Eight months after Turkey's government weathered a potentially destabilizing coup, allegations continue to swirl concerning who was actually behind the surprising increase in violence. In an unsubstantiated leak to Aldrimer.no, "Senior NATO sources" currently believe the coup was staged by Recep (President) Tayyip Erdogan himself.
The sources stress that, while there is no written documentation to support this claim -- because it's "simply too sensitive" -- the senior NATO generals have come to the consensus that there was no coup, only a manufactured military incident by Turkey's president.
"If the Turkish Armed Forces wanted to carry out a coup, they would have succeeded," one of the NATO sources allegedly told Aldrimer.no reporter Kjetil Stormark. "That's a tradition in Turkey."
"They had a list of 1600 names the very next day of people they wanted gone," the source added.
The coup in question took place July 15, 2016. Turkey experienced an extremely intense, brief period of unrest which saw tanks deployed to the streets of the capital, Ankara, and Turkey's largest city, Istanbul. Two bridges crossing the Bosporus Strait were closed, and fighter planes took off and attacked the presidential palace and parliament in Ankara.
The coup began while President Erdogan was on vacation, but he quickly traveled back to Istanbul. In the coup's wake, he enacted several security measures, gave himself further powers of leadership, and expunged the government's ranks of the supposedly disloyal.
The official explanation from the Turkish government is that the coup was staged by supporters of cleric Fetthulah Gulen, currently in exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. Gulen's organization runs hundreds of schools around the world and in Turkey.
Gulen denies any involvement with the coup.
"I don't believe that the world believes the accusations made by President Erdogan. There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup and it could be meant for further accusations [against the Gulenists]," said Gulen in a statement to the Guardian.
Gulen's popular movement, Hizmet, split from President Erdogan's party in 2013 over a corruption scandal.
Erdogan has demanded the U.S. extradite Mr. Gulen, a legal U.S. resident since 1999, for his role in the failed coup. But the U.S. said it would only consider if Turkey could prove any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Gulen. So far, no evidence has been offered.