Turkish Coup: Erdogan Lands in Istanbul as Leaders Claim Coup Foiled

Turkish Coup: Erdogan Lands in Istanbul as Leaders Claim Coup Foiled, by Selcan Hacaoglu.

Turkey’s leaders said they have largely quelled an attempted military coup, after army officers claimed to have seized power in the country. Clashes persisted in major cities as tanks blockaded roads, soldiers fought with police and warplanes bombed the parliament in Ankara.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech from Istanbul’s international airport, blamed the coup attempt on a group of followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen. “They will pay a heavy price for their treason,” Erdogan said in comments carried by AHaber. A group backed by the preacher condemned any military intervention in Turkish domestic politics in a statement on its website.

Meanwhile, clashes persisted around military headquarters in Ankara, while massive explosions continued to rock the capital — where the legislature was hit by at least two airstrikes — and Istanbul. About 60 people have been killed and hundreds wounded, according to local media reports.

Turkish Coup Live Blog, by Walter Russell Mead.

It’s not actually clear what outcome bodes best for Turkey’s fragile and increasingly endangered democracy. Before the coup, Erdogan was setting world records for locking up journalists; if he holds onto power through the coup he’s unlikely to mellow. More likely, the reverse, and democracy may be the biggest loser, whoever holds power when this settles down. There’s a case to be made (which is not the same thing as supporting the coup) that a military coup offers the greatest hope for Turkish democracy. In the past, the Turkish army has returned to its barracks and restored civilian government.

Getting off the train, by the Economist.

Early in his career Mr Erdogan made a telling remark he was later to regret. Democracy is like a train, he said; you get off once you have reached your destination. Now many of his party’s critics fear that Turkey’s president may be getting close to that goal.