For the Sixth Time in Its Modern History the Turkish Military Has Seized Control


Update at 10:50 PM EDT

Things seemed to have slowed way down in regards to information coming out of Turkey. The Turkish Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara has reported that there a 42 dead civilians, 17 of whom were police. Thirteen soldiers who tried to storm the Presidential Palace have been arrested.

Update at 8:55 PM EDT

Borzou Daragahi has highlighted a report from a journalist in Istanbul that what is being reported as explosions or bombings are, in fact, the sonic bombs from fighter jets. Since there are conflicting reports of Turkish fighters targeting both the coup side and the government side, it is unclear which side’s flying these jets, but it would be standard procedure for the military to put up a combat air patrol (CAP).

Additionally, The Guardian is reporting that General Zekai Aksakalli, Commander of Turkish Special Forces, has stated that “those who are attempting a coup will not succeed”. And that: “Our people should know that we will overcome this … We are in control of the situation.”

The EU has issued a formal statement supporting the Turkish government:

Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law. We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order. We continue to follow closely the developments and to coordinate with the 28 EU Member States.

Update at 8:44 PM EDT

Soldiers have, apparently, seized control of CNN Turk. Soldiers have also been reported as seizing the Hurriyet building.

Reuters is reporting that President Erdogan’s plane has landed at Istanbul Airport.

Update at 7:50 PM EDT

Reuters is reporting that the Turkish Parliament has been bombed. And there are reports of a large blast in Istanbul as well.

An F 16 has shot down a helicopter commandeered by those involved with the coup.

The AP is reporting that Turkey’s National Intelligence Spokesman has stated that the coup has been repelled.

And NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that:

I have just spoken to the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. I am following events in Turkey closely and with concern. I call for calm and restraint, and full respect for Turkey’s democratic institutions and its constitution. …Turkey is a valued Nato ally.

Finally, here’s the readout of the President’s call with Secretary Kerry on the events in Turkey:

The President spoke tonight by phone with Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the events in Turkey. The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected Government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed. The Secretary underscored that the State Department will continue to focus on the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Turkey. The President asked the Secretary to continue to keep him updated as the situation unfolds.

Update at 6:20 PM EDT:

According to Ece Temelkuran, a writer based in Istanbul, the mosques have begun repeating President Erdogan’s call for his supporters to take to the streets and use people power to rebuff the coup.

The military has, of course, instigated a curfew. And there have been reports of one helicopter gunship firing over Istanbul. It is at this point that things could turn very ugly very quickly. If the military is unable to establish and maintain order and the Erdogan government is unable to reestablish it, then we have all the possibilities of a classic insurgency. The challengers do not have the power to successfully complete their rebellion and the government does not have the power to successfully suppress the rebellion.

Reuters has just reported that the Turkish armor surrounding the Turkish Parliament have opened fire.

Update at 6:15 PM EDT:

Reuters is reporting, based on EU sources, that the coup appears to be substantial.

“It looks like a relatively well orchestrated coup by a substantial body of the military, not just a few colonels,” the source told Reuters.

“They’ve got control of the airports and are expecting control over the TV station imminently,” the source said, shortly before state television TRT broadcast a military declaration of martial law.

“They control several strategic points in Istanbul. Given the scale of the operation, it is difficult to imagine they will stop short of prevailing,” the source said.

The Guardian is reporting, sourced to NBC News, that:

The president (Erdogan) was speaking from an undisclosed location, and NBC News, citing an anonymous US military source, said that his plane had been refused landing rights in Istanbul.

Update at 6:03 PM EDT:

The Guardian is reporting that PM Erdogan is blaming the coup on the Gulen Movement. Gulen, a political rival of Erdogan’s, has been in exile in Pennsylvanian (this should have been a tell, Southeastern PA is where you go to plan a revolution…) and here’s some info on his movement.

Update at 5:45 PM EDT

The Guardian is reporting that Reuters has reported out, based on sources within Turkey, that the Turkish state broadcaster has gone off the air.

Update at 5:35 PM EDT

Hetav Rojan, who is affiliated with the SDU in Copenhagen, has reported on his twitter feed that PM Erdogan is headed to the airport. It is unclear what this actually means in terms of Erdogan’s efforts to regain and/or maintain control.

Borzou Daragahi, a reporter with Buzzfeed, is reporting that Erdogan is in a secure location.

So you can see just how disjointed the information is coming out – even from good sources!

Update at 5:25 PM EDT

The Guardian is reporting that the Turkish Armed Forces have released a statement that:

the freedom of Turkish citizens is guaranteed by what is referred to as a “peace council”, regardless of religion, race or language.

It says the Peace Council will not allow public order to be damaged

The Guardian is also reporting that “military forces have control of airports and strategic points in Istanbul”.

Update at 5:20 PM EDT

Here is the link to The Guardian‘s breaking news on the Turkey coup. Here’s the one for the BBC’s. Here’s the AP’s. And here’s the twitter feeds of a couple of good sources. Hetav Rojan and Borzou Daragahi.

For the Sixth time since the founding of the modern state of Turkey the Turkish military has mounted a coup and seized control of the government. The Turkish Armed Forces has released the following statement:

Turkish Armed Forces have taken over the administration of the country Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was damaged. All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.

The Turkish government has responded with:

This is an attack against Turkish democracy. A group within the Armed Forces has made an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government outside the chain of command. The statement made on behalf of the Armed Forces wasn’t authorized by the military command. We urge the world to stand in solidarity with the Turkish people.

The Turkish military has traditionally been fiercely Kemalist and has seen itself as the defender of Mustafa Kemal’s legacy. Prime Minister Erdogan had tried to coup proof himself by replacing a number of military leaders, including having them investigated, charged with crimes, tried, convicted, and imprisoned.

As is always the case this is a quickly changing situation, information is likely to change over the next 24-48 hours. I’ll update with information as it becomes available.

Bastille Day Attack in Nice

Update at 1:05 PM EDT

The Guardian is reporting that the explosive found in the truck was an inactive grenade and that the guns were fake rifles.


Not really an update, but in case anyone is interested, here is the link to the pdf of Galula’s Pacification of Algeria.

Update at 10:05 PM EDT

Here’s the link to President Hollande’s Press Conference/Statement with English translation.

Update at 9:50 PM EDT

The Guardian is reporting that French TV Station BFM and the local newspaper Nice-Matin have reported out that the attacker was a 31 year old resident of Nice who is a dual French-Tunisian national. An ID card was found in the truck.

Update at 8:50 PM EDT

France 24, via their twitter feed, is now reporting that the death toll is up to 77.


Updated at 8:25 PM EDT

According to France 24’s twitter feed, explosives and heavy weapons were found inside the truck. And the death toll is now at 73.


A currently unidentified man drove a truck into the crowd in Nice, France celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade de Anglais. The current estimate is that 60 are dead and many more are wounded. It is being reported that the driver emerged from the truck and started shooting.

Given that today is Bastille Day there is speculation that this is an act of terrorism, but the information reported out is unclear at this point. Rather than jump to conclusions, and as is always the case as details are sketchy right now and will change over the next 24 to 48 hours, I’ll update as appropriate.

Here’s France 24’s English language live feed:

Smile and Wave Boys, Smile and Wave: Dogs and Penguins Edition

A pair of Maremma Sheepdogs in Australia have become the protectors of a waddle of penguins Down Under.

These two dogs are an Australian penguin’s best friend — with skills that have saved as many as a two thousand birds in the last ten years.

Foxes had nearly decimated the population of ‘little penguins’ on Middle Island — killing nearly 200 a year.

But, since 2006 when Eudy and Tula started guarding the species, which is the smallest type of penguin in the world, there hasn’t been any evidence of a predator attack.

After the dogs started patrolling the island, the flock grew from a low of just 10 birds to more than 150 today.

It was a local chicken farmer, Swampy Marsh, who first suggested using the large, white Maremma sheep dogs as penguin guardians because they were so good at protecting his free range hens.

The community of Warrnambool sponsored the dogs’ training and still provides homes for them through the winter.

During the penguins’ mating season, the dogs patrol the island five days a week, spending their days off at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, where they meet visitors and help educate people about conservation.

(H/T: to a commenter in one of yesterday’s posts at Little Green Footballs)

And because its in the title:

Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Oh Joy

Dana Milbank’s original article here.

Honestly, yeah, I’m a lot less worried that the Russians might’ve hacked Hillary’s emails than I am about Michael J. Fox’s Evil Twin deliberately selling them new information. Possibly with a small finders’ fee to his current employer, Deadbeat Donald.

Apart from such heartening news, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Got to kill em to civilize em

Or asshole of the week award nomination:

Hmm, isn’t he supposed to be a conservative with a respect for institutions that work even if they don’t work well and a healthy suscipian of outsider experts smashing a system and imposing externally solutions that don’t have internal stakeholder buy-in.

Nope, just Col. Blimp at work.

The Rio Olympics: Not Our Circus, Only Some of Our Monkeys*

So sweet, so hopeful, so… not looking great, right now. Sean Newell, at Vice Sports, with a quick roundup. “The Olympics are One Month Away, Here’s What’s Still a Mess“:

The Olympics begin in Rio on August 5 and let’s just say, it’s going to be an interesting month. Zika, pollution, financial instability, construction delays and more have all conspired to create a sense of unease and uncertainty as the city gets down to the final push to the games. There’s still a lot to address before they start, and some of the issues, like polluted water, don’t have a particular “fix,” so they will just be a part of the Olympics.

Zika is the big wild card, with many athletes opting to skip these Olympics because of it. Whether they have legitimate concerns, or have just found a convenient excuse, the fear of infection is hanging over the Games and there’s nothing to really do except roll the dice, or skip out.

Similarly, water pollution at the venues for rowing, sailing, and other water sports is a huge concern for many athletes. In Rio’s 2009 bid for the Olympics, organizers included a seven-year plan to clean up the polluted and contaminated waters in places like Guanabara Bay, where raw sewage, trash, and dead fish flow. That plan has failed spectacularly—authorities are investigating whether federal funding was illegally diverted from the project—and a recent report found that Rio’s waters contained “viruses up to 1.7 million more times hazardous than a beach in the U.S.”…

The Olympic Velodrome, used for cycling events, has had a tumultuous path to existence, but it appears to finally be (mostly) completed. Construction was delayed on May 30th, when the initial contractor went bankrupt. The job was given to another company and while the arena is almost ready to go, it is also still only almost ready to go…

A wide-ranging investigation into corruption surrounding the construction of many Olympic venues revealed much of these issues are related to corruption and graft. Coupled with Brazil’s worst recession since the 1930s, and it’s a recipe for disaster. The governor of Rio de Janeiro recently declared a “state of calamity,” announcing that Rio was bankrupt and unable to meet financial obligations ahead of the games. It is expected that the federal government will find a way to keep Rio afloat for the Olympics, but it’s less clear what happens after that…

Yeah, probably not too different from most of the recent Olympic venues. Then also, this, from Matt Miller at Esquire:

With the Olympic games less than a month away, Rio police are speaking out in protest of the government. Claiming they haven’t been paid in months, a group of officers stood outside of the Rio airport holding a sign that read: “Welcome to Hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”

Last week, Rio de Janeiro state, which controls the military police force, took an $850 million bailout to pay officers their bonuses and overtime. The funds are expected to be distributed this week, but police say that’s not enough…

Brazil has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and in May, 40 people were killed by on-duty officers—more than twice than during the same time last year…

Nearly 85,000 police and soldiers will be deployed during the games August 5-21, which are expected to draw 350,000 to 500,000 tourists to the city of 12 million people. Meanwhile, as Rio attempts to pull through its worst recession in decades, police helicopters and patrol cars have been grounded, as forces struggle to pay for basic supplies like toilet paper and pens….

But there’s good stories, too!…

*(from the Polish idiom)

Late Night National Schadenfreude Open Thread

Nope, not talking about our Republicans.

Mildy NSFW: It turns out ‘faraj‘ means something quite different in Malay. (apologies, Amir!)