After following the events for a few days, I have a theory that the answer might be both Yes and No. No, Erdogan did not stage it all, but yes he triggered it when he didn't have to.
The scenario is that a coup by opponents of Erdogan was in some stage of development and subsequently infiltrated by or betrayed to Erdogan loyalists.
Rather than going through the lengthy and painful process of accusing people who hadn't done anything of treason (and making himself look paranoid), Erdogan had his agents inside the coup relay the command to start the coup, but only to some elements.
This would explain the following strange aspects of the attempted coup
- The small number of participants (only as many as Erdogan thought he could handle)
- Their lack of coordination (since the communications were compromised)
- The lack of a leader or face for supporters to rally behind
- The only successful part was announcing the coup on TV (exactly the part that would rile up Erdogan's supporters the most)
- The fact that none of Erdogan's vital allies seems to have been in any risk when they should have been the primary targets.
- The fact that Erdogan was able to fly to Istanbul and deliver his speech within hours of the start without any fear of bombings or an ambush by opponents.
- The bizarre timing of the coup (which should be done when as many government officials as possible are gathered in one place, not when they all are at their homes)
- The level of preparedness and coordination in the response to the coup (can be attributed to the longrunning campaign to purge Turkey of Erdogan's opponents).
- The beneficial timing of this event for Erdogan (a weak link at best)
There are too many of these aberrations to believe that someone with a real plan to take over the country would trigger the coup with so low a chance of success.
On the other hand, it seems unlikely that so many soldiers (without known links to Erdogan's allies) could be convinced to sacrifice their lives in a fake coup.