It collapsed, and the fallout led to tens of thousands of troops, police, and civil servants being suspended or dismissed from their jobs, and tens of thousands imprisoned.
A photograph printed in a Turkish paper reveals rows of guys partly stripped, hands bound behind their backs, kneeling at a horse stable once they had been arrested by authorities. One of them was Lt. Muhammed Emin Gundogdu, who’d been attending a coaching class from the capital Ankara on the night of the coup.
In Germany, he’s shared his story for the first time in a private interview with Euronews.
On July 16, 2016, tens of thousands of Turkish soldiers were detained and brought to several locations around the nation following the failed coup d’état which started the previous night.
The July 15 coup effort caused the deaths of 251 individuals, and 2,200 were hurt.
Since the unsuccessful coup, over 500,000 individuals are arrested, according to a government source, and more than 150,000 are dismissed from their jobs.
About July 15 Muhammed Emin Gundogdu, then 23, had packed his bags and was planning a trip home to see his family if his commander Muhlis Kocak delivered a message onto a WhatsApp group announcing a compulsory night training session that day.
In the practice, they had been briefed on a possible terrorist attack and supplied with live ammunition, unlike in the previous coaching.
The soldiers believed if they had been under assault from the so-called Islamic State, along with other revolutionary groups.
They were subsequently dispatched to several locations. Forty were shipped to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential palace and delegated to protect him.
Those soldiers were set in the Gendarmerie Command base, contrary to the palace, and afterward accused of trying to kill the president,” states Gundogdu.
One of the 36″putschists” murdered that night were Gundogdu’s buddies Abdulkadir Karaagac and Ramazan Erdogan. They died believing that they had been defending the presidential palace, based on Gundogdu.
The authorities refused to provide info about Karaagac’s body to his loved ones. After 15 days, they found it at a tent on the campus of a unit.
“He called him a traitor, although he had been among the greatest people I’ve known in my entire life,” states Gundogdu. After being denied permission to bury their kid at the nearby Peninsula, Karaagac’s relatives buried him onto a hill, at an unmarked grave.
In a different circumstance, 21-year-old cadet Murat Tekin was crushed to death with an angry civilian cop in Istanbul later civilians came out to shield the authorities.
At the night of July 15, Gundogdu was tasked with protecting their Gendarmerie Guard Academy Control article that placed a high number of weapons, including tanks and helicopters.
He says that they just heard about a military coup from the Erdogan government afterward when Prime Minister Binali Yildirim created a statement on television about 11 pm.
“We weren’t allowed off the foundation. I believed that our commanders were anti-coup.”
Around 1 am after nothing occurred on the bottom, the soldiers retreated into their dormitories. Gundogdu says that he slept for a couple of hours before being awakened by the noise of gunshots about 6 am.
“Colonel Veli Tire and ten of the men threatened to shoot anybody attempting to leave the foundation,” he remembers.
When nobody responded, the commander set down his gun, sat against the guys, and informed them that a bunch of soldiers had tried a coup.
Gundogdu states the soldiers insisted that they were not involved, and he states they had been arrested.
Stripped, beaten and imprisoned
“We’re 300 men, completely equipped, being arrested by 10 guys with just pistols, but we did nothing. We followed directions.”
As there were not sufficient handcuffs for 300 soldiers, Gundogdu states they aided by handcuffing each other using their bootlaces. He says that they had been reassured that everything will be cleared up in the police station and they would shortly be published.
Rather, they had been moved to a horse stable in Ankara, in which they had been forced to undress and kneel in rows.
He says that the area was dirty and the smell was nauseating.
“They forced us to utilize the location where we had been sleeping as a bathroom.”
Gundogdu reports that everybody has been beaten and tortured. They were photographed.
We needed to visit the toilet, handcuffed, eat handcuffs.” He states his palms turned purple from lack of flow.
If they complained, among those police officers told them”You’re traitors, be glad you’re still living “
An evaluation by Amnesty International discovered that detainees were held for 48 hours at stress positions, refused water, food, and medical therapy.
After two weeks at the steady, they had been sent to a different sports complex for four days before being imprisoned for 2 months in pretrial detention.
In 2018, Gundogdu says that he had been captured attempting to escape from Turkey, leading to 13 more months behind bars.
“They not just ignored me from my article and imprisoned me personally, but also discriminated against me. They prevented me from getting another occupation. My loved ones cut off connections with me. Our neighbors verbally abused my loved ones and me personally, calling us traitors.”
Escape into Germany
In January of this year, he also was able to escape to Greece. From there, he traveled to Germany, in which, according to the nation’s government service for migrants and refugees (BAMF), he’s one of over 39,000 Turkish nationals who have sought asylum there because of 2016.
In June this year, the Turkish military dismissed another 4,562 employees, taking the entire amount to 19,583, based on Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
“We intend to purge terrorists out of our rankings and not let even one traitor use this glorious military uniform,” Akar said in an announcement on June 3.
As proof, he pointed to some WhatsApp message Gundogdu had delivered on July 15, which read, “We do not know anything. We’re awaiting the entry [of the foundation ] armed and prepared. Let’s not discuss anything .”
So far, Ankara has suspended or dismissed over 45,000 military and police employees and over 130,000 civil servants, in addition to a third of their judiciary, based on a report released this season from the US embassy in Turkey.
Gundogdu asserts the coup attempt was a game invented by the authorities to”eliminate the hurdles before Erdogan’s dictatorship.”
He says that he never wanted to leave Turkey but had been left with no selection.
“I’d no right to live a normal life in my nation.”