- 6,000 arrested in Turkey
- “This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army,” says Erdogan
- “Among those arrested was the commander of a Turkish airbase used by U.S. forces to launch raids on jihadists in Iraq and Syria, a senior Turkish official said. Gen. Bekir Ercan Van, 10th Base Commander at Incirlik Air Base, was detained along with 10 other soldiers on Sunday. The facility in southern Turkey is a major NATO military installation hosting U.S. forces that control one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in Europe,” reports the Washington Post
UPDATE (as of 2:30pm local time in Ankara on Saturday):
- Five Turkish generals and 29 colonels have been removed from their positions.
- More than 2,800 members of the Turkish military have been arrested.
- More than 100 coup plotters are dead.
- A total of more than 265 people have been killed in the military-led coup and the response to the coup.
- Some 1,440 people have been wounded.
- See reports from the Washington Post, the New York Times, Bloomberg, and BBC.
In a stunning night of violence, conspiracy and dramatic reversals, an attempted coup by a faction of Turkish military officers and soldiers determined to bring down the increasingly authoritarian and dangerous Islamist regime of President Recep Erdogan has failed.
Now what? What does the future hold for the nearly 80 million Muslims of Turkey?
Erdogan (pronounced “Air-do-wan”) was out of the country when the coup began late Friday night. But he was in contact with top generals who were loyal to him. By the wee hours of the morning, his plane landed in Istanbul and he announced that he was firmly back in control.
Calling the coup plotters “terrorists” engaged in “treason,” he ordered the arrest of more than 700 military officers and soldiers so far, saying “the army must be cleansed” of anyone disloyal to him.
- Sixty people died during overnight clashes, many of them civilians
- 754 soldiers were arrested, officials said.
- Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the situation was largely under control. He has ordered the military to shoot down aircraft being used by coup plotters.
- Earlier, one of the helicopters being flown by forces involved in the coup attempt was shot down over the capital Ankara.
In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said the coup attempt “was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our president and government are in charge,” reported the BBC. “Turkish Armed Forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the armed forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation.”
Few Westerners have paid much attention to Erdogan’s rise in recent years, but as I’ve noted on this blog, he is an increasingly dangerous figure who is going to pose a serious challenge for NATO leaders and particularly for the next President of the United States.
Consider just a few quick facts for now:
- Since becoming Turkey’s President in 2014, Erdogan has built a 1,150 room palace — for himself.
- Over the last few years, Erdogan fired or arrested more than 400 Turkish military generals as he tried to consolidate total control.
- In April of 2016, Turkish military leaders had to deny rumors they were preparing for a coup.
- In May 2016, Erdogan sacked Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in order to seize more power and control for himself.
Dangerous and dictatorial before the coup, Erdogan will now likely become far more so. I would expect a deep and extensive purge of the military, with far more arrests. I would also expect an even tougher crackdown on free speech, freedom to associate, and freedom of religion.
As darkness falls on this Biblical nation — where the Apostle Paul and his team repeatedly risked their lives to preach the Gospel, make disciples, and plant churches — please be praying for the people of Turkey, for her leaders, and her future.
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