‘Conspiracy theorists’ are saying the attempted military coup in Turkey was faked, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly called it “a gift from Allah”.
Social media users have compared the coup attempt in which more than 160 people are thought to have died to the Reichstag fire – the 1933 arson attack on the German parliament building which Hitler used as an excuse to suspend civil liberties and order mass arrests of his opponents.
President Erdogan reportedly told supporters at Istanbul’s international airport that the coup attempt was the work of the movement led by the exiled preacher Fethullah Gulen, which he denounced as “an armed terrorist organisation”.
He was quoted as calling the attempted coup “a gift from God,” reportedly saying it would help cleanse the military of “members of the gang” who would “pay a heavy price for their treason”.
This immediately led many to fear that President Erdogan, who has previously been accused of persecuting critics, will use the coup as an excuse to further crack down on his opponents. Such fears are likely to be stoked by Turkish TV reports that 2,745 judges have been removed from their offices following the coup attempt.
Some observers have even begun specualting that the coup was stage-managed to give Mr Erdogan an opportunity to purge the military of opponents and increase his grip on Turkey.
Ryan Heath, the senior EU correspondent at Politico, used Twitter to share comments from his “Turkish source”, who called the events of Friday night a “fake coup” which would help a “fake democracy warrior” [Erdogan].
The source said: “Probably we’ll see an early election [in] which he’ll try to guarantee an unbelievable majority of the votes. And this will probably guarantee another 10-15 years of authoritarian, elected dictatorship.
“We’ll possibly see a change in the constitution for worse, which secularism will be gone and Islamist motifs will be in!”
Using the hashtag #TheatreNotCoup, a Twitter user calling himself Subsidiarity Man wrote: “Two words: Reichstag fire. The year was 1933 and you know what happened next.”
Another Twitter user quoted “my special friend in Istanbul” as calling what happened: “Most probably a real coup attempt, which was vaguely known beforehand, and was allowed to proceed, because they knew it to be disorganised and weak.
“This means it will be followed by a real coup by Erdogan himself, and the last remnants of democracy will be lost.”
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