Turkey's Government Resumes Control Of Country After Failed Coup
LYNN NEARY, HOST:
Thousands of Turks poured into the streets last night to celebrate the failed coup as a victory for democracy as global leaders condemned the attempted military takeover. More than 160 people were killed, and religious leaders led a noon prayer in Turkey's mosques for the dead.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing in foreign language).
NEARY: Turkish President Erdogan and his supporters are praising security forces and the people for safeguarding democracy, but others fear what might come next. NPR's Leila Fadel joins us now from Istanbul. Thanks for being with us, Leila.
LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Good morning.
NEARY: Now, Leila, the images that we saw from Istanbul on Friday were very violent and very chaotic. What's happening there now?
FADEL: Well, it's a far cry from the low-flying jets, the explosions, the shootouts on Friday. It's really calm right now. People are out in cafes. There's no gunfire, no sonic booms. But there's also a somberness, a sadness, prayers for the people that died on Friday after the festivities of last night, the celebrations of safeguarding democracy. So there were a chorus of prayers in the mosques for the dead. And there's also a sense of fear and dread, especially among those who don't support Erdogan, concern about what comes next after all that happened on Friday.
NEARY: Well, Erdogan has said that those involved in the coup will pay a heavy price. What kind of response has there been from the government?
FADEL: Already we've seen about 3,000 military personnel that have been detained in bases around the country, the latest 52 military officers this morning in the western province of Denizli. There's also nearly 3,000 judges suspended supposedly involved with the coup, according to the government. Now, Erdogan actually talked about a purge in an address to a crowd in Istanbul, if you listen.
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RECEP ERDOGAN: (Foreign language spoken).
FADEL: So right here he's saying this attempt actually was a gift from God because this gives him an opportunity to clean out the armed forces. So opponents to Erdogan, the critics of Erdogan say this is now possibly going to be used as a pretext for an even bigger crackdown on Erdogan's opponents.
NEARY: So we've seen many, many arrests, and there's bound to be more. What does this mean for Turkey's military and for Erdogan's rule in the future?
FADEL: Well, Erdogan is saying this was really a small minority inside the army, a cancer. A tumor, he said, that he's going to cut out. And I think what's really shocked Turks is to watch part of their army surrender on television, top generals being detained. This has always been seen as an army that safeguards secular Turkey, but Erdogan is popular among a more religiously conservative base in Turkey.
He is elected, and he's been in power as prime minister and now president for 13 years. And in that time, Erdogan's critics say that he has consolidated power, cracked down on freedom of expression, gone after journalists. And so there is a concern that these powers will now be unchecked.
NEARY: NPR's Leila Fadel in Istanbul. Thanks so much.
FADEL: Thank you.
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