On Friday 15 July, I was at Ankara TRT and left at around 10pm, just 5-10 minutes before the coup soldiers attacked the building. While I was going home, I noticed that jets were flying around the city. At first, just like many people, I thought this was a drill or an act against a probable terrorist attack. Yet all signs showed that there was a coup attempt throughout the country.
During the next few hours, people from all corners of the country answered the call of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and acted as human shields to protect important government buildings. We also joined in.
At that moment I remembered the events that I experienced in Egypt. I was in Cairo during the 3 July 2013 coup. We also had Apache helicopters flying just above us and there were tanks everywhere. As thousands of Egyptians who supported the coup danced for joy on the streets, General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, with his supporters by his side, announced that he had taken over the government. While one part of the people tried to fight against the coup, the other was unfortunately celebrating in Tahrir Square. The massacres followed soon after.
Those who were against the coup were slaughtered mercilessly in front of my eyes. The events that took place in Rabaa are still fresh in my mind. Tens of thousands of people who gathered to fight against the coup were surrounded by soldiers and were attacked from both the air and land with helicopters and tanks. People were burnt alive. During the coup, more than 40,000 people were arrested, followed by torture…endless torture.
Turkey will not be Egypt or Syria
While I was at the parliament, these memories were racing through my head, but I still thought that our soldiers would never attack their people and they would never agree to do this.
At that very moment an F-16 bombed the parliament. It was an ear piercing sound and it felt like an earthquake. We were all shocked. The Turkish Air Force was literally bombing the Turkish Parliament. This was followed by the sorties. The helicopters were simultaneously raking the parliament. Also, via social media, I saw that the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Police Special Operations Centre, Police Headquarters and the Presidential Complex were also under attack.
While I was thinking whether this would turn out like Egypt, I realised that our citizens would never allow this and I know that everyone thought the same thing. On the one hand we had the coup-effected Egypt and on the other a ruined Syria in the hands of Al-Assad. All that is left behind is blood and tears. The screams and bodies flying in all direction as the barrel bombs exploded.
Maybe it was with this realisation that we had the power to stay stop!
It slowly became obvious that the Turkish citizens will not allow the pain and massacre in Egypt and Syria to be repeated in their own country.
As the number of people on the streets increased, the fact that people were lying in front of the tanks and becoming shields for bullets made it clear that the Turks were not going to surrender to this coup attempt.
The sonic explosions that were caused by the jets that flew past were suppressed by the prayers rising from the mosques calling on the people and this became the symbolic end to the coup attempt.
Of course, Turkey was neither Egypt nor Syria, a militarist hierarchy did not attempt the coup, but rather it was conducted by FETO (Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation) supported by a transatlantic junta. The law enforcement and intelligence agencies fought against the coup at the cost of their life.
Foremost, Our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed strong leadership, and our parliament performed a valuable mission. The media was still running, and not even a small group of coup supporters were allowed to go on the streets.
All these are significant differentiating factors that cannot be ignored; however, the events that happened in Egypt and Syria left a deep wound in our hearts and played an important role during this period. The Turkish citizens have established social awareness against the coup with their own historical experiences as well as in the aftermath of the experiences of their neighbouring countries.
Now it is time for our neighbour states to learn from the Turkish experience. The resistance of the Turks has proven that there is no power stronger than the civilians of a country. The Unarmed Turkish Forces – namely the people of the country – fought and won against NATO's second largest army. This victory once again confirmed that unity is the strongest weapon. Maybe this can spread the notion that "Turks have succeeded, so can we".
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.