Social media behind failed Turkish coup Blog

There is a lesson in the failed coup in Turkey for other democratic states across the globe

Izhar Ullah July 22, 2016

A faction of the Turkish military reportedly surrounded important government installations in an attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. Tanks and amour were deployed on buildings, including the prime minister’s house in Istanbul.

Military personnel entered the offices of state-owned broadcaster TRT and disconnected its phone lines. Therefore the channel was covering the successes of the military. Pakistani journalists in the offices of TRT were frequently posting updates onto their social media accounts about the failed military coup.

Social media platforms have played an important role in the failure of the military coup. The well-coordinated campaigns of the 2011 Arab spring were run through social media.

Social media accounts of TRT were carrying the statements of President Erdogan, that the coup had failed and that it was a faction inside the Turkish military that had rebelled.

At first, the social media accounts of TRT were silent for many hours after the attempted coup, for reasons unknown. But after a few hours, the Twitter handle of TRT started tweeting updates about the coup. They were carrying the hasthag #failedcoup with each and every update. Most of the coverage was of the government’s statements.

An important part played by social media users was the act of giving hope to the general public by carrying Erdogan’s talks on air using Facetime. Talking through Facetime, he urged the public to take to the streets against the coup.

Soon after the talks of Erdogan aired on almost all media outlets across the world with the help of Facetime, thousands of his supporters came out on the streets against the military.

There is a lesson in the failed coup in Turkey for other democratic states across the globe. A coup can be repelled if the country’s general public are united, if the government and opposition act in unison in such scenarios, if the government has the support of the civilians and if the central leadership of the military knows that the voice of the people cannot be ignored.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2016.


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