What We Know About the Military Coup in Turkey

July 15th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

A military coup is currently underway in Turkey, according to multiple media reports.

Here's what we know.

  • A faction of Turkey's military is reportedly attempting to overthrow the Turkish government, The Associated Press reports.
  • The Turkish military released a statement announcing that it "fully seized control" of the country.
  • Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denied that the military coup has been successful, describing the coup as "an attempt."
  • Witnesses report seeing military jets and helicopters over Ankara, Turkey, The Guardian reports.
  • Military vehicles reportedly blocked two bridges in Istanbul, with a group of soldiers blocking the entrance to at least one bridge.
  • Turkey's Dogan News Agency reports that national police were summoned to Turkey's capital Ankara.
  • The Turkish military has reportedly taken control over state broadcast network TRT, The Hill reports.
  • According to local reports, President Erdogan has called for Turkish civilians to take to the streets. 

What the Turkish military says about the goals of the coup.

The Turkish military says that the coup is meant to "reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for the law and order to be reinstated," according to the AP. The military has also declared marshal law and imposed a curfew, AFP reports.

Concerns about a possible revolt against the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been floating around for months as dissatisfaction with the leader's executive overreach have mounted.

"There is a broad sense, election results notwithstanding, that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is out of control," Micahel Rubin wrote for Newsweek in March. "He is imprisoning opponents, seizing newspapers left and right and building palaces at the rate of a mad sultan or aspiring caliph. In recent weeks, he has once again threatened to dissolve the constitutional court."

Foreign Affairs writer Derek Davison explained the political maneuver Erdogan attempted to pull off that precipitated the tension. 

What [Erdogan] does care about is the fact that his Justice and Development Party (AKP) maintains a 3 term limit on its elected members of parliament, one of the reformist features it adopted before it won its first majority in 2002. Erdoğan served his three terms, and rather than render AKP’s 3 term limit void and staying in parliament, he elected to abide by the party’s rule, leave parliament, and run for president instead, hoping he would then have the chance to amend Turkey’s constitution to give that office some real power.