On 15 July 2016, Turkey experienced a milestone in its political history. An entity, judicially and officially recognized as the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ), operating through a group of its disciples nested in the Turkish military, attempted to overthrow Turkey’s legitimate and elected government. Several important and unprecedented factors prevented the coup d’état. Among them, the determined and courageous approach of the ruling AK Party, in solidarity with its opposition; the heroic resistance of the people of Turkey, the Turkish police, and members of the Turkish armed forces; the anti-coup stance of the judiciary; and the democratic posture of the mainstream media. The foiling of the coup attempt will contribute tremendously to Turkish democracy in many respects. In short, the democracy in Turkey in the post-July 15 period will emerge stronger than ever before.
The anti-government protests in Turkey emerged as a legitimate and even necessary reaction against police brutality to evolved into violent revolts targeting Prime Minister Erdoğan. Since the initial protests, commentators sought to make sense of the phenomenon with reference to the Gezi youth. A closer examination, however, would reveal the Leftist-Kemalist aura of the protests that came under the tutelage of Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella organization of left-wing associations, and the Republican People’s Party. Meanwhile, the general public kept its distance from the violent demonstrations. Not only AK Party supporters but also many liberals and secular-minded democrats found the developments alarming. While the protests marks a step forward for Turkey‘s once-apathetic opposition groups, their failure prevented a revival of authoritarianism.