Turkey coup on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan : PM vows those responsible will pay

July 16, 2016 7:13 am

• Armed forces who call themselves the “Peace Council” claimed they “fully seized control” of
• The Turkish chief of military staff is back in control, reports are surfacing.
• After a bizarre FaceTime interview, President has landed in Istanbul.
• Soldiers have blocked entry to Ataturk Airport and stopped all flights.
• An F-16 has shot down a military helicopter used by “coup plotters”.

A top Turkish official says the coup attempt within the country’s military appears to have been unsuccessful.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is back in the country and has been seen live on television with cheering crowds.
The
senior official told The Associated Press all government officials are
in charge of their offices, but cautioned that the chief of military
staff hasn’t appeared in public yet.

The official requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
It came after Turkish media reports cited MIT, the national intelligence agency, as saying the coup has been defeated.
The
MIT website was not immediately accessible from Turkey. MIT spokesman
Nuh Yilmaz said that Gen. Hulusi Akar, the military chief of staff, was
back in control.
Yilmaz said “Gen. Akar is back on top of his duties”. “Everything is returning to normal,” he added.
Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told NTV
television: “The military commanders have made it clear that the coup
plotters violated the chain of command… The people have shown that
they stand in solidarity with democracy and the elected government.”
A
presidential source said a plane carrying Turkish president Recep
Tayyip Erdogan had landed at Istanbul airport, Agence France-Presse
reported.
Earlier, gunfire and explosions were heard on the
streets of the Turkish capital following an attempted coup by the
country’s military.
Protesters called to the streets by Turkey’s
president were reportedly shot by the military, with CNN Turk reporting
three wounded on the Bosphorus Bridge. TV footage showed people running
for cover as shots rang out.

The
situation appears to be rapidly deteriorating. Reuters reports tanks
have opened fire near the Turkish parliament building, and Agence
France-Presse reports a Turkish F-16 has shot down a Sikorsky helicopter
carrying “coup plotters”.
Meanwhile, the state-run Anadolu
agency reports 17 police officers have been killed in a helicopter
attack on police special forces headquarters in outskirts of Ankara.
The
Turkish military said on Friday (local time) that it had assumed power
over Turkey, in what the prime minister has termed an illegal act.
“The
power in the country has been seized in its entirety,” said a military
statement read on NTV television, without giving further details. The
military’s website was not immediately accessible.

It
said the move had been made “in order to ensure and restore
constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms and let the
supremacy law in the country prevail, to restore order which was
disrupted”.
“All our international agreements and commitments
retain their validity. We hope our good relations will continue with all
countries in the world.”

The Turkish military group is calling itself the “Peace at Home Council”.
Television
pictures showed tanks deployed outside Ataturk airport in Istanbul.
Reports said that flights into the airport had been halted.
In a
bizarre Facetime interview broadcast on Turkish TV, president Recep
Tayyip Erdoğan denounced the attempt by a “minority” inside the army. “I
certainly believe that coup plotters will not succeed,” Mr Erdogan told
CNN Turk television.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks on CnnTurk via facetime. Photo / Getty Images
“I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and
airports. I never believed in a power higher than the power of the
people.”
Mr Erdogan said he was still president and Turkey’s
commander in chief, promising that plotters would pay a “very heavy
price”. A presidential source said Erdogan was in a secure location as
per government protocol.
MSNBC reported Mr Erdogan was in an
airplane that had been refused landing at Istanbul and was now trying to
seek asylum in Germany, according to US defence officials.
It is still unclear who is in control of the country.
Shortly
after Mr Erdogan’s statement, a strong explosion was heard in the
Turkish capital and there were reports of gunfire as thousands of people
poured onto the streets.
Turkish social media users reported
military helicopters had fired two missiles at the headquarters of the
Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT).

Presidential
sources earlier told Agence France-Presse: “This is an attack against
Turkish democracy. A group within the Armed Forces has made an attempt
to overthrow the democratically elected government outside the chain of
command.
“The statement made on behalf of the Armed Forces wasn’t
authorised by the military command. We urge the world to stand in
solidarity with the Turkish people.”
The state-run Anadolu news
agency reports the country’s top general has been taken hostage at the
military headquarters in the capital Ankara after an attempt to bring
down the government.
“General Hulusi Akar has been taken hostage
by a group in the military who attempted an uprising,” the agency said
citing “credible sources”.

However,
Sky News reported the state broadcaster had been stormed by the
military and staff have been asked to hand in their mobile phones.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have reportedly been restricted.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is monitoring the situation in Turkey as it develops.
“New
Zealanders in Turkey are advised to stay at in their home or
accommodation, monitor the media to stay informed of developments, let
their family in New Zealand know they’re safe and well and ensure
they’re registered on www.safetravel.govt.nz,” a ministry spokesman said
in a statement.
A message has been sent to all Kiwi SafeTravel registrants in Turkey providing this advice.
There are 202 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as currently being in Turkey.
Earlier, Turkey’s prime minister said a group within Turkey’s military had engaged in what appeared to be an attempted coup.
Binali Yildirim told NTV television: “It is correct that there was an attempt.”
Mr Yildirim didn’t provide details, but said Turkey would never allow any “initiative that would interrupt democracy”.
“Those
who are in this illegal act will pay the highest price,” he added,
saying it would not be correct to describe the move as a “coup”.
Earlier,
military jets were heard flying over the capital, Ankara, and there
were reports of vehicles blocking two major bridges in Istanbul.
Media reports said ambulances were seen in front of the Turkey’s military headquarters.
“We are focusing on the possibility of an attempt (coup),” Mr Yildirim said.
“There
was an illegal act by a group within the military that was acting out
of the chain of military command. Our people should know that we will
not allow any activity that would harm democracy.”

Tanks move into position as Turkish people attempt to stop them, in Ankara, Turkey. Photo / AP
NTV is reporting that helicopters are also flying over headquarters in Ankara.
“There
are certain groups who took the arms trusted to them by the state and
pointed them toward state employees,” Yildirim said. “We shall determine
soon who they are. Our security forces have acted against these
groups.”
The Dogan news agency says one-way traffic on the
Bosporus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges were blocked. Video footage
showed the bridge being blocked by military vehicles.
Turkish
security forces on Friday partially shut down the two bridges across the
Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul as military jets were heard flying low
over Ankara, reports and AFP correspondents said.
The Bosphorus
and Fatih bridges were closed by the gendarmerie – a branch of the
Turkish military dedicated to internal security – for traffic travelling
from Asia to Europe, NTV television said.
US Secretary of State
John Kerry said he was still catching up with fast-moving events in
Turkey, but he said that however events play out, he hoped that Turkey
would be able to resolve the crisis while preserving peace, stability
and a respect for “continuity.”
Mr Kerry said while it would be
“inappropriate” to comment on developments, he expressed hope that the
key ally and strategically important member of the coalition fighting
the Islamic State would remain at peace.
In a joint press
conference with Mr Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called
on Turkey to avoid all “bloodshed” as troops were on the streets of the
country’s major cities Friday amid reports of an attempted coup by the
military.
Mr Lavrov said that “problems in Turkey need to be resolved in accordance with the constitution”.
Turkey has a history of coups with governments ousted on three occasions in the last decades by full military coups.
However
analysts had usually assumed that the ruling Justice and Development
Party (AKP) of President Erdogan had good relations with the military.
United
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement he was
following the fast-moving developments in Turkey closely and with
concern.
He appealed for calm, non-violence and restraint.
“Preservation of fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and assembly, remain of vital importance.”
He said military interference in the affairs of any state was unacceptable.
“It
will be crucial to quickly and peacefully affirm civilian rule and
constitutional order in accordance with principles of democracy.”

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