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« on: August 22, 2018, 02:16:07 AM »

ISTANBUL, July 21 (Xinhua) -- A military coup attempt was thwarted within hours last week in Turkey, but it may take years for the repercussions to dissipate in a country facing many headaches.

For men in the street, the overthrow bid offered them a chance to show solidarity with the government and love for the country and shook their vision about the future.

"When I learned this was a coup attempt, I didn't hesitate an instant and took to the streets to protect the democracy," said Hasan Kul, a 40 year-old plumber in Istanbul.

Usually on Friday evenings most Istanbulites dine out with friends and relatives at restaurants, coffee shops or pubs to relax and blow off summer heat.

Last Friday night, however, a coup d'etat was staged by a faction in the military, taking everyone by surprise and sweeping soon the metropolis and Ankara, the national capital.

"I had to go out for the good of my lovely country," said Yilmaz Senturk, a taxi driver, who took his eight-year-old son with him to the Bosphorus Bridge linking Istanbul's Asian and European parts.

At the start of the coup, the gendarmerie closed the two bridges over the Bosphorus, leading to clashes with police and later the citizens.

"My son has to learn the meaning of patriotism," said Senturk. "When I was on that tank asking the soldier to surrender, he was watching me from the car."

Thousands more joined Senturk on the bridge, prompting soldiers to open fire and inflict casualties.

Many others also braved the mutineers' tanks to block their advance, or poured into the streets to "protect democracy" as was called for by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

With their country now slowly recovering, many Turks are not sure about the future.

Kul, the plumber, sees an economic crisis as "one of the biggest problems" to emerge, as Standard & Poor's has downgraded its credit rating for Turkey further into "junk" status.

"During the last three days no one knocked on the door," he said. "I have no special expectation for myself in the future."

"Very dark days are waiting for us," bemoaned Guclu Akay, a 50-year-old broker. He spoke of the possibility of an Islamic state to be established in Turkey.

"One word that can describe the future of Turkey is darkness," echoed Ahmet Ravali, a retired journalist. "The same can happen here as it happened in Iran after the 1979 coup attempt."

Yagmur Iscan, a student aged 24, fears as well the establishment of an Islamic state plus the possibility of a bloody civil war engulfing the country.

A decade ago, Turkey was hailed as "a success story" due to its booming economy, proactive foreign policy and progress toward EU membership, noted Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish parliament.

"Today the country is making headlines for different reasons: Frequent terror attacks, rising polarization, deepening diplomatic isolation and a flagging economy," he wrote for the Hurriyet daily news. "Ankara urgently needs to reverse course."

"We do not have any alternative other than to heal the wounds all together," said Nazan Gurel, a 65-year-old housewife. Enditem

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