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Civilians vs Military: How the people overturned Turkey's coup Open in fullscreen

Sana Uqba

Civilians vs Military: How the people overturned Turkey's coup

Millions swarmed the streets to protect democracy after a military coup was announced [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 July, 2016

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Millions around the globe have praised the people of Turkey for defeating the country's well-equipped military mutineers and overturning the attempted coup within hours of the announcement on Friday night.

"The power in the country has been seized in its entirety," an uncomfortable looking journalist said, citing a military statement on Turkish media.

"[We have done this] in order to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms and let the supremacy law in the country prevail, to restore order which was disrupted."

Millions of Turks watched their television screens in awe on Friday night as the above statement was read out, confirming the army had declared an unprecedented coup against president Reccep Tayyip Erdogan.

Within hours, Erdogan conducted an unconventional interview using the Facetime feature on his mobile phone, urging his people to protest what he believed was an unconstitutional coup against his democratically-elected government.

"I certainly believe that coup plotters will not succeed," Erdogan declared on CNNTurk television.

"I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports. I never believed in a power higher than the power of the people," he suggested, a comment shrugged off too early by a pessimistic world.

But minutes later, thousands swarmed the streets to defend what they believe is the only democratic state in the Middle East, despite the roars of F-16 fighter jets overhead and a heavy military presence across major Turkish cities.

Images quickly emerged on social media showing defiant Turks sprawled across the floor to stop the military tanks overshadowing them. Young men sprinted towards armed soldiers, scuffling with the troops till they gave-up and handed the weapons over to the people. Elder hijab-wearing women were seen holding baseball bats, prepared to engage with any obstructions to stand in their way.

In one dramatic video, a military helicopter adamantly fired towards a main road forcing dozens of protesters to disperse and take cover.

Turkish social media users exhausted all platforms to report the fast-escalating events; millions of tweets were being sent, Facebook statuses were being shared, Periscope live streams were being watched.

All eyes were on the people of Turkey as they attempted to lock-down an entire city in what seemed to be a pending doom.

Meanwhile in Ankara, scenes of chaos also played out as reports suggested Turkey's top general was reportedly taken hostage at the military headquarters.

"General Hulusi Akar has been taken hostage by a group in the military who attempted an uprising," the agency said citing "credible sources".

Special forces loyal to Erdogan flocked to his rescue while crew members on a coup-plotters helicopter were killed in a missile strike in another part of the capital.  

But just a few hours into the events of Friday 15, and much to the surprise of the international audience, the coup seemed to falter and Turkish officials declared control of the country following the arrival of President Erdogan.

Hundreds of supporters welcomed the leader in Istanbul after a rocky few hours. Across the country, incredible scenes saw civilians assist police officers detain uniformed soldiers.

By the early hours of Saturday morning, empty tanks were draped in Turkish flags.

Emergency services attended to hundreds of wounded and began the process to identify the 250 who were killed during the eventful night.

As the dust settled, proud Turks strutted the streets caped with the same red and white colours, after a bloody-night that saw ordinary people defeat a splinter faction in one of the region's most equipped military.

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