Astounding civilian bravery from the Turkish people averts a military coup 4 years ago

Astounding civilian bravery from the Turkish people averts a military coup

People died to protect their imperfect democracy.

Over 160 lost their lives; 1,440 are left wounded. In a staggering night of street conflict, media spin, military warfare and brutal murder, a military coup in Turkey was averted. The situation is far from stable, but martial law has been averted.

There are deep schisms within Turkish society; these are numerous, complex and layered. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime is both adored and reviled, with his critics claiming him to be a fierce totalitarian.

Many would love for him to be deposed.

However, it is a testament to the brave civilians who took to the streets on Friday night that they fought to preserve their democracy against the odds. A military curfew was emphatically ignored as the people made a proud stand.

They know things are far from perfect, and they are all too aware of the sometimes brutal treatment of dissidents, protestors, political rivals and minorities.


But they would not allow men in army fatigues to forcibly wrestle power from the electorate.

They lay in front of tanks, they confronted ground and air attack head on, and they ousted armed soldiers from their media. They essentially risked their lives to maintain a status quo that many of them vehemently oppose.

The future is uncertain for so many reasons.

There may well be a renewed coup attempt. There are grave concerns about how captured soldiers will be treated. Even if a level of normality returns relatively quickly, the events of the night will leave deep scars.


But when loyalists and reformists, those proudly religious and passionately secular, and the often victimised Kurdish community stand as one for an imperfect democracy that divides them all, no army can possibly compete with that.