A Turkish army faction that dramatically tried to topple the government has met strong resistance from the public and the rest of the army.
Rebel soldiers attempted to use tanks, fighter jets and attack helicopters to overthrow the government overnight on Friday, killing civilians and other members of the army.
Live footage later showed dozens of soldiers involved in the coup surrendering in various parts of the country, abandoning their tanks with their hands raised in the air.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the insurrection “a stain in the history of democracy” at a news conference on Saturday in Ankara. He raised the death toll in the clashes to 265, at least 47 of which were civilians. Another 1,440 people were wounded and 2,839 military personnel had been detained, he said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a mobile phone text message to the public urging them to take to the streets against the coup plotters.
There were reports of citizens killing soldiers in various cities in Turkey after people took to the streets.
The government blamed the attempted coup on backers of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom the president has long accused of attempting to use his followers in Turkey’s judiciary and military to overthrow the government.
Al Jazeera asked Turkish citizens about their views on the coup attempt and their expectations for the future.
|Ugur Ustun, 35, engineer, Zonguldak|
It is inspiring to see a nation hitting the streets against army members who try to form a military dictatorship, just like they did against political tyranny in the Gezi protests [massive anti-government protests of 2013] three years ago.
Regarding any possible political developments in the country, my two biggest fears are military law and Sharia law. And yesterday a coup attempt driven by an Islamic cleric has been abolished by the will of the people and the political leaders they elected. It was touching to see MPs of different political parties united in the parliament, especially in a country so deeply divided on the political scene.
Meanwhile, some political sceptics around me express their concerns on the truth behind the coup attempt, believing this is a staged play to start a witch-hunt against Erdogan’s rivals. Prior to the attempt, a major topic of discussion in Turkish politics was a possible change towards a presidential system from the current parliament system. I believe this attempt will play into the hands of Erdogan. He is a master of populist rhetoric and he will use this failed attempt to his advantage.
|Pinar Arslan, 33, architect, Istanbul|
I don’t know what to think about such a coup attempt, an action that was so obviously going to fail. It didn’t seem like it was an act, but it didn’t seem real at all either.
There are people who see what happened as a gain, or express gratification over it. However, the situation is getting worse each day for people who have no chance to expect a better future either from the powers backing the coup or the ones against it. I feel no hope for the country after seeing people indiscriminately lynching low-level soldiers who don’t know anything about what is going on – and then continue with their lives normally in the morning.
It is obvious where the country is heading after Recep Tayyip Erdogan changes the system of the country to a presidential system. And it will be time for people like us to leave this country and live somewhere else.
|Ali Halit Diker, 32, editor, Istanbul|
I am still in shock. I cannot believe this is happening in 2016. I am following the news on TV and the internet simultaneously to grasp what is really going on.
On the internet there is news about soldiers being beaten, killed and thrown off the Bosphorus Bridge, but there is news about that on TV. I also found it dangerous to call people on to the streets. We have to be calm and stay unified. Let the officials handle things. I’m very stressed. I hope everything calms down soon.
|Gulin Rahvanci, 32, public relations agent, Istanbul|
|Can Sen, 34, software programmer, Istanbul|