According to Turkey’s Top Court, Killing Soldiers During Coup Is OK

More than four years after Turkey’s bloody mutiny, the top court gave its blessing for the mob lynching of surrendered soldiers on an Istanbul Bridge. The perpetrators will face no prosecution.

Abdullah Ayasun

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People lynch soldiers after they were surrendered on an Istanbul Bridge on July 16, 2016, after a bungled coup attempt.

Early in the morning on Saturday, July 16, 20106, more than a group of 50 soldiers on the Istanbul Bosporus bridge that separates the European continent from Asia laid down their arms and indicated that they were ready to surrender. They held up their hands in the air to avoid any misunderstanding about their intention as they began to walk toward the checkpoint set up by the anti-riot police over the bridge. It was only hours after the entire country plunged into an ill-fated coup attempt by a small fraction of troops bent on removing the government. Their bid spectacularly bungled after most of the armed forces and national police stood by the government.

Last, but not least important, the people’s determined resistance proved definitive in thwarting the ill-organized and chaotically-executed attempt. But some episodes forever remained a stain on the collective consciousness. The eruption of violence was alien to the public and the shedding of blood on both sides created deep wounds and abiding fissures.

When the soldiers, arms in the air, were marching toward the police for surrender, the angry crowd, traumatized and bewildered by the opening of fire by some soldiers the night before, began to mob lynch the privates. Uninterrupted by the police and guided by the blind rage, some citizens involved in acts that were only reminiscent of numbing violence trickling out of the Middle East. One soldier’s throat was cut and left bleeding to death, while others came close to be beheaded. Almost all of them were beaten, some to death. And most of the soldiers were hospitalized with lifelong injuries and side-effects. The scenes were too graphic to further visualize or explain here. The violence, played out live on TV in front of the whole nation and in the presence of the police on…

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Abdullah Ayasun

Boston-based journalist and writer. Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. 2023 WHCA Scholar. On art, culture, politics and everything in between. X: @abyasun