Erdogan Praised Across Region As Turkey Coup Falters

"Assad has used tanks against his people, Erdogan used his people against the tanks"

In Gaza, Palestinians attended a Hamas rally to support Erdogan. — REUTERS
Jul 16, 2016 at 8:23 AM ET

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is cracking down on rebels who attempted an overnight coup, arresting dozens and sending others fleeing by helicopter into exile in nearby Greece.

The strongman’s refusal to yield in the face of the opposition taking over key institutions including the state media building and parliament has earned him the rapid admiration of Sunni Arabs across the Middle East.

In the several hours since Erdogan began reasserting his control, Vocativ found 100,000 users tweeting under the Arabic hashtag #SayAWordToErdogan (), trending across the Middle East. The biggest show of support appeared to come from Syrian rebels, who have long been supported by the Turkish leader in their fight to oust their leader, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Users in predominantly Sunni Arab countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries also tweeted their support, in their thousands. In the war in Syria, those countries have largely supported Sunni militia groups fighting Assad, who belongs to a particular strand of Shia Islam, and has counted on the assistance of Shiite regimes in Iraq and Iran to survive for as long as he has.

“Bashar al-Assad used the tanks against his people, while Erdogan used his people against the tanks”, tweeted an account affiliated with the Syrian rebels, referring to Erdogan’s call early Saturday morning to the public to demonstrate against the coup. A user from Dubai wrote “God bless you, all Arabs are so proud of you. You are an example of good governance.” One from Kuwait tweeted: “I am proud of you Erdogan, be as you are, a Muslim strong and resolute.” “God will save you, you are a hero and your people are great. The love of your people saved you from the traitors,” wrote another. Many shared images of Erdogan holding the Islamic holy book, the Quran, saying, “God is protecting whoever is protecting the Quran, the Sunnah and its Prophet.”

Erdogan and his government also received support from the Twitter account of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, considered the most influential living Islamic scholar and a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a series of tweets, Qaradawi said “we are with the right and liberty and the democratic regime, against the coup because we are against tyranny, backwardness, corruption and military regime. Greetings to the Turkish people, its government and President. The will of the Turkish people has won today.”

Translation: A hero who loves his people, and they love him.


The dog Bashar al-Assad confronted his people with tanks, and Erdogan confronted the tanks with his people. The history will acknowledge a hero like Erdogan


It’s a marked difference to the earlier reports of the coup having some success in Turkey. Anti-Erdogan users affiliated with Shiite militias including Hezbollah gloated at his purported demise, saying “Assad has won, the beast Erdogan has been defeated.”

“I am a Muslim and sure that Allah will take revenge against Erdogan, sooner or later,” wrote one user. Another one shared the image of Alan Kurdi, the toddler who drowned in the Mediterranean, saying “this boy and thousands of others come under your responsibility on the day of judgement. God will never forgive people who are unjust like that.”