Military Personnel Are Rounded Up ; Erdogan Moves Swiftly to Regain Control after Failure of Attempted Coup

By Tim Arango; Ceylan Yeginsu | International New York Times, July 18, 2016 | Go to article overview

Military Personnel Are Rounded Up ; Erdogan Moves Swiftly to Regain Control after Failure of Attempted Coup


Tim Arango; Ceylan Yeginsu, International New York Times


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government moved swiftly to re- establish control after the failure of the attempted coup.

Turkey's government, rallying behind its defiant leader, has rounded up thousands of military personnel who were said to have taken part in an attempted coup, moving swiftly to re-establish control after a night of chaos and intrigue that left hundreds dead.

By midday Saturday, there were few signs that those who had taken part in the coup attempt were still able to challenge the government, and many officials declared the uprising a failure.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to hundreds of flag- waving supporters outside his home in Istanbul on Saturday evening, declared that "the strong aren't always right, but the right are always strong." He called on the United States to arrest an exile living in Pennsylvania who Mr. Erdogan claimed was behind the coup attempt.

As the insurrection unfolded Friday night, beginning with the seizing of two bridges in Istanbul by military forces, Mr. Erdogan was not heard from for hours. He finally addressed the nation from an undisclosed location, speaking on his cellphone's FaceTime app -- a dramatic scene that seemed to suggest a man on the verge of losing power. But in the early hours of Saturday, he landed in Istanbul, and steadily found his voice again, lashing out at his opponents, and one in particular.

Mr. Erdogan placed blame for the intrigue on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, who was the president's ally until a bitter falling out three years ago. Mr. Gulen's followers were known to have a strong presence in Turkey's police and judiciary, but less so in the military.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Erdogan said, referring to Mr. Gulen, "I have a message for Pennsylvania: You have engaged in enough treason against this nation. If you dare, come back to your country."

On Saturday evening, Mr. Erdogan, standing atop a bus outside his home, pressed this theme in a thundering message to his supporters, calling on the United States to arrest Mr. Gulen and send him back to Turkey.

Even before Mr. Erdogan's speech, the gist of which American officials have heard before, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that he would listen to any inquiries Turkey might have about the cleric.

"We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen," he said.

In a statement released on the website of his group, Alliance for Shared Values, and in an interview with The New York Times on Saturday, Mr. Gulen condemned the coup, denied any link to it and expressed support for the democratic process, saying that "through military intervention, democracy cannot be achieved. …

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