Turkey united in condemnation of military coup in Armenia

Turkey unequivocally rejects any coup attempt in Armenia, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt told reporters on Thursday.

“We are absolutely against any and all coup attempts anywhere in the world,” state-run TRT World cited Çavuşoğlu as saying. “We strongly condemn this coup attempt in Armenia as well.”

While the people can call on government officials to resign, “a country’s military even calling for such a resignation is unacceptable, let alone enacting a coup,” he added.

Ömer Çelik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), reiterated Turkey’s opposition to a military takeover in the neighbouring country. Çelik said:

“As always, we are against all coup attempts. “The coup attempt in Armenia will bring about outcomes that provoke instability in the region.”

Garo Paylan, an Armenian-Turkish lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), condemned the coup attempt. “I call on the people of Armenia to defend democracy,” he said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) group deputy chairman Özgür Özel also expressed concern for developments and condemned the putschists:

“We condemn the coup attempt against an elected government. We always stand on the side of democracy, in our country and anywhere else in the world.”

But pro-government journalist Hilal Kaplan criticised Özel’s stance. The CHP was only “able to condemn without preconditions, without calling it a controlled coup or theatre play, when it’s in Armenia,” Kaplan said. The CHP has repeatedly questioned the government’s account of the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, journalist and former CHP lawmaker Melda Onur pointed to the early reaction of pro-government and official state media, which reported on events in Armenia in careful terms.

Onur shared screenshots from A Haber news outlet and Sabah newspaper saying the Armenian army “asked for (Armenian) Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign”.

“When it comes to Armenia, I am watching in awe that sycophants can’t call what happened a coup attempt. I wonder what (Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun) will say,” Onur wrote

“We view the unfolding situation as a coup attempt and unequivocally condemn it,” Altun said in a later tweet. “Turkey always sides with democracy and the free will of citizens – wherever in the world they may come under attack.”

Pashinyan has faced public protests since the failure of Armenian forces in the face of an Azeri military offensive in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in September. Fighting ended following a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement in November, with Armenians ceding control of the enclave to Azerbaijan.

But the Armenian premier called his followers to the streets of capital Yerevan to defend his government against an attempted coup on Thursday after the army reputedly called for his resignation. 

Turkey has historically viewed Armenia as a regional rival and provided Azerbaijan with crucial military support in the recent clashes. But the topic of coups is a hotly contested political taboo in the country due to the Turkish militaries repeated domestic interventions, starting in the 1960s.