How the world reacted to the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey


The United Nations

The then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan few months before the coup attempt at World Humanitarian Summit organized in Istanbul. (Anadolu Agency)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a written statement on the Organisation’s official website on July 16:

“The Secretary-General is following closely and with concern the fast-moving developments in Turkey. At this moment of uncertainty in the country, the Secretary-General appeals for calmness, non-violence and restraint. Preservation of fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and assembly, remain of vital importance. The Secretary-General underscores that military interference in the affairs of any state is unacceptable. It will be crucial to quickly and peacefully affirm civilian rule and constitutional order in accordance with the principles of

The European Union

European Council President Donald Tusk was quick to show support for Turkey’s government on the night of the coup attempt. File photo (AP)

On July 16 at 03:10 am (Turkish local time) European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini released the following joint statement:

“Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law. We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order. We closely continue to follow the developments and to coordinate with the 28 EU Member States.”

Tusk further tweeted on July 16 at 3:23 am (Turkish local time):

“EU supports Turkey’s democratically elected government, institutions and rule of law, and calls for the return to constitutional order.”


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stolenberg inspects bomb damage inside Turkey’s Grand National Assembly during his visit to Ankara on 9th September 2016. (Anadolu Agency)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made his first statement on July 16 at 5:34 am (Turkish local time):

“Just spoke to Turkish FM. I call for calm, restraint and full respect for Turkey’s democratic institutions and constitution.”

A further statement by Stoltenberg was published on NATO’s official website on July 18:

“I have spoken to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in the aftermath of the attempted coup in Turkey. I welcomed the strong support shown by the people and all political parties to democracy and to the democratically elected government. The Turkish people have shown great courage.”​

The Gulf Cooperation Council

The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Countries countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are pictured at a meeting of the council. File Photo (Anadolu Agency)

All GCC countries celebrated the Turkish people’s victory over the intended military takeover. The Council is headed by Saudi Arabia, whose government expressed support for Turkey’s “elected government” that possessed “constitutional legitimacy.”

Upon Ankara’s request, Saudi Arabia also detained Turkey’s military attaché to Kuwait (suspected of Gülenist connections) at Dammam Airport in Saudi Arabia, and further stated that they were willing to collaborate with President Erdoğan in the failed coup’s aftermath.

The Council of Europe

Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, visits the parliament building in Ankara on August 3, 2017, following the attempted coup. (Anadolu Agency)

Early at night, Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland of the Council of Europe became the first international statesman to express his support for Turkey and against the military takeover attempt. As the news was just beginning to spread, he promptly tweeted: 

“Any attempt to overthrow the democratically elected leaders in a member state of the Council of Europe is unacceptable.”

The United States of America

Joe Biden, then Vice President of the United States, inspects bomb damage at the Grand National Assembly. (Anadolu Agency)

US Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement on July 16 at 00:14 am (Turkish local time), where he said:

“I hope there will be stability and peace and continuity within Turkey, but I have nothing to add with respect to what has transpired at this moment.”

After it became clear that the insurrection had been quelled, a further statement was issued on July 16 at 02:13 am (Turkish local time):

“The President [Obama] and Secretary [Kerry] agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically elected government, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed. The Secretary underscored that the State Department will continue to focus on the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Turkey. The President asked the Secretary to continue to keep him updated as the situation unfolds.”​

This was further echoed by the White House on the same day:

“The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed.”

In the months after the coup, Ankara’s request for the extradition of the Pennsylvania-based Fethullah Gülen has not been met, which placed a strain on relations between the US and Turkey.

The United Kingdom

UK Prime Minister Theresa May with Binali Yıldırım, her Turkish counterpart. File photo (Anadolu Agency)

From the start, the UK was one EU state that was most sympathetic to Turkey’s predicament, opposing the military takeover, upholding the elected government’s legitimacy, and also lending its support to Ankara’s claim that the coup had been the work of Gulen’s supporters.

On July 15 at 21:53 (or 9:53 pm) Turkish local time, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted:

“Very concerned by events unfolding in #Turkey. Our Embassy is monitoring the situation closely. Brits should follow FCO website for advice.”

Johnson posted another tweet on 16th July at 7:12 am (Turkish local time):

“Just spoken to #Turkey foreign minister @MevlutCavusoglu. I underlined #UK support for the democratic elected government & institutions.”

On July 18 at the House of Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May proclaimed:

“We firmly condemn the attempted coup by certain members of the Turkish Armed Forces.”


German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the coup attempt and expressed her solidarity with Turkey’s democratically elected government. File photo (Anadolu Agency)

As the world became aware that part of the army was trying to take over, Germany immediately released a statement of solidarity with the Turkish people and government. On the night of the coup, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman posted on Twitter:

“The democratic order in #Turkey must be respected. Everything must be done to protect lives.”

The day after the coup, Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin:

“In the name of the entire German government, I sharply condemn the attempt by Turkish military units to overthrow the elected government and president. … Germany stands on the side of all those in Turkey who defend democracy and the constitutional state. It is and remains the right of the people to decide in free elections who will rule.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. File photo (Anadolu Agency)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on July 16 that President Vladimir Putin was being kept constantly informed on the situation in Turkey.

The Foreign Ministry stated that: “Moscow is most concerned at the latest events in Turkey,” and called upon the Turkish authorities and people “to settle the problems without use of force, and to respect the constitutional order.”

Separately, the government confirmed its “readiness to work constructively with the legally elected leadership of Turkey in the interest of promoting bilateral relations,” adding that this particularly applied to “fighting the threat of terrorism.”


Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sherif visits the damaged Grand National Assembly after the failed coup attempt. (Anadolu Agency)

Turkey and Pakistan have long enjoyed mutual trust and appreciation, which was only strengthened after July 15, 2016.

On July 16, Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the coup, and expressed Pakistan’s support and solidarity with President Erdogan. He also visited the Turkish parliament “to reaffirm Pakistan’s unequivocal support and solidarity” with the government and people of Turkey against the failed military takeover.

Pakistan’s response to the coup in Turkey was made more interesting because of the parallels many commentators have been drawing between the extraordinary influence that has traditionally been exercised by the military in both countries. This may be said to have imparted some extra passion and poignancy to the way Pakistani media have been covering the Turkish coup.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, tweeted:

“The lesson is that the real power is with one who is on the side of the rule of law.”

Maryam Nawaz, the prime minister’s daughter tweeted:

“The brave people of Turkey have established that the sovereign will of the people cannot be made a mockery of. Democracy wins. Well done!”


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. File photo (Anadolu Agency)

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani called President Erdogan on July 16 to congratulate him on his victory against a deadly coup attempt by the military. Thani became the first leader to make a personal solidarity call to Erdogan. He “strongly condemned this failed attempt and voiced…(Qatar’s) solidarity with Turkey…in all measures it takes to protect constitutional legitimacy, enforce the rule of law and preserve its security and stability,” the official QNA news agency reported.

Subsequently the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stated that:

 “the State of Qatar has expressed its strong denunciation and condemnation of the military coup attempt, lawlessness, and violation of the constitutional legitimacy in the Republic of Turkey.”


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. File photo (Anadolu Agency)

On July 16, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani publicly condemned the attempted military takeover:

“We support Turkey’s legal government and oppose any type of coup either [initiated] domestically or supported by foreign sides.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted a tweet saying he was

“Deeply concerned about the crisis in Turkey. Stability, democracy and safety of Turkish people are paramount.” In another tweet, he added that “the Turkish people’s brave defense of democracy and their elected government proves that coups have no place in our region and are doomed to fail.”

Source: TRT World Vision

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