Turkey’s government-controlled media remembers the 2016 coup attempt

As Turkey gears up to commemorate the second anniversary of 2016’s unsuccessful, though momentous, coup attempt, the country’s government controlled media has published a slew of articles recapitulating the dramatic events of July 15 and the feelings of ordinary people involved.  Other pieces attempt to put the coup attempt into a broader perspective.

Anadolu News, Turkey’s semi-official news agency carried a story highlighting the experiences of those caught up in the events in which several hundred people, many of them civilians, died.

Metin Doğan who lay in front of a tank said, "July 15 means for me giving your life without hesitation for something that you love so much.”

Nurullah Keles, injured that night, said, "The shrapnel pieces I carry in my body are a source of pride for me."

Daily Sabah newspaper took a similar line in an article that began, “On July 15, Turks were armed with one thing while standing up against coup plotters: Their faith in democracy and their country.”

Later it recounts how Safiye Bayat, a 34-year-old mother of two, took to the streets to confront soldiers taking control of a bridge over the Bosporus.

“Bayat confronted the commander of the troops on the bridge,” the article continues, “Without mercy, the putschist commander, grabbed her arm and moved his rifle near Bayat's cheek and pulled the trigger.”

Bayat escaped major injury, but Sabri Gündüz was not so lucky. After joining civilians on the streets he was shot in the knee and eventually lost his leg.  "I never regretted my decision,” he said, “I will do it again if necessary. A man can live without his leg but not without his country. It is an honour to bleed for Turkey and for democracy."

Another article in Sabah takes a more analytical perspective, describing how the coup was organized, as is widely accepted, by members of the Gülen movement which had managed to establish many of its adherents into key positions within the state. The article also lists a range of key actors on both sides of the coup and their roles and actions in relation to the coup attempt.  

One of those mentioned is Bekir Bozdağ, then justice minister. Sabah reports, “Bozdağ was one of those who stood bravely against that treacherous coup attempt during a time of panic. He said, ‘If we close Parliament and go down to the shelters the people won't come to the squares? They will think we are scared … What we will do here is die.’”

Yeni Şafak, meanwhile carried a story about a letter written by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to families of those killed in the coup attempt, to commemorate the second anniversary of their deaths. According to Yeni Safak, Erdoğan wrote that their sacrifice not only protected Turkey from a coup attempt by the Gülen movement, but also protected the country from an occupation attempt.

A further piece in Yeni Safak mulls over events that have taken place in the 2 year long state of emergency imposed on Turkey subsequent to the coup attempt, culminating in Erdoğan's victory in last months flawed elections, which have handed him more or less unlimited power as Turkey's first executive president. 

The Yeni Safak article pays particular attention to the ongoing purges that followed the coup, which have resulted in thousands being imprisoned and more than 100,000 being dismissed from their jobs. These actions are framed in terms of an ongoing effort to root out remaining adherents of the Gülen movement from positions within the state.