What happened in Turkey on the night of July 15, 2016 was horrific. Our calm cities, particularly Istanbul and Ankara, witnessed grand chaos as Gülenist terrorists in Turkey's military attempted to completely take control of the country's administration. People were spending an ordinary Friday night at cafes, mosques, cinemas or at home when they heard of the coup attempt and poured out into the streets.
The failed coup attempt, which could not succeed thanks to the huge effort the people exerted, with more than 200 of them sacrificing their lives in order to stop terrorists, needs to be carefully examined. All of the terrorists involved in this heinous attack have to be found immediately and face trial for their crimes. The government and state owe the people justice.
During the night until the morning, however, while people were clashing on the streets with the coup plotter terrorists and delivering them to the police, what some international media accounts on Twitter and Facebook did were quite bizarre and suspicious. We still see several reports and analyses outside of Turkey that reveal that the failure of the coup attempt has disappointed many figures and institutions that define themselves as defenders of democracy, human rights, peace and justice.
On that horrible night, they all circulated several videos on social media showing some crowds shouting: "Ya Allah, bismillah, Allahu akbar." Showing these chants as evidence, selectively omitting the moments where the people sang the national anthem of Turkey, or shouted slogans like: "Go back to your barracks," "Whose soldiers are you" or "No to the coup," some figures claimed without shame that Islamists, or worse, DAESH-linked radicals, were fighting the secular soldiers, and tried to justify the terrorists' coup attempt.
However, it is enough to have a basic knowledge about Islam and Muslims to understand chants like "Allahu akbar." Turkish people mostly do not know Arabic, but words and phrases like "bismillah," "alhamdulillah," "inshaallah" and "Allahu akbar" are common in the Turkish language. Even atheists use words like "inshaallah,"and "mashaallah" to show their good wishes.
"Allahu akbar" is not a phrase that is only used in wars or military operations. We do not care if al-Qaida or DAESH use it while they perpetrate terrorist attacks. They say that they are Muslim, but should we abandon Islam just because they claim they are Muslim? They speak English or Arabic, would you stop speaking your language in order not to share the same language with them? They have to eat, drink and sleep like everybody else; would you stop doing these things to not resemble them? So why should we stop using our words from daily life just because they try to put a slur on them?
Muslims believe in predestination. They have a deep faith in that God wills everything, and nothing exists or occurs without God's will. It is basically the same in the rest of the religions in the world. Muslims frequently say "inshaallah," which means, "if God wills," when they are asked or ordered to do something. It means: "I will try my best. If God wills it, I can make it". We use the word "bismillah," which means, "in the name of God," when we start doing something. We like starting to eat, drink, work or drive by whispering this word at the beginning and believe that if we say his name, God will protect us from bad things like sickness or accidents. Muslims say "alhamdulillah," which means, "all praise and thanks be to God," when we hear something good or we finish something like food, work or an exam with no trouble.
We say the phrase "Allahu akbar" when something good or something bad, simply anything, happens. The phrase is the takbir, and in Arabic means "God, or "al ilah," which means "the God" in Arabic, is greater." "Allahu akbar" shows its sayer's belief in faith and predestination.
As I said above, it is easy to see how and why Muslims use these phrases on many occasions, not only in wars, but also exams, while traveling, starting something or when good or bad things happen like our team wins a match or a natural disaster happen. They are like a simple yes or no to us. So what if al-Qaida-linked groups say these phrases like they say yes and no. We cannot abandon them.
Not only bearded men or women wearing headscarves were on the streets during the coup attempt - everybody was out there that night. I am a secular-looking woman and I am Muslim. I was there in the streets like hundreds of thousands like me. I chanted: "Ya Allah, bismillah, Allahu akbar." I was defending my homeland while asking God to help me and to help us. So am I threat to you now? Do I deserve to live in a coup regime just because you feel threatened from our prayers? Will you bomb us just because we say "Allahu akbar," a sentence nothing more than "God is great." Really people, enough is enough. What happened to your love for the freedom of speech?