Reports of what’s happening on the ground in Turkey at this moment continue to fly, many of them conflicting. While the Turkish army has claimed success in its attempted coup, that it has “fully seized control,” the Turkish President Erdogan’s government continues to claim it is in the process of quelling it.
Now, our United States government has weighed in, saying it rejects the coup and will ‘support the democratically elected government of Turkey.’
— POLITICO (@politico) July 15, 2016
More from Politico:
President Barack Obama called on all parties to “support the democratically elected government of Turkey” on Friday amid reports of an attempted military coup in the country, an important but fickle U.S. ally that is home to a significant number of U.S. military assets and whose cooperation is considered key to defeating the Islamic State terrorist network.
Obama’s view was announced in a readout of a call between and Secretary of State John Kerry.
“The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected Government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed. The Secretary underscored that the State Department will continue to focus on the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Turkey,” the statement form the White House said.
The State Department, meanwhile, used Twitter to warn Americans in Turkey to “shelter in place” and confirmed that martial law had been imposed in the country.
Just who was in charge of the country was not entirely clear, and the situation was extremely fluid. It bore echoes to what happened with the military takeover in Egypt in 2013, and could put Obama in a delicate situation.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said “some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command.” And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose whereabouts were not certain, took to FaceTime to urge people to “gather at public squares and airports” in protest of the coup.
But the Turkish military said in a statement that it has “completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged.”
The statement appeared aimed at Erdogan, whose Islamist roots and recent authoritarian-like actions have increasingly alarmed Turkey’s secular elite as well human rights activists abroad.
Erdogan has been in power in Turkey for more than a decade, either as president or prime minister. He has increasingly clamped down on the media and dissidents in the country, actions that have perturbed the United States. He also has plunged the country into an internal war with Kurdish separatists in recent months.
But overall, Turkey remained a relatively stable country in an increasingly volatile Middle East. The U.S. has relied on the use of an airbase at Incirlik to stage airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorist network in Iraq and Syria.
Turkey, the only Muslim nation in NATO, has been a staunch military ally of the United State since it joined the Western alliance in 1952.
A key NATO base is located at Incirlik in southern Turkey, which is now being used to launch attacks against the Islamic State in neighboring Syria.
Of course, Obama’s pledge of support is just that: a pledge made up of his words thus far. And we’ve seen that his words sometimes can actually be the opposite of helpful in highly sensitive situations. Not to mention that many will read Obama’s support of Erdogan as further evidence of our president’s own Islamist leanings as he pledges support for the …
This is a hugely complex situation made more complex by attempts at misinformation coming from various parties with their own agendas here.
We’re doing our best here to just bring you the facts that can be discerned in a very volatile information.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]