There have been many allegations that weapons were distributed to the civilians during last summer’s July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, stimulating individual armament in the country, daily Hürriyet reported.
A murder case has flamed the allegations. According to a murder case indictment by the chief prosecutor office of Ankara, two farmer brothers, İdris (23) and Cesur Demircioğlu (18) met Murat Maraş (37) on their way back and a ‘right-of-way fight’ began between the three men. During the quarrel Maraş fired at Demircioğlu brothers with an MP-5 gun, killing one man and leaving other one wounded, and fled the scene of the crime.
Murder suspect Maraş was arrested in December 2016 and the first trial started on May 31. Maraş said: “They had distributed this gun in front of the Ankara Security Directorate during the night of coup on July 15. I had never used it. During the panic and fear, I fired it at Cesur three times.”
Uncontrolled individual armament leads to fear and disturbance within the Turkish society during the chaotic atmosphere in the country particularly following the July 15 coup attempt.
ARMED JIHADISTS TOOK TO THE STREETS ON JULY 15
During the night of July 15, the putschists, some of whom acted in accordance with the US-based preacher Fethullah Gülen as one of the masterminds of the coup attempt and former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party, seized the control of some critical points particularly in İstanbul and Ankara, including the Bosphorus Bridge and Turkey’s state-run TRT TV.
When the putschists were trying to take the full control of the country, many armed jihadists and radical Islamists also took to the streets to support the government. It has been alleged that pro-government security forces distributed weapons to the civilians during the clashes of the coup night.
When the coup failed early in the morning of July 16, many pro-government radical Islamists lynched even the young soldiers despite they surrendered, who had been ordered by their high officers to take part in the military coup attempt.
POST-COUP ATTEMPT: INCREASING INDIVIDUAL ARMAMENT IN TURKEY
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government declared a state of emergency which is still in force despite almost a year passed after the failed coup of July 15, 2016.
While the government governed Turkey through emergency decrees without any control mechanism and purged many dissidents, including some left-wing individuals who openly had no link to the religious cult organization behind the coup, some figures from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) called on its civilian supporters to get armed under the pretext of “preventing possible coup attempts”.
Erdoğan’s Principal Consultant Şeref Malkoç stated publicly that they would take steps to remove the difficulties preventing the citizens from purchasing guns. He said, “The people should be provided with gun licences to practice their right to self-defence against coup attempters.”
According to a report prepared for the German Council of Ministers, Turkey jumped from No. 25 to No. 8 among the top countries buying weapons from Germany.
Following July 15, Turkey’s pro-AKP Islamist newspapers promoted individual armament with front-page ads. Abdurrahman Dilipak, a prominent Islamist columnist, advocated gun permits, saying, “If someone is shooting at me, would I reply by screaming slogans?”
Albeit many new gun owners have no idea how to use their guns, rush to guns is becoming so widespread in Turkey that private companies have been launched to offer training how to use, conceal and carry guns.
The AKP government also aimed at equipping Turkish police with heavy weapons to further escalate the influence of President Erdoğan within the security forces. The government took steps to conduct legal regulations in recent years. “Turkey’s police will soon obtain heavy weapons”, former Interior Minister Efkan Ala announced regarding legal precautions after the failed July 15 coup attempt.
The rise in individual armament and the equipment of police with heavy guns have sparked question marks and fears particularly among anti-AKP population regarding whether the ruling party is forming a ‘regime-based civilian army’ and whether the current affair is a prelude to a civil war in Turkey, a country which is witnessing oppressions on the political opposition at home while sailing to jeopardous adventures abroad.