Editor’s Note: Editor’s note: Some of the people interviewed by CNN did not want to appear on camera.
A week on from the dramatic and bloody events of last Friday, when a faction of the military launched a failed coup in Turkey, the country is in a state of emergency.
More than 50,000 people have been fired or suspended, including police, generals and admirals, teachers, judges and civil servants, while more than 9,000 remain in detention.
How do people feel about their country’s future? We talked to mothers, fathers, workers and business owners in Istanbul. Here’s what they had to say.
Yilmaz, a 51-year-old taxi driver and father
“State of emergency means military rule and so does the coup, so what is the difference? I don’t know who was behind the coup. You want to believe it was Fethullah [Gulen] because there were so many dead and injured. But then you see tens of thousands of government personnel had their jobs taken away.”
Ridvan, a 26-year-old cook
“Those who did this to us are in the wrong. But Turkey will deliver unto them justice, God willing. The state of emergency doesn’t make me concerned. This is a coup that was against Turkey in its entirety. We will make them all pay for their actions. This coup won’t affect my daily life.”
Ali, a 70-year-old teacher
“I’m worried because the people’s freedoms will be limited. I’m sad because it is a restriction on society. But I don’t think the government will abuse this power. I don’t know yet who is behind it. I want to see the evidence. Of course this has impacted me psychologically. This isn’t a normal way to live but it’s not that big of a deal, yet. I think the President was smart in managing this situation. He put himself out there despite the danger against him. But he was successful. I’m worried about the future of this country. I want whoever is behind this coup to pay a price, even if it means death.”
Erdem, a 38-year-old private sector worker
“I think foreign powers were responsible for the coup. Through Fethullah Gulen, they tried to invade the country but they failed. Turkey has a bright future. In all insincerity, Turkey has entered a new age. Turkey doesn’t care about NATO or the EU. We, by ourselves, are a big force.”
Tolga, a 37-year-old professional entertainer
“I feel horrible. This is a game played by those who are in power. I offer my condolences to my country. We were already in a horrible situation and now it’s even worse … This is my 20th year as an entertainer. When I started, we went out on the street happy, but now there are constant searches and harassment. We like to make people smile in this horrible situation, but the government is preventing us. If only everyone gave each other flowers instead of hatred.”
Damla, a 22-year-old mother
“I think the President has managed the situation very well. Had he not come back to Istanbul, perhaps, most of us would be dead right now. I can’t see a situation in which the state of emergency would limit people’s freedoms. It’s only three months anyways. I don’t think he’ll abuse his power. What changed in my life is that before we could go out onto the streets without being scared. Now we are afraid on the streets. We used to be able to have our kids play outside our apartments on the streets but now we are afraid for them. I would move away if I had the means, but I don’t.”
Nuran, a bookstore owner in her 70s
“They declared a state of emergency and they want to pass a lot of laws. It’ll be hard to repeal these laws once they are passed. There is no judicial recourse. Because of this we are pessimistic. We are worried about our business because we are selling gifts and books, not necessitates … We don’t trust him [Erdogan]. We are guessing he might abuse this power. There were thousands of names on lists, so we believe this was pre-prepared.”
Tolga, a 37-year-old product manager
“My feelings are complicated after the coup. In some ways I don’t support Erdogan or the AK Party, the conservative party. So in the first hours I saw it like ‘oh are they going away? Did we get rid of those guys?’ But later on, as I saw the military attacking the civilians, I thought this isn’t what I want to happen because people are dying … we are obliged to live in Turkey at the moment – but if I had an opportunity to leave and live in another part of the world that would make me feel more important as a person, I would leave.”
Betul, a 42-year-old manager and mother
“I have completely lost trust [in the Government] and we are scared. Very insecure, very confused because we don’t know what caused it, if it was by Erdogan or the guy they claimed. We are part confused and scared … I got an SMS from Erdogan this morning saying ‘please go to the streets,’ which made me feel more scared. I don’t think this is the behavior of a president to tell people to go to the streets. It’s not right, basically. I don’t trust Erdogan. I think his agenda is completely personal and it has nothing to do with the country. It’s about his own gains. He is obsessed with being the president of the country. He is doing all of this to accomplish that obsession.”
Serap, a 44-year-old housewife
“I feel horrible about what happened in the country. We want the death penalty for the coup plotters. We want Fethullah Gulen to be handed to Turkey. We think Erdogan handled the coup attempt beautifully. We are very happy about our President, Prime Minister, and Government … Because Gulen is living in exile in the U.S., that’s why we think it is Gulen. Whenever the U.S. hands Gulen to Turkey, that’s when we’ll know the Americans are our friends.”
Taner, a 46-year-old construction worker
“Thank God, we overcame this large threat. Still, we should leave the streets or the squares empty so it’s more secure. That’s why, until this is over, we will continue our fight. We think the U.S. and Fethullah Gulen are behind this coup attempt. That is my opinion. We want to bring Gulen here. If he is not guilty of plotting this coup then he’ll be investigated and released.”
Nurgul, a 27-year-old waitress
“We aren’t exactly pleased with the way the President handled the situation. The state of emergency decision is not right. Instead of re-establishing democracy, they declared a state of emergency. This is not a solution. Yes there was a coup attempt and people are worried and the state of emergency could be to calm the situation or for Erdogan to control the power. This isn’t a good thing at all. I’m Kurdish, I know what it means to live under a state of emergency. So I was worried leaving my house this morning. Yes, we are worried about our future because we are at a point in time where we can’t imagine what will happen next in Turkey.”
Nurdan, a 35-year-old mother and housewife
“The state should tell us whatever is necessary from us, as citizens. For the past year, Turkey has been in an insecure position. Bomb after bomb, the people were fed up and came out to claim their President and country. The coup plotters think the people are against the state and that is not true. What happened was the people standing united against the government. The President was successful in managing the situation. This is the way it was suppose to be and that is why we stand behind him.”