CAIRO (AP) — Some of Egypt's pro-army media jumped the gun in their reporting on Friday night's attempted coup in Turkey, declaring it a success and welcoming the overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
At least three newspapers ran headlines Saturday declaring that Turkey's army had overthrown Erdogan. But by the time their print editions came out, Turkey's government had largely succeeded in quashing the coup after a night of clashes that left dozens dead.
As the events unfolded, Egyptian TV personality Ahmed Moussa declared "this isn't a military coup," but "a revolution within the Turkish armed forces." Moussa was an avid supporter of Egypt's military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, an elected but divisive Islamist, in 2013. Erdogan, also an Islamist, harshly condemned Morsi's overthrow, and the two countries have had tense relations since.
Another Egyptian talk show host, Osama Kamal, appeared to mock Erdogan for appearing on a television interview over a mobile phone during the early hours of the coup attempt. Erdogan had been on a seaside vacation when tanks rolled into the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. He appeared on television over a mobile phone to urge supporters into the streets to defend the government, spurring large crowds to heed his call, before flying home early Saturday and declaring the coup to have failed.
Egypt's current president, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, led Morsi's ouster while he was defense minister, as millions took to the streets to demand Morsi's resignation, a situation vastly different from what has transpired in Turkey, where the military seems to have been divided since the very start. El-Sissi has led a broad crackdown on dissent since he took over, focused initially on Islamists but later expanding to secular opponents as well.
Egypt's government has yet to issue any statements about Turkey's coup attempt, except to warn its citizens in Turkey to stay at home and avoid the conflict, and to announce that it had set up a unit at the Foreign Ministry to provide assistance for Egyptians in Turkey and help evacuate those stranded at Istanbul's airport.
By Saturday morning, the mood had changed as pro-democracy activists in Egypt took to social media networks to post jubilant comments about the failure of the coup and publish photos of army officers and soldiers captured by civilians. Many of them listed Erdogan's crackdown on Turkish journalists and his authoritarian tendencies, but asserted that military coups were not a valid means of change.
Gamal Eid, a prominent rights lawyer who has been banned from travelling abroad, said on Facebook that since the coup has failed, pro-democracy activists could return to criticizing Erdogan and "his animosity toward the media."
"I wish he would learn his lesson and stop his hatred for the Internet, which has he has used today to have his voice heard," he said