Saturday, 16 July 2016

Turkey's Troubles

Headlines Today:-
Turkey coup: President Erdogan says army elements guilty of 'treason', as he tells nation government is in charge, after violent clashes in Ankara and Istanbul leave 'at least 60 dead'.

What has happened and why?

During the night it appears that a small faction of the army has tried to attempt a coup. It appears to be a very small group although they had access to fighter jets, tanks and other military equipment, it does not seem to be the main body of the army as a whole. A more surprising thing is this morning there appears to be no political support whatsoever as all the main factions in parliament have condemned the coup. It will probably be very short and bloody.

President Erdogan came to power in 2002 democratically after the countries people voted for him and against the standing secularists that had been in power. Since then he has tried to move the country more towards the religious side of Islam and has reigned in a lot of power more centrally.

Back in 2013, Turkey witnessed a number of high-profile demonstrations in relation to the current government’s policies and the actions of the country’s then Prime Minister, now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A plan to redevelop a park in central Istanbul adjacent to Taksim Square sparked the unrest. Istanbul, the capital Ankara and a number of other major towns and cities in the country were affected by the demonstrations, but tourism remained largely untroubled in the country as a whole.

Several bomb attacks in recent months, notably the June 28th attack at Atatürk Airport, have rightly horrified the world. Their purpose was less to hurt many people than to put political pressure on the Turkish government and economy.

12 January 2016 there was a suicide bomb attack against tourists in Sultanahmet in Istanbul in which 10 people died. On 19 March 2016 a similar attack against tourists on Istiklal St in Istanbul killed 4 people.

17 February 2016 a large bomb attack near a military barracks on Eskisehir Road in Ankara killed 28 people. On 13 March 2016, a similar attack killed over 30 people at Kizilay Square in central Ankara.

27 April 2016 there was a suspected suicide bomb attack at Bursa Ulu Mosque. The bomber was killed and 7 people slightly injured.

1 May 2016 a bomb attack at the Central Police Station in Gaziantep killed two police officers and injured 23 others.

7 June 2016 a bomb attack in the Vezneciler area of Istanbul killed 7 police officers and 4 civilians. 36 people were injured.

28 June 2016 Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul was attacked. More than 40 people were killed.

Turkey and Syria are very dangerous environments and Turkey is a big tourist destination, so there is a huge pool of people who will be wandering around concerned about the actions over night. As a side note British Airways cancels all flights to and from Turkey on Saturday and specifically BA675 departing from Istanbul on Sunday.

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