12 hours of turmoil
12 hours of turmoil
An attempted coup by elements of the Turkish military failed just hours after
they tried to topple the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The armed forces have had a history of mounting coups to defend
secularism, but have not seized power directly since 1980.
Timeline of events
Who is behind the
President Erdogan urges people to
take to the streets to protest. Says he
is returning to the capital Ankara after
being on holiday in Marmaris on the
A military helicopter opens fire
over Ankara. Witnesses report an
explosion in the capital.
Tanks surround Turkish
Parliament building, open fire.
Gunfire heard at Istanbul airport.
Friday July 15, 10.29pm (Istanbul time*)
Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge are both
closed. Dogan News Agency footage shows cars and buses being diverted.
Gunshots heard in Ankara, and
military jets and helicopters seen
flying overhead. Helicopters seen
overhead in Istanbul.
Mr Erdogan appears among
supporters at Istanbul airport.
Message from military read out by
Turkish state broadcaster. Says new
constitution to be prepared, accuses
government of eroding democratic
and secular rule of law, and declares
martial law and curfew.
Two loud explosions heard in
centre of Ankara.
Turkish fighter jet shoots down military
helicopter used by coup-plotters over
Ankara, broadcaster NTV says.
Soldiers involved in the attempted
coup surrender on one of the bridges
across the Bosphorus in Istanbul,
abandoning their tanks with their
hands raised in the air.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali
Yildirim says attempted coup
under way, calls for calm.
Turkey’s military headquarters are
now held by pro-government forces.
Statement purportedly from
Turkish military says it has
taken power to protect
Bomb hits Parliament building in
Ankara, state-run Anadolu Agency says.
Reuters witness hears blast in Istanbul.
Turkish chief of military staff
among hostages taken at military
headquarters in Ankara, says
state-run Anadolu Agency.
Head of Istanbul branch of Turkey’s
ruling AK Party says soldiers have
entered party building.
NOTE: *Istanbul is 5 hours behind Singapore
Turkish PM says situation under control,
declares no-fly zone over Ankara.
Turkish PM says on Twitter
everything will be done to put down
coup attempt. Says sieges are under
way at some important buildings.
Around 30 soldiers, part of faction
attempting to carry out coup, surrender
weapons after being surrounded by armed
police in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square.
Turkey’s EU Minister Omer Celik says
coup situation “90 per cent under
control”, but some commanders are still
being held hostage.
Greek military source says
anti-government group at Turkey’s
Golcuk naval base has taken over frigate,
head of Turkish fleet taken hostage.
Mr Erdogan sends a mass text
message imploring people to take to
the streets. The events of the
preceding 12 hours left more than 160
dead, more than 1,400 injured and
nearly 3,000 soldiers detained.
closed by troops
Erdogan landed on
Why is Turkey so important?
• The Nato member is a key US ally in the Middle East.
• The country, with 75 million people, straddles Europe and the
Middle East and is regarded as a model of free-market
democracy for the rest of the region to emulate.
• It is also a G-20 economy with a large manufacturing base.
Past military coups
Who are the key figures?
• President Erdogan, who leads the
ruling Islamist AK Party, has led the
country since 2003, first as prime
minister and then as the first directly
elected president in 2014. Mr Erdogan
has won praise for steadying the
economy but has faced growing
criticism at home and abroad for the
country’s steady decline into
authoritarianism under his rule.
Mr Erdogan wants to change Turkey’s
Constitution, which was installed in
1980 following the last successful
military coup, to adopt an
American-style presidential system
which would give him greater power.
• Mr Fethullah Gulen, US-based Turkish
cleric and leader of the popular Hizmet
movement. Once a close ally, Mr
Erdogan regards him as an arch foe and
blamed him for being behind the coup
attempt, something the cleric has
fire in crowds.
• No named military officer has
claimed responsibility. A group calling
itself the Peace at Home Movement
said they launched the coup and
planned to run the country via “Peace
Council”. They said they wanted to
restore constitutional order,
democracy, human rights and
freedoms, and supremacy of the law.
• President Erdogan blamed a
minority faction within the military.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim
says 2,839 army members have been
detained including ordinary soldiers
and high-ranking officers.
• A senior Turkish official says 29
colonels and five generals have been
removed from their posts.
• Acting Chief of Staff of the armed
forces Umit Dundar says coup
attempt was mainly by troops from air
force, gendarmerie, some “armoured
• The coup is believed to have failed
because the plotters did not have the
full support of the senior leadership
in the military, the second-largest
army in Nato after the United States.
The Turkish military has 402,000
soldiers, 48,600 in the navy and
60,000 in the air force.
• Modern Turkey has had several military coups,
successful and failed.
• The military has a history of mounting coups to defend
secularism although it has not seized power directly since 1980.
• Past successful coups also occurred in 1960 and 1971.
by state media
• Although the coup failed, it will leave
deep wounds in Turkey’s political life,
polarising a nation already battered by
chronic regional instability and
mounting economic and security
• The question is whether Mr Erdogan
will address growing concerns about
his leadership by becoming more
conciliatory or use the attempted coup
as an excuse to assert more authority.
• The latter seems likely and he is
expected to purge elements of the
military with which he has long had a
testy relationship. Yet he will have to
try to address a growing domestic
security crisis after a surge in terror
attacks by Islamic State in Iraq and
Syria and a campaign against Kurdish
Sources: REUTERS, AFP, JONATHAN EYAL SUNDAY TIMES GRAPHICS