World

People power

WHAT: Attempted coup in Turkey

WHEN: Friday night

TOLL: 161 killed, more than 1,440 wounded, more than 2,800 soldiers arrested

It seems like there is no respite for Turkey.

After terror attacks on its international airport, the country was pushed to the brink again.

But this time the men on the street pulled it back in an amazing show of people power.

Defiant Turks climbed onto tanks and yanked out soldiers from their vehicles in the failed coup.

It was the power of social media which helped to bring people to the streets.

That night, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 62, who was holidaying on the coast when the coup was launched, took to social media, calling people to take to the streets.

Thousands responded.

The irony was that in 2013, the crowds had chanted against Mr Erdogan's rule. He was the prime minister then.

He is also an avowed enemy of the technology when his opponents use it and frequently targets Twitter and Facebook, Reuters reported.

He addressed the nation via a video calling service, appearing on the smartphone of a CNN Turk reporter who held it up to a studio camera.

He said the "parallel structure" was behind the coup attempt - his shorthand for followers of Mr Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric whom he has repeatedly accused of trying to foment an uprising in the military, media and judiciary.

COUP

The coup began as tanks rolled into Istanbul's main airport, and other military vehicles blocked key bridges in and out of the city.

Troops filed into Taksim Square uncertain of how they would be received. Soon, angry crowds gathered to denounce them.

They chanted against the putsch, draping Turkish flags over their shoulders. The military was badly outnumbered at a hundred against a thousand.

"Military get out," they chanted, crowding around a monument that marks the birth of the Turkish republic almost a century ago.

Said a 38-year-old who wanted to be known only as Mr Dogan: "The people are afraid of a military government.

"Most of them have been in military service - they know what a military government would mean."

As a helicopter flew overhead, the crowd began to boo, shaking their fists at the night sky.

Then horror unfolded as the soldiers opened fire.

Ambulances arrived, their blue lights illuminating the angry faces of the crowd.

"The military, they did this! Murderers!" one man's scream was heard above the din of the crowd.

In a shocking video, groups of Mr Erdogan's supporters were seen pulling soldiers from their tanks and throwing them onto the ground as they chanted in support of him.

Others lay down in front of the tanks in an effort to stop them from carrying on with their journey.

Hopelessly outnumbered, the men in uniform disappeared into the darkness.

Yesterday, forces loyal to the government were still fighting to crush the last remnants of the failed coup.

mediatwitterfacebookcoupTurkeyanimalssocial mediaTANKSpeoplestreetsprotestsairport