From reading through the media all that is known so far is that there was a coup but the reason that the coup was attempted is not clear.

Currently wikipedia gives a very broad description of the whole situation

At the time of posting the reason may be unknown.

  • 1
    Are you interested in the conspiracy theory?
    – Philipp
    Jul 18, 2016 at 8:05
  • @Philipp It's an honest question, not a conspiracy theory -- although, as always, views may differ.
    – Drux
    Jul 18, 2016 at 11:24
  • @Philipp its one of the possibilities to consider (If backed by something). If its a serious enough possibility it could be an answer. Jul 19, 2016 at 7:20
  • 1
    There's a very high probability that Erdogan engineered all this in advance to reinforce his power, just like Hitler did in 1934.
    – Bregalad
    Jul 23, 2016 at 17:07
  • @Bregalad if there is a reasonable posibility of that being the correct answer why not add it in the answers section rather than comments. Jul 24, 2016 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


We don't know yet and possibly won't ever know for sure. One theory that I find plausible:

  • Parts of the military were unhappy with Erdogan, for various reasons: the political splits between the (tradionally Kemalist) military and the (sorta-islamist) AKP. The most current reason would be the war against the Kurds Turkey is waging right now, where the military suffers some losses.
  • Because of this tension, Erdogan wanted to purge the military of disloyal higher officers.

  • Some of these officers wanted to preempt this purge by staging a coup.

  • the Government learned of the planned coup, so the generals started it premature and ill planned.

This would explain why, not 24h after the coup has started, the government has lists of thousands of soldiers, judges and others to remove from office or detain.

Official Turkish propaganda glossed over or played down the losses suffered by the army in the civil war against the Kurds. According to Germany-based journalist (and expert on Turkey) Ismail Küpeli (can't find the relevant tweets now), the government was criticised for not honouring the "sacrifices" they bring on (unofficial) social media accounts associated with army units. So some tension between army and AKP government was there, though traditionally the Kemalist army had a strong anti-kurdish stance.

This theory is found more or less in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

This excellent article in Jacobinmag also supports the theory, apparently Erdogan planned to purge the army of anti-AKP elements this July and the coup was a last ditch attempt to prevent this.

  • 1
    Other evidence to suggest that the Coup was ultimately started by Edrogen is that two F-16 jets that were being flown by Coup pilots had Edrogen's jet in target range for several minutes, but did nothing. If you're staging a coup, not taking down the main target of your coup is not an option, unless the coup was never meant to succeed in the first place.
    – SGR
    Jul 21, 2016 at 7:56
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    Excellent points, might also want to consider the historical context; Turkey has had regular coups to purge the government of Islamists. In that context the coup was expected, which is perhaps why Erdogan has been trying to purge the military for years, just as they have been planning to purge him. Though @SGR if the past is anything to go by, the military likes to put former government leaders on trial, to down a jet, killing them and those around them, would be unprecedented.
    – user8398
    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:55
  • @inappropriateCode But they didn't even hail him to land, they just followed for a bit then broke off.
    – SGR
    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:56
  • @SGR who knows what they were thinking? Maybe they were just disorganised, as with the coup generally. We'd need evidence to suggest what motivated them before drawing conclusions. We don't know what their orders were, and if they acted accordingly.
    – user8398
    Jul 22, 2016 at 8:58

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