phone, proving to his people that he was safe and that he government was still in power.

It was this scene that changed the course of the night and paved the way to its noble place in the history of modern Turkey. Through this connection, the president urged his people to take to the streets and protest these traitors. As soon as the public was informed about the situation, an unprecedented act on behalf of the coup plotters was to generate. Despite the odds of being killed, with the holy and passionate love for country, everybody took to the streets, embracing and joining hands. The president’s call was enough to trigger an official war between his people and these traitors. However, his people were unarmed civilians, and in minutes, millions answered this urgent call.

In the first hours of the July 16, millions of people started to gather in city squares and streets all around Turkey. Notably in Istanbul and Ankara, it was these first hours of the people gathering that were the bravest and bloodiest. The people in these cities, even though they were unarmed, experienced actual confrontment with these traitorous soldiers who were shooting directly at them and even at times running over them with tanks. In fact, it is indisputable that these individuals had made a difference and notable helped in the defeat of the coup attempt. Without any doubt, they put their lives at stake for the freedom and democracy of their country. In the morning, at about 9:00 a.m. it was claimed that the coup attempt was nearly totally under control. The consequence of this defeated terrorist attack until then was a death toll of about 200 people, those who had unhesitatingly gathered had been killed and thousands were injured. It is possible to say that after a shocking chain of events, on the following day, life started to turn to normal. Although, we continued on with our lives and work, everybody knew that the FETÖ threat might still not be over. With the call from the president, in order to guarantee national security and the unity of the country, the following nights we connected and gathered on the streets and in squares to show that we would remain unified against all types of threats.

These gatherings, democracy watches, continued for 24 hours a day for 27 days in every city of Turkey. Ambitiously and with real courage, nearly every one of us, men, women and even children, were getting together on the streets and supporting the elected government so as to preserve and watch out for our democratic country. People from all political beliefs and ethnicities formed a social partnership and bond. At these gatherings, manner of dress, wealth, level of education, occupation or religion was of no concern. The only thing that mattered was nationalism. It was a celebration of victory and the preservation of democracy. From night until dawn, the crowds waved Turkish flags, chanting verses from the Quran, shouting catchphrases, especially accentuating the phrase “martyrs never die”, and of course I can still hear the people’s rhythmic call of the president’s name echoing in my ears.

The people in Turkey, the most important hub of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, without any prior warning, experience or training had shown the whole world the power of national solidarity. Although, in the history of Turkey, this attempted coup was the deadliest and bloodiest of all, it was a monumental turning point leading to the unification of its citizens, police force and loyal soldiers in the suppression of the coup attempt. At the moment, the necessary steps are being taken for the search for FETÖ members and those who participated in the treachery against the government, and the traitors are still being sought after.

Category 8

The 27-Night Democracy Watch After the July 15, 2016 Coup Attempt and the Social Partnership Against the Coup Attempt.

1. Gülşen ÖZER

Civilians On The Night Of July 15

2. Büşra KILIÇ

The Woman Of July 15

3. İlknur SAVAŞKAN

Witnessing The Power Of People’s Partnership Putting Down A Coup Attempt: The Case Of Turkey, July 15, 2016