PBS NewsHour recently ran a piece on the Turkish government's response to last year's coup attempt, featuring clips from an interview between PBS' Nick Schifrin and THO Executive Director Yenal Kucuker. The ten-minute final segment also featured interviews with teachers, doctors, and journalists in Turkey who lost their jobs following an attempted coup on July 15, 2016. The Turkish government's current response to the attempted coup is ostensibly intended to rid government institutions of followers of Fethullah Gulen, who is believed by the majority of Turkey's public to have orchestrated the coup attempt. However, the government response has also been criticized as overly zealous.
Speaking from his own personal experience as a Turkish-American and informed by his discussions with both D.C.- and Turkey-based experts, academics, and former government officials, Mr. Kucuker described how followers of Fethullah Gulen had been able to gain a considerable degree of influence within the Turkish military, which allowed these individuals to attempt to carry out a coup.
"In specific divisions, there are certain generals, commanders, different ranks getting their instructions from – not from the military, but from those who were outside of the military. There was a cleanup campaign, so to speak, to eliminate those who are affiliated with the Gulen movement."
Regarding the attempted coup, Mr. Kucuker noted the historical importance of its failure. "This was the first coup attempt the Turkish people were able to stop. This is democracy, and this is an elected government. The only way for the elected government to be – to leave this post is basically with elections, with the ballot, not with bullets."
(Read THO's factsheet on the history of coups in modern Turkey here.)