On July 15, 2016, there was a failed coup attempt where more than 260 civilians and soldiers were killed. The president called on people to go out to the streets and stand against the coup. Mosques repeated this call with frequent announcements and calls to prayer. People followed. Thousands went out to the streets with the authority of the government to stop the coup and protect the nation against the putschists who have become its abject. In the aftermath of the failed coup attempt, streets and squares, formerly banned for dissident protestors, were filled with people celebrating the “glorious defense of democracy,” waving Turkish flags, chanting slogans against the coup, and shouting, “Allahu Ekber.” The call to be on the streets during and after the coup attempt ostensibly was for unity.

Many claimed that the people who went...

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