Coup and counter-coup in Turkey and Kurdistan
Sarah Parker and Phil Hearse,
The dramatic events of 15/16 July created an international shock wave: this was, contrary to some initial opinions, a very serious coup involving large sections of the armed forces. Both the parliament and the presidential palace were attacked by fighter planes. Hundreds were killed, both demonstrators and police killed by pro-coup soldiers and helicopter gunships, and young conscripts lynched by the anti-coup crowds. The coup showed the deep rifts that exist inside the Turkish ruling class, and its aftermath showed the growing drive towards the creation of an Islamist dictatorship.
Not so democratic resistance
Immediately the coup was known much of the media went into overdrive about mass popular resistance to the coup. Some left wing journals have followed suit. Tens of thousands did indeed come out to confront the armed forces engaged in the coup. But was this really simply a mass outpouring in a favour of democracy?
In fact we now know that the overwhelming majority of those who came onto the streets were the supporters of Erdoğan’s AKP (Justice and Development) Party. People on the ground say also that the fascist MHP party members also came out. It is true that the Left wing HDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and main opposition CHP (Peoples Republican Party) condemned the coup, but with perhaps a few exceptions their members were not on the streets, and with good reason.
As Defne Kadioğlu Polat has argued: “Friday night, the night of the attempted coup d’etat, was the first time in the recent history of the Turkish Republic that such a large segment of conservatives and religious citizens went out to own the streets (apart from party meetings) in the name of democracy, or at least for their definition of democracy.