During the July 15 coup attempt, an attack was openly organized against the political rule, political institutions and people’s democratic will. The main theme of the coup declaration, which was announced on TRT at gunpoint, was the proclamation of the coup’s dissidence to the presence and activities of the government. Causing a great stir and shock among people, a clichéd and technocratic language that was unable to interpret present state of affairs could not interpret the present. Some latest allegations used as propaganda tools were also added to the text to shake the citizens’ trust in politicians. The declaration’s claims were the repetition of the allegations made by FETÖ’s media outlets regarding the political rule for a long time. Unlike the declarations of previous coups, a tangible problem was not articulated in this declaration text. Also, the text was not signed by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), but by a group named “Peace at Home Council,” which was outside the chain of command.
The Claims In The Declaration Do Not Have Any Societal Resonance
In the Feb. 28 memorandum, the main target was to mold public opinion in line with a main goal and the media were used in this respect. Within that process, long-lasting operations and provocations lead by media outlets were conducted, and the media were actively manipulated with psychological war techniques. Due to this difference in method, the Feb. 28 coup is also referred as a “postmodern coup.” The main themes included in the Feb. 28 declaration were “modern civilization,” “retrograde threat,” “secularity,” and “the rule of law.”
In the 1980 coup, on the other hand, the highlighted targets included “the survival of the state”, “instituting order,” “secular and democratic republic,” and “protecting the integrity of the country.” The main danger was defined as “the domestic turbulence,” while the most frequently used notions were “protecting the unity of the country,” and “fight of brothers.”
The July 15 coup declaration, however, directly targeted the presence of the political rule. Some alleged activities of the political order were listed as the main grounds for the coup. These grounds include “violations of the constitution and the laws,” “ideological design of state apparatuses,” “de facto disappearance of the secular and democratic rule of law,” “disregarding fundamental human rights,” “the country’s governance with a fear-based autocracy,” “escalation of terrorism,” “corruption,” and “the corrupt legal system.”
The words in the declaration did not even have any internal consistency, let alone any resonance with the Turkish public. The above claims were used to argue that the political system had lost its legitimacy and was discharged from duty. The most distinct aspect of the expressions in the declaration is that they were already in circulation as propaganda tools to undermine political institutions. Although the text stated that international relations would be redesigned, there was no emphasis on the EU. Instead, the declaration claimed “Stronger relations will be developed to provide peace on an international scale,” and “All the measures were taken to meet the obligations of the international organizations including UN and NATO,” which were also used in the declarations of previous coups.
The Picture Of Violence and Atrocity
Instead of a military officer, a newswoman at TRT was made to read the declaration at gunpoint, which portrayed the violence and atrocity prevalent in the country that night in the most effective way. All kinds of violence were employed to scare the Turkish nation: tanks, rifles, bombs, and war jets. Despite that, the nation, a substantial part of the TSK, the media and bureaucracy protected the political institutions and popular will by risking their lives. So, we experienced a historic night which was full of pain and torment, but democracy eventually won while the public’s self-confidence and trust in political institutions were renewed.