“There is no power higher than the power

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of the people.”

–Tayyip Erdogan, July 16, 2016.

Modern Turkish history is marked by a furore; an outcome of chronic protests, uprisings and coups. In five decades, Turkey has experienced three successful military coups, in 1960, 1971 and 1980. Though the military could not take over completely in 1997, it was still successful in achieving its desired outcome; Necmettin Erbakan’s Islamist-led coalition government was forced to resign. The fifth coup narrated a different tale altogether. It was unexpectedly toppled over. Though the military’s initial successes made the picture of political events in Turkey no different than that which had formed in earlier coups, Erdogan’s very smart political move turned the tables. Through a FaceTime with news channel, CNN Turk, he gave a message to his followerswhich inspired them to come out and protest. Erdogan has in reality used the same trump card as the military did in its previous attempts to take over. The Turkish military had always claimed itself to be the flag bearer of modern democracy and secularism and the guardian of people’s rights. In 1960, it freed Turkey from the repressive regime of Adnan Menderes. In 1971, it threw another autocratic government out of power. In July 2016, the military could not sustain its tradition of ousting any longer. It has lost its image in the eyes of the public as the protector of secularism in Turkey. However, what truly led a paradigm shift in Turkish politics was the power of the masses; a force which is not to be reckoned with under any circumstances.