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17 July, 2016

Erdoğan survives coup, partly thanks to social media he hates

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, remains in power on Saturday after quelling an attempted coup by military officers who seized control of state television the night before, and then proceeded to shell the parliament in Ankara, deploy troops on major bridges in Istanbul and put tanks on the streets of both cities.

While Erdogan has many critics, and has cracked down on dissent even on social networks, there was no evidence of popular support for the attempted coup.


After the officers claimed control of the country in a statement they forced a presenter to read on TRT, the state broadcaster, the country’s internet and phone networks remained out of their control. That allowed Erdogan to improvise an address to the nation in a FaceTime call to CNN Turk, a private broadcaster the military only managed to force off the air later in the night, as the coup unraveled. In his remarks, the president called on people to take to the streets.


Resistance to the coup was also encouraged by vivid images on social networks of abuses by the military forces, including distressing video clips of a helicopter gunship firing at civilians and fighter jets swooping low over Istanbul.

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