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We Spoke to Turkish Residents in London About Friday's Coup Attempt

What it felt like to go to sleep on Friday without knowing who'd be in charge of your home country when you woke up.

(Photo by Alan Stanton via)

This article originally appeared on VICE UK

Bad news if you aren't a fan of Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Friday night, an attempted coup took place in Ankara after a military faction tried to overthrow him. Things looked shaky by about midnight on Saturday.

It's not hard to see why Erdogan can be so unpopular with some. In Turkey, he's considered an opposing force to the PKK's independence movement for the Kurdish population. He also isn't exactly known for his track record on women's reproductive rights.


Since Friday night, though, Erdogan's managed to seize back power after troops surrendered. In the aftermath of the coup attempt at least 181 people have now been reportedly killed, 1,100 injured and 2,800 people have now been arrested and could face the death penalty. With the country plunged into uncertainty, I went around London to ask some Turkish residents in the UK how they feel about all the events that have unfolded.

Name: Berrak
Age: 35
Location: Harringey, north London

I was shocked when I saw the coup in TV. It's almost like a play. So many people died, it just wasn't worth it. It's sad. I'd be scared to go to Turkey. I was supposed to go on holiday this summer for two weeks but I changed my mind last night. Just because it's stopped today, doesn't mean it's not going to tomorrow or next month. It's a shame for the tourist industry.

We need a stronger president. I don't like him. He's making the country fight, but he won't send his own sons to the army. He wants the army and Kurdish people to fight against each other and when the military comes down and takes over the country, now he's telling the police to kill them which doesn't make sense.

Erdogan told everyone to come out and fight the army. Why didn't he come out himself? If you want your country to come out for you, why don't you come yourself? You're putting loads of people at risk but you wouldn't put your own kids at risk. It makes me so angry.


Name: Sadiq
Age: 42
Location: Camden, northwest London

The military are idiots, they're complete idiots, for trying the coup. They must be hanged immediately, all of them, without any delay. It's against our nation, against our Prime Minister. This is against the Turkish nation, against the whole country. The result for the military is going to be terrible. I'm more than happy they lost. It cost a lot of lives. As it didn't succeed, they've paid the penalty by death. I don't want this to happen again.

Name: Ceng
Age: 23
Location: Harringey, north London

The whole coup is a game. He just wants to get control of the military, that's just what he wants, isn't it? When I first saw it on the news, I was actually happy. I thought the government was going down. Then I found out it was a game because you can't do it with 200 soldiers, can you? You need like thousands of soldiers.

I hate Erdogan. Everyone hates him, especially in Harringey. Two years ago, he said that people that protested against him were terrorists. But do you know what he did yesterday? He told people to come out! Like, come on. I'd love a new president, but not from the AKP, that's for sure. I'm not scared to return to Turkey. I'm going again in August. But if it happened again, I wouldn't come out of the house. I heard that yesterday in a mosque they were telling people to get out on the streets for jihad – are you joking? In Turkey? I think it's America that's keeping Erdogan [in power]. It's all America, 100 percent.


Name: Assam
Age: 35
Location: Camden, northwest London

I'm more worried about my brother, who's in Turkey now. He's the owner of this shop! My mum's unwell so I'm scared about how he's going to get back, really.

Last night was like a Hollywood film. I think the government was panicking. This isn't the first time it's happened. I think Erdogan should resign. He's rubbish. He's not a president. We need a new one. If you don't listen to him, if you don't follow his ideology, he'll just sack you.

I miss Turkey but I don't like the government. Look at Cameron, he made one political mistake [Brexit] and his political career is finished. Erdogan has made many mistakes but he's not gone. [The military coup] is against Islam … it's Muslims fighting Muslims, Muslims killing Muslims. It's quite scary really.

Name: Ali
Age: 35
Location: Harringey, north London

I feel really embarrassed about last night's events, really sad. So many people died, civilians and soldiers. Erdogan just wants more power. He's power-hungry. I think the whole thing is undemocratic. I'm so sorry for those that died. It's ironic that they stopped for breaks in between to pray.

I did expect the coup to fail. You can't do a coup in the night time. If you were going to do a proper coup, you do it at like 5AM, not in the evening. It's ridiculous. I'm scared about the future of our country. When I see things like this happening, it's heartbreaking. I'm an asylum seeker but I feel safer here in Britain. At least I can sleep well at night.


More about the coup attempt from VICE News:

A Timeline to Help You Understand What Happened Last Night in Turkey