It is not yet clear why a faction of the Turkish military recently attempted to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But since surviving the coup, the increasingly authoritarian president has wasted no time in purging Turkey of elements that he has perceived as threats to his rule. To date, more than 6,000 members of the military and the judiciary have been arrested.
Although the coup attempt was unexpected, military coups are not entirely strange affairs to Turkey. Since 1960, the military has moved four times to overthrow sitting governments. The Turkish military has done this, in part, because it has long seen itself as the defender of Kemalism: the secular and democratic principles of the nation’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Erdogan is many things, but a Kemalist he is not. A publicly religious man, he has reformed Turkish schools to include more Islamic education. Moreover, his moves to silence journalists, academics, and certain speech on social media have drawn international condemnation.
Still, having survived the coup attempt, Erdogan might see an uptick in support among Turkey’s Islamists. His wider support in the country, where his approval rating fell to 39 percent in 2015, is likely to remain low.
Check out the video above to learn more about the failed military coup and its relevant players.