Night had fallen and the weekend had begun, but the head of Turkey’s spy agency remained at work in the main security compound in Ankara, struggling to track reports of strange military activities across the country.
Suddenly, a roar of gunfire erupted as a fleet of choppers blasted the gates of the compound. As guards fired in the air, a helicopter tried to land beside the agency while others dropped ropes to send down commandos, according to a security official who was inside at the time, and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
More than a sudden attack on the government, the attempted coup this month has emerged as a turning point in a yearslong struggle for control of the Turkish state. The battle lines were clear: allies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against a collection of adversaries, including members of the military and followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who leads a secretive religious movement from his self-exile in Pennsylvania.
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