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Power Struggle

Sivi Sekula

Some countries go through a lot of political unrest, with people trying to seize power from the rulers and take over the government, in a coup

Monday, April 09, 2018

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M ost of us are lucky to live in stable countries that have nice, normal governments and friendly politicians who try to help us. But not all countries are so fortunate. Some countries go through a lot of political unrest, with people trying to seize power from the rulers and take over the government. There’s a fancy French word for that: it’s called a “coup d’etat” (pronounce that coo day-tah), and it means “overthrow of the state.” You can call it a coup (pronounced coo) and still sound just as smart.

Did you say chicken coop? No, it’s a Turkey coup

June 15th 2016. It started off as a typical Friday evening in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pronounced “Rej-ep Tie-ip Er-dow-an”) was enjoying his vacation in the seaside resort of Marmaris, blissfully unaware that trouble was just around the corner.

The residents of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, were the first to get the sense that something was not quite right. At around 7:30 p.m., two important bridges were closed off. These bridges connect the two sides of the city across the Bosphorus Strait, so closing them caused heavy traffic all over Istanbul. There were also soldiers, army vehicles, and even tanks hanging around, although no one could figure out why.

Meanwhile, 500 kilometers away in the capital city of Ankara, citizens became alarmed when they spotted fighter jets and military helicopters flying over the city. Was there a war going on? Soon, helicopters were flying over Istanbul, too, and people reported hearing gunshots.

At 8:00 p.m., Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that a group of military personnel were trying to take over the government. In other words, this was an attempted coup! He encouraged the nation to stay calm and reassured everyone that the government would do whatever was necessary to restore order.

But things would be getting worse before they’d get better. Turkey was in for a long night.

 

By this time, President Erdogan had figured out that all wasn’t right in his world. His aides evacuated him from the hotel in Marmaris. They managed to get him out just in the nick of time. A short time after he left the hotel, members of Turkey’s Special Forces bombed the place. They had clearly been hoping to kill the president.

Over the next few hours, the coupists (“coo-ists”) attempted to capture all the important military, government, and police headquarters in Ankara and Istanbul. They also shut down several airports around the country. Whenever they came across high-ranking military personnel who were not originally in on their plot, they either strongly encouraged them to join the cause (hint: some threats or beatings may have been involved), or they tied them up so they wouldn’t be able to cause trouble. Occasionally, the rebels found it necessary to bomb buildings and shoot at people. Heavy tanks rolled down city streets, crushing everything in sight. There was mayhem everywhere. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 704)

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