Egypt’s pro-army media jump gun, welcome Turkey coup
Brian Rohan, AP, Jul 16 2016
CAIRO — Some of Egypt’s pro-army media jumped the gun in their reporting on Friday night’s attempted coup in Turkey, declaring it a success and welcoming the overthrow of Erdogan. At least three newspapers ran headlines Saturday declaring that Turkey’s army had overthrown Erdogan. But by the time their print editions came out, Turkey’s government had largely succeeded in quashing the coup after a night of clashes that left dozens dead. As the events unfolded, Egyptian TV personality Ahmed Moussa declared:
This isn’t a military coup, it’s a revolution within the Turkish armed forces.
Moussa was an avid supporter of Mohammed Mursi’s military overthrow in 2013. Erdogan harshly condemned Mursi’s overthrow, and the two countries have had tense relations since. Another Egyptian talk show host, Osama Kamal, appeared to mock Erdogan for his television interview during the early hours of the coup attempt. Erdogan had been on a seaside vacation when tanks rolled onto the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. He appeared on television over a mobile phone to urge supporters into the streets to defend the government, spurring large crowds to heed his call, before flying home early Saturday and declaring the coup a failure. Mursi’s ouster by Sissi reflected a situation vastly different from what has transpired in Turkey, where the military seems to have been divided since the very start. Sissi has led a broad crackdown on dissent since he took over, focused initially on Islamists but later expanding to secular opponents as well. Egypt’s government has yet to issue any statements about Turkey’s coup attempt, except to warn its citizens in Turkey to stay at home and avoid the conflict, and to announce that it had set up a unit at the Foreign Ministry to provide assistance for Egyptians in Turkey and help evacuate those stranded at Istanbul airport. By Saturday morning, the mood had changed, as pro-democracy activists (MBs & pro-West liberals – RB) in Egypt took to social media networks to post jubilant comments about the failure of the coup and publish photos of army officers and soldiers captured by civilians. Many of them listed Erdogan’s crackdown on Turkish journalists and his authoritarian tendencies, but asserted that military coups were not a valid means of change. Gamal Eid, a prominent rights lawyer who has been banned from travelling abroad, said on Facebook:
Now the coup has failed, pro-democracy activists can resume criticizing Erdogan’s animosity toward the media. I wish he would learn his lesson and stop his hatred for the Internet, which has he has used today to have his voice heard.