From a student journalists point of view, the attempted military coup of the Turkish government was a frightening, disgusting and unprecedented course of action that resulted in the death of hundreds – innocents and military alike. It brought on disorder, martial law that escalated into apparent civil war between those on the streets, and saw the military directly take on the people of Turkey, the police protecting those peoples civil liberties, and the government which has worked hard to bring subtle prosperities to the country.
From a media point of view, and speaking completely devoid of bias or influence, those involved in the attempted military coup were disgraceful. Undeniably repugnant. Over the course of the fast-changing night, the attempted coup gained control of multiple broadcasting mediums; state run TV, Internet blackouts and control of private TV – notably, CNN Turk, which was broadcast live for the world to witness. For the world to witness the brutality and illegality of the militaries actions.
Videos emerged of soldiers forcefully removing employees, destroying their mobile phones, and isolating them from any form of outside contact. They then attempted to manipulate the wider population by broadcasting propaganda. The word “attempt” features heavily throughout this for a reason – their actions did not, nor would they ever, succeed.
On the other hand, from a student journalists point of view, I’m deeply humbled. Amongst the sadness, fear and indescribable empathy I feel for the media and public on the ground in Turkey, specifically Ankara, I feel warmth.
When faced with tanks, jets, helicopters and guns, the public used their bodies. They blocked tanks, they held barrels, and they restrained military rogues. They are the reason Turkey is free from the oppressive control of a military governance. Whilst there are issues to address with the democracy of the President, they are minute in comparison to the bloodshed and oppression felt during the attempted coup.
The civilians of Turkey, of Ankara, reinstated my belief in the publics perceived importance of the media. They showed, en mass, that the world should be a free place. Free to protest, free to report in a journalistic environment, and free to feel safe.
The attempted coup in Turkey was disgraceful, but also beautiful. It showed the best of humanity and the unity it can incite, but also the most ugly under ill-informed haste through the means of an attempted coup. Whilst helicopters rained bullets into crowds and explosions rocked the Turkish Parliament, the people of Turkey fought violence with bravery.
As a student journalist, a young adult pushing my own boundaries in journalism, Turkey has been a blessing. We will remember those lost, but equally, we will remember the indescribable gains made. We will remember the 15th July 2016 as a dark day for Turkeys democracy, but also as a silver lining for its population. A golden age for its media, for its citizens, and for its internal security.
As a student journalist, I admire and applause the immense bravery of all those in Turkey who stood up to military dictatorship and fought for freedom.
When one stick stands alone, it can be broken with ease. When hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, are bound together – they are then unbreakable.
-Benjamin John Wareing