The state of the media
Yeni Şafak was the first to report on the coup
Turkish media started covering the breaking news as soon as FETÖ-linked soldiers tried to block the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul with tanks on the evening of July 15. While media institutions were covering the events in Istanbul and the events that followed, Yeni Şafak was the first media outlet to refer to the events as a coup attempt. We collated all the details covered by media organizations before, after and during those difficult hours.
The betrayal attempt of “parallel” officers
The Yeni Şafak headline: “The betrayal attempt of parallel officers”, was published during the first moments of its coverage
Yeni Şafak was the first to broadcast FETÖ’s July 15 coup attempt. The article, “Betrayal attempt of parallel officers”, published at 10:37 p.m. on Friday night, answered the questions of millions of citizens. Announcing the developments on its Facebook, Twitter and Periscope pages, Yeni Şafak was the first media outlet to invite citizens to the streets.
As the first responses to the coup attempt started to come in, the article reported: “FETÖ soldiers attempted to capture the General Staff Headquarters. Police units are ready and an operation has been launched to take the officers who attempted the betrayal into custody. There have been high levels of activity around the General Staff Headquarters. A great number of security and health personnel have been dispatched to the General Staff Headquarters and warplanes can be seen in flight.”
“The betrayal of parallel officers” by Yeni Şafak:
FETÖ soldiers attempted to capture the General Staff Command. Police units are ready and an operation has been launched to take the officers who attempted the betrayal into custody.
Parallel officers who are members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) have launched a coup attempt. Yeni Şafak has obtained striking information regarding the parallel state structure members’ betrayal.
The U.S. backs the officers
Parallel officers, allegedly supported by the U.S., attempted to seize control of the Turkish state. Police units are ready and an operation has been launched to take the officers who attempted the betrayal into custody.
High levels of activity in front of the General Staff Command
There have been high levels of activity around the General Staff Command. A great number of security and health personnel have been dispatched to the General Staff Command and warplanes can be seen in flight.
#SonDakikaVatan haini paralel subaylar çıldırdı:Komuta Kademesini ele geçirmeye çalıştılar! https://t.co/UOiBzjVAQq
— Yeni Şafak (@yenisafak) 15 Temmuz 2016
“Parallel” media was shocked
Kerim Balcı, who was supporting the soldiers’ coup attempt on STV’s online television channel and making scandalous remarks, was shocked by Yeni Şafak’s article that informed the public of the coup attempt.
“Mr. Şemsettin, have you seen Yeni Şafak’s article?” Balcı asked before reading it aloud. “Traitorous parallel officers have launched a coup attempt and are trying to take control, it says.”
FETÖ-affiliated journalist Şemsettin responded, saying: “This is exactly the type of article we were expecting, I can’t say I’m very surprised.”
Yeni Şafak was the first to call on the people to take to the streets
The coup was prevented when the people took to the streets.
Yeni Şafak was the first media organization to refer to the military activity in Istanbul and Ankara as a coup attempt and also the first media organization to call on the people to resist and flock to the streets.
Yeni Şafak first shared this message with millions on social media, and called out to people from all 81 of Turkey’s provinces, especially Istanbul and Ankara, continuously that night.
Kahraman Türk halkını, bu darbe girişimi karşısında sessiz kalmamaya ve darbeye teşebbüs edenlere karşı tavrını ortaya koymaya çağırıyoruz.
— Yeni Şafak (@yenisafak) 15 Temmuz 2016
First statement from Prime Minister Yıldırım
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım explained that some of those within the military were engaging in a coup attempt, and said: “Those who are launching this attempt will pay a heavy price.”
Yıldırım evaluated the situation by connecting to NTV. He said: “The truth is, chances are this is an insurrection. It is clear that some people within the military have acted illegally and disregarded the chain of command. Our citizens should know that we will not allow any activity to harm democracy. The government of the Republic of Turkey, elected by the people, is working for the will of the nation. We will be removed from our jobs only when the people decide so. Those who are attempting this insurrection, this madness, will pay a heavy price. We will never allow [ourselves to] be frightened off by such rebellions. They should know that we will never allow this and similar lunacies.”
When asked if what was happening could be called a coup attempt, Yıldırım answered:
“It would not be right to call this a coup just yet. It is true that it is a rebellion. In certain areas, there are a number of groups that have irresponsibly taken the state’s guns and advanced on our citizens and tried to neutralize them. We will soon know who they are and why they are acting and do what is necessary. We will never tolerate illegal activities that interrupt democracy.”
Prime Minister Yıldırım also highlighted that that security forces had taken action against the rebellion.
TVNET covered it first
At 10:32 p.m. TVNET announced that the Bosporus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridges were closed to traffic from the Anatolian to the European side. This development was reported as breaking news at 10:36 p.m. Just one minute later, TVNET reported on the activity in Istanbul and Ankara. TVNET reported that the shutting of the bridge to traffic raises various questions. At 10:38 p.m., the channel reported that jets had taken off in Ankara.
Nobody knew the reason behind the unusual developments
Reports came in that the sound of guns was coming from the General Staff Headquarters. The traitors had taken tanks to the streets and started to place them at strategic points such as bridges and airports.
While there had been no official statements made yet and the public had not yet understood what was going on, TVNET was the first to inform the people.
At 10:50 p.m. it reported that FETÖ soldiers attempted to capture the General Staff Headquarters and that police units launched an operation.
TVNET compiled all the developments in a news piece titled “Coup attempt by parallel officials”, at 10:51 p.m., and the first official statement was made at 11:01 p.m.
İbrahim Karagül: This is an occupation attempt
Yeni Şafak and TVNET Editor-in-Chief İbrahim Karagül followed the developments on the night of the coup attempt. Karagül commented on the coup on a live TVNET broadcast. Describing the events as an occupation attempt, Karagül said: “A military intervention is not the subject. What we are experiencing is a terrorist organization that has embedded itself in the Turkish Armed Forces and is carrying out an occupation attempt to spark a civil war.”
News channels referenced the prime minister
TVNET was the first channel to refer to the activity in Istanbul and Ankara as a coup attempt while other channels used Yıldırım’s terminology of a rebellion to describe the events. Many channels that used Yıldırım’s expression labeled it breaking news.
Erdoğan connects via FaceTime
FaceTime has been used on Apple devices as a video call service since 2010.
The CNN Turk Ankara Representative Hande Fırat, who presented a live broadcast, made a number of critical calls to important figures during the coup attempt. Fırat became an icon with her conversation with Erdoğan at 12:97 a.m.[PK2] discussing the developments.
Erdoğan, who was in Marmaris during the coup attempt, participated in a CNN Turk broadcast through a FaceTime connection.
Erdoğan’s statement on CNN Turk was discussed widely on global media platforms.
Erdoğan invites the people to the streets
“I am calling out to our people: I am inviting our people to take to the streets of our provinces, to our airports, let’s congregate as a nation. May this minority group come with their tanks and cannons,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said that the coup attempt was a rebellion against the national will and stressed that those responsible would receive the necessary punishment.
Putschists target media channels
FETÖ troops targeted media organizations during the July 15 coup attempt, trying to occupy media outlets and pressure personnel. It was later discovered that FETÖ propaganda would have been broadcasted had the coup been successful. Media channels that were tracking the developments were attacked in attempts to silence them.
TRT World was first the target
From the first minutes of the coup attempt, FETÖ soldiers targeted the TRT buildings in Istanbul and Ankara.
Putschists wanted to seize TRT World and broadcast internationally.
The TRT World building in Istanbul, which broadcasts in English, was the first television channel the putschists targeted.
While attempting to intervene in the journalists work at the TRT building in Ulus, it became clear that putschist troops were preparing to broadcast internationally from the morning hours onward. The TRT building in Ankara was also targeted simultaneously.
Putschists make a pirate declaration read on TRT
Putschist soldiers targeted the TRT General Management building in Ankara.
Over 300 putschist soldiers that outnumbered the police team stationed at TRT Ankara’s Oran Campus entrance and exit and seized the building.
After stopping TRT's television and internet broadcasts, Lieutenant Colonel Ümit Gençer took off his camouflage fatigues and donned ceremonial dress to read the pirate declaration prepared by the Peace at Home Council on TRT.
Following orders from putschists, Gencer did not end up reading the pirate declaration.
Yıldırım also wanted to be broadcast live from TRT at the same time. However, because putschists occupied TRT, the connection was not established and NTV was used instead. NTV's broadcast connected to Yıldırım and he told citizens it was a rebellion.
Tijen Karas: "I carried out the most difficult broadcast of my professional life at gun point."
TRT presenter Tijen Karas read the pirate declaration while putschists briefly interrupted broadcasts during the coup attempt.
The pirate declaration stated: "The violation of the Constitution and the law systematically, the secular and democratic rule of law has been virtually abolished," and outlined the following aims:
- “To eliminate the dangers our Republic faces”
- “To remove the obstacles obstructing the rule of law”
- “To re-establish the constitutional order based on secular, democratic, social rule of law principles
Yeni Şafak did not recognize the pirate announcement
The pirate announcement was not recognized by yenisafak.com. Many media organizations reported that the “Turkish Armed Forces have taken over the government”, which was a part of the Peace at Home Council’s announcement, but Yeni Şafak and TVNET did not cover it.
Email sent to accredited journalists
Putschist soldiers sent an email to accredited journalists from the account of the Turkish Armed Forces.
The pirate email notification sent using the Turkish Armed Forces’ account said the “government has been taken over.”
Süleyman Soylu and Turkish citizens flock to TRT
Labor and Social Security Minister Süleyman Soylu and citizens flocked to the TRT building in Ankara after it was captured. Thousands of citizens acted together and occupied the TRT building against the putschist troops that were shooting their own people.
Süleyman Soylu and Tijen Karaş made the first announcement once the TRT building was recaptured from the putschist soldiers
Soylu, who entered the TRT building with the people, ensured that it had been recaptured from the putschists.
- The FETÖ soldiers who dispersed across the campus were taken into custody
“We were captured by a group that claimed to be carrying out this uprising in the name of the Turkish Armed Forces, and said that they would not harm us and were doing this for the benefit of the people,” said Karaş, who was found with his arms tied behind his back.
Thanking Soylu and the people who recaptured the TRT building, Karaş said: “Don’t abandon the streets until there is not even one of them left.”
Intervention at the Doğan Media Group building
A siege similar to the sieges at TRT’s buildings in Istanbul and Ankara took place at the Doğan Media Center in Bağcılar, Istanbul. A group of putschist soldiers first cut CNN Turk’s live broadcast when they raided the building where Hürriyet newspaper, Kanal D and CNN Turk are located at 3:27 a.m.
Citizens flocked to the area to defend their media institutions.
Clashes erupted between security personnel, employees and putschist soldiers. The putschist soldiers forced the presenter, camera crew and the stage crew to go outside when they raided the studio, which was conducting a live broadcast.
Police forces intervened together with the people who gathered in front of the building, and the broadcast returned to normal.
Digiturk invasion attempt
Putschist soldiers landed a military helicopter in the Beşiktaş Vodafone Arena at approximately 2:00 a.m. The soldiers left the stadium and seized a public bus at gun point before transporting senior officers, including one colonel and 35 military college students to Beşiktaş, Istanbul, and capturing the Digiturk building.
In order to seize the Digiturk building and cut its broadcast, 43 putschists soldiers, including three civilian technical personnel, were assigned. These people were dropped off in three groups to Vodafone Arena by helicopter pilot Kerime Kumaş.
- On orders from Major Ali Akkaş, the putschist soldiers damaged the stadium doors and left in order to capture the Digiturk building.
A lieutenant who seized a passing Jeep at gunpoint transported three civilian technical personnel to the Digiturk building.
The putschist soldiers who were trying to capture the Digiturk building and cut broadcasts fired gunshots at equipment when the broadcasts was not cut off.
The putschist soldiers surrendered to police after intense negotiations.
A call from Digiturk
Digiturk shared what was happening on its official Twitter account as the putschist soldiers raided the building. Digiturk officials announced that employees were being forced at gunpoint to go outside and encouraged the people to defend and protect their media institutions.
Digiturk çalışanları, silah zoruyla binanın dışına çıkartılmaya çalışılıyor...
— Digiturk (@Digiturk) 16 Temmuz 2016
TRT Radio is seized
TRT Radio’s broadcast was interrupted as putschist soldiers tried to capture the building where TRT Radio is located in Harbiye, Istanbul.
Thousands of citizens kept watch in front of the radio station’s building all night.
Police conducted an operation at the Harbiye Officers’ Clubs and the TRT Radio building where fierce clashes broke out at 5:45 a.m.
Thirteen soldiers were taken into custody during the operation. A large number of assault rifles and other weapons that were piled up inside the TRT Radio building were confiscated.
Putschists could not enter Ankara Radio
Armored personnel carriers with putschist soldiers were sent to Ankara Radio. The doors were locked from the outside and a large crowd of citizens stopped the putschists from entering the building.
Global press coverage
Media outlets worldwide covered the FETÖ coup attempt as breaking news and continued to follow the developments.
In Germany, Bild newspaper published the headline: “Military coup attempt in Turkey against Erdoğan”, on the front page. The article detailed that the coup attempt came as a surprise to the Turkish opposition, and also included other developments. German security authorities did not receive any warning signs or clues about the coup attempt, the article said.
The coup attempt received wide coverage in the U.K. as well. Many media institutions followed the developments as they unfolded. The BBC posted an article titled “Erdoğan overrules coup attempt”, and reported that 63 people, mostly civilians, were killed in clashes and 366 people were arrested. The BBC shared constant updates and also quoted Yıldırım: “The situation is mostly under control.” The Sunday Times, which shared the developments on its front page, published a photograph of citizens climbing a tank holding Turkish flags with the headline: “Turks crush coup.”
Qatar-based international broadcaster Al Jazeera published an article titled “The coup attempt in Turkey: 'A betrayal movement' ”, and reported that "[a]mong the news of conflict, the government has affirmed that the coup attempt was unsuccessful."
While the Swiss press extensively covered the events in Turkey, Le Matin newspaper published an article titled “Security Forces block Bosporus Bridge”, and blamed the coup on a group of soldiers within the military. “Military jets and helicopters are conducting low altitude flights over Ankara, causing great distress. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım attributed the uprising to a group of soldiers within the military,” the article reported. The article that was published online early in the morning reported that “at least 60 people were killed and 754 [had] been arrested.”
The spread of disinformation
Though many media organizations worldwide provided extensive coverage of the coup attempt in Turkey, other organizations published disinformation.
Many channels, such as NBC in the U.S., seemed to publish and broadcast in favor of the coup attempt. In addition to the incidents in Istanbul and Ankara, as well as what Erdoğan experienced in Marmaris, NBC reported that Erdoğan was allegedly seeking asylum from Germany based on a source from the U.S. Department of Defense.
President Erdoğan’s plane was tracked
Stratfor, a global intelligence company known for its closeness to the CIA, closely tracked the coup attempt in Turkey.
Stratfor tracked Erdoğan’s plane route as he left Marmaris before the assassination team arrived, and tweeted its location details.
Tracking #Turkish President Erdogan's airplane, now over Sea of Marmara. https://t.co/tWLzWMPq7u pic.twitter.com/ZdAI4YCOoH
— Stratfor (@Stratfor) 16 Temmuz 2016
Erdoğan traveled from Marmaris to Dalaman by helicopter and arrived at Dalaman with his family and those who were with them shortly after a brief intervention. Where Erdoğan was heading was kept secret. Erdoğan ordered the Gulfstream G450-type TC-ATA plane to head to Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.
Yeni Şafak on social media
Millions followed the coup attempt from yenisafak.com and through its social media accounts. More than 30 million people were reached between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
Facebook and Twitter users followedthe coup attempt on Yeni Şafak's social media accounts.
Hosting over 2 million readers over two hours, yeniSafak.com announced the details of the betrayal.
Yeni Şafak announced that coup developments to 8 million followers on its Facebook page. Millions of citizens wondering about the developments were informed through live broadcasts and evaluations. Yeni Şafak also announced to its readers that the coup attempt had been successfully repelled.
The Yeni Şafak Twitter page, which has over 650,000 followers, reached out to millions and informed them of the coup attempt. Yeni Şafak was the first to label the events a coup attempt on Twitter, and received record-breaking shares within the first 48 hours.
Although Yeni Şafak primarily used Facebook and Twitter very actively during the coup attempt, it also made use of other applications. The Yeni Şafak Periscope (HYPERLINK https://www.periscope.tv/yenisafak/1kvJpnLRpyaKE) and Instagram (HYPERLINK https://www.instagram.com/yenisafak/) accounts were also actively used to share breaking developments.
Social media blocked
There was a quick spread of disinformation once media organizations started to report on the coup attempt. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites were shut down in order to prevent provocations.
Access to social media was quickly reinstated and was used as an effective tool to resist the coup attempt. Yeni Şafak used social media as a publishing tool throughout the coup attempt.
Yeni Şafak shared every development
Yeni Şafak revealed the FETÖ coup attempt in Ankara and Istanbul one month prior to the execution of the plan. Details (HYPERLINK: http://www.yenisafak.com/gundem/yeni-safak-darbeyi-adim-adim-duyurdu-2495953) of the plans and steps being taken to prepare for the coup were reported.