To mount a coup, senior Turkish army officers from the commando units, land forces, the first and fourth armies, and the airforce went to extreme lengths to seize power.
They occupied two airports and closed a third. They attempted to separate the European from the Asian sides of Istanbul. They bombed the parliament in Ankara nine times. There was a pitched battled outside the headquarters of MIT the Turkish intelligence agency. They deployed tanks, helicopter gunships and F16 jets.
To defeat the coup, the Turkish president used his iPhone. Mosques used their loudspeakers, broadcasting the call to prayer hours before dawn. Political leaders of all creeds, some staunch opponents of the president, called unambiguously for the coup to be defeated. Policemen arrested soldiers.
Unarmed people recaptured CNN Turk and the bridges across the Bosphorus, braving gunfire to recapture democracy for their country.
This was unambiguously a military coup. And yet the US Embassy in Ankara in its emergency message to US citizens called it an “uprising”.
Geopolitical Futures released an analysis saying the coup was successful. BBC Arabic, Sky News Arabic, El Arabiya TV, the ITN diplomatic editor, the US networks were all running commentaries saying Erdogan was finished, or had fled to Germany.
The Guardian ran a piece whose first headline (it was later amended) said everything about an author unable to contain his glee at the demise of a man he qualified as authoritarian islamist: “How Recep Tayyip Erdogan inflamed tensions in Turkey”.
As the people of Turkey battled for their future, there was a crashing silence from Western leaders whose brand image is democracy. The French consulate had closed two days earlier. Did it know something Turkey did not?
In his initial statement, US Secretary of State John Kerry used every word except the dreaded “d” one. He hoped for “stability and peace and continuity” within Turkey.
Nothing about supporting a legitimately elected president and a legitimately elected parliament. Only when it was already obvious that the coup was failing did President Barack Obama and Kerry issue a statement unambiguously backing Erdogan.