“We young people want change and reform, but not like this. We want it through democracy; even if it is flawed in some ways.”
An attempted military coup unfolded in Turkey on 15 July. The military claimed to be in control of the country, however, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the group wouldn’t succeed. The military coup statement said they had “completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedom”.
Erdogan called on the Turkish people to take to the streets in protest, and even addressed the nation using FaceTime. Despite the military having previously overthrown six Turkish governments since 1960, coup leaders appear to have failed this time. The coup attempt, which many have said was mostly peaceful, has left more than 90 people dead and 2,839 Turkish army officials detained.
The IPF spoke to five young people from Turkey to find out their views on the attempted coup and what it means for them.
Nilce Bıçakcıoğlu, 24
It seems fake to me. The coup is more like a planned scenario to make the government look like victims and Erdogan like a hero. However, what’s very complicated is that there are crazy explosions in Ankara. And we just heard two big ones near where I live in Istanbul.
I am against Erdogan because he uses religion to gain power. This is what he has been doing for years.
There are two options: if this coup is real, it can have good results in the long term. Otherwise, Erdoģan will remain as the hero and worse days will come for us who are against him.
Sherife Tekdal, 23
We, as the younger generation, have grown up with stories from our parents predominantly of the bloody coups which have happened in Turkey. The belief that democracy is sacred and that no one, except military officials, gain from this. There’s an actual Turkish saying, “A coup will take a country back 10 years, economically and emotionally.”
These are the scaremongering we have grown accustomed to and in lieu of the events tonight, young people from every political party, left and right, have stated that they are against the coup.
There’s been large divisions in our country, the climate has been very tense with liberal democracy and human rights to one side, and an authoritarian Islamist rule on the other.
We young people want change and reform, but not like this. We want it through democracy; even if it is flawed in some ways.
Mustafa Cosgun, 23
I did not expect a coup. It is terrible that these people are still within the army. Thankfully, this went mostly peacefully. As history has proven, a coup is terrible for democracy and freedom. The Turkish Republic have had three coups throughout its short existence. And each of these coups ruined the economy and the freedom of the people.
No matter what your vision is on the politics, a coup is not the way of resolving issues within a country.
In my opinion, the opposition isn’t doing his job as supposed to. The opposition parties should improve laws and legislations which are proposed by the parliament. However, in most cases these laws and legislations are turned down just because they were proposed by the ruling party. Democracy is the only way. It isn’t perfect as it is, but Turkey is a relatively young Republic.
The politicians consist mostly of old people. It would be great if younger people could actually get into parties and have a say in what happens in the country. As for now, everyone has to show solidarity.
Maria Merve Amasyali, 24
I honestly think it was all staged just to make Erdogan look better.
TRT Türk – the national public broadcaster of Turkey – read a statement where they were saying that they wanted all media channels to cover the situation, but then soldiers were entering news channel buildings and stopping them on air? It does not make sense. They knew where Erdogan was the whole time if the aim was to really get to him.
Erdogan lied saying that they bombed a hotel he was staying at in Marmaris, a port town in southwest Turkey, thinking he was still there. Locals have confirmed no incident as such has happened. So why is he still lying when he has already won?
The whole thing itself was terrifying; hearing those jets fly so close down and explosion sounds and gun shots everywhere till about 5am. I had friends saying it reminded them of Aleppo.
Güney Köse, 25
I’m on the brink of launching a campaign for my company, so I yearn stability with more democracy, not less. Let’s hope Erdogan does not consolidate. Turkey will change. AKP now has the chance and justification to transform the parliamentary system into presidential one.
Young people are divided, like the country itself. Half of them love Erdogan, while the other half hate him.
I also foresee a shift in foreign policy towards Russia and away from the United States, which seems unlikely as we are a NATO country but there are indicators.
Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in Turkey through the Guardian’s live updates.