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Saturday Jul 16, 2016
Web Desk

Coup attempt in Turkey crushed by people power

Web Desk
Coup attempt in Turkey crushed by people power

ANKARA: Over 250 people lost their lives including 161 civilians including policemen and 104 rebel troops, over nearly 1500 people were injured when a section of the Turkish military launched a coups d'état against the elected government.

By Saturday afternoon forces loyal to the elected government had regained full control and were crushing last remnants of the coup plotters. Thousands involved in the coup bid have been arrested and according to Erdogan will pay a 'heavy price'. 

The sonic boom of fighter jets, gunfire and explosions resonated over Ankara on Friday night, as Tanks rolled down the streets the military claimed having taken control of Turkey. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that a group within Turkey's military was attempting to overthrow the government.

"Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command," Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV and reported by Reuters

Erdogan tells Turkey to come out on the streets

Speaking to CNN Turk, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on people to come out on the streets to protect democracy. He said the attempt to overthrow the government will be thwarted.

"I certainly believe that coup plotters will not succeed," Erdogan told CNN Turk television, speaking on FaceTime via mobile phone in his first reaction to the move by the Turkish armed forces."

"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." 

Speaking to the media Erdogan said that the revolt will be thwarted, nothing is more powerful than the people. He told journalists that he has told the people to come to the squares, to come out on the streets. 

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.

Following the announcements by the Turkish president, crowds took to the street with a large number of people gathering on Taskim square.

Crowds thwart coup attempt

Videos posted on social media show huge crowds out in force against the military coup attempt, while tanks run over crushing vehicles parked on the streets.




Erdogan among crowds in Istanbul after failed coup attempt

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan emerged to crowds of supporters at Istanbul´s main Ataturk airport early on Saturday after what officials said had been a coup attempt by a faction within the armed forces, footage on broadcaster NTV showed.

Turkey´s Fox TV meanwhile broadcast a recording of Erdogan speaking earlier in the night, saying an uprising had been
attempted against the solidarity and unity of the country but that no power was above the national will, Reuters reported.

Earlier, state run news agency Anadolu reported that Turkey's chief of military staff was among people taken hostage at the military headquarters in Ankara. Meanwhile, CNN Turk had reported Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was safe.

Turkey's armed forces said on Friday they had taken power in the country to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights. 


Gunship helicopter turns its barrels towards civilians

Video captured a gunship helicopter firing on ground targets where unarmed innocent civilians were also present. The video shows the crowd scattering as the chopper pumps round after round. Reports also claim that gunship helicopters attacked the police headquarters. 

According to Geo News, one of the helicopters being used by the coup plotters was shot down by forces loyal to the Turkish government. 


Media Blackout

The coup plotters initially had taken over the state television and had forcefully broadcast their message following which the state media was blacked out. Meanwhile private media continued to report on the developments freely, as reported by Geo News. 

Hours later however, news broke that coup plotters had barged into CNN Turk offices and studios and had forced the network to stop its coverage.

New Army Chief appointed

General Umit Dundar, commander of the First Army, has been appointed as acting chairman of chief of staff, Binali Yildirim said. 

The head of Turkey's armed forces has been rescued after being held hostage during an attempted coup by a military faction which used tanks and attack helicopters to try to seize power overnight, a senior Turkish official said.

Hulusi Akar had been held by rebel soldiers during the attempted coup, Turkish broadcasters said.

Prime Minister calls coup attempt 'black stain'

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday 161 people were killed in the coup attempt against the government, with 2,839 soldiers now detained on suspicion of involvement.

Yildirim, speaking outside his Cankaya palace in Ankara and flanked by top general Hulusi Akar who was held during the coup attempt, also described the putsch bid as a "black stain" on Turkish democracy. He added that 1,440 people had been wounded.

The toll 161 did not include the assailants, he emphasised. Turkey´s acting army chief Umit Dundar had earlier said 104 putschists had been killed.

Yildirim blamed the coup attempt on the supporters of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara has for years accused of working to overthrow the authorities and wants to see brought to justice.

The United States has shown little interest so far to Turkey´s requests for his extradition.

"Fethullah Gulen is the leader of a terrorist organisation," the premier said.

"Whichever country is behind him is not a friend of Turkey and in a serious war against Turkey," he added.

Erdogan enemy Gulen denies being behind Turkey coup attempt

NEW YORK: Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric and former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, denied being behind the attempted coup in Turkey and condemned it "in the strongest terms".

"As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations," Gulen said in a brief statement just before midnight Friday.

"I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey," read the two-paragraph statement. "Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force. I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens, and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly."

Erdogan has accused the reclusive Islamic preacher, who lives in a tiny town in the Pocono Mountains of the US state of Pennsylvania, of being behind the coup.

Gulen, 75, was once a close ally of Erdogan but the two fell out in recent years as

Erdogan became suspicious of Gulen's movement, Hizmet, and its powerful presence in Turkish society, including the media, police and judiciary.

The preacher moved to the United States in 1999, before he was charged with treason in his native country.


US stands with Turkey's democratically elected civilian government

The US Department of State issued a statement by the Secretary of State John Kerry, in which he assured the United States full support to the democratically elected, civilian government and democratic institutions. 

Statement by US Secretary of State
Statement by US Secretary of State

Repeat of history?

While the attempt by the military to overthrow the Turkish government failed, this was not the first time Turkey has witnessed military intervention. The first coup was attempted by junior officers in May 1960. 

Ankara Radio made the first announcement that night of a coup under ex-Col. Talat Aydemir at 1.40 am. However in the end forces loyal to the government claimed they had thwarted the attempted coup by dissident Army units.

The Chief of the Turkish military announced on the radio said: “A handful of adventurers cannot seize power in Turkey. They will be punished. Land, air, naval and gendarme forces are under the orders of the Government, there is no ground for worry.”

eleven years later in March 1971 the military staged another coup, known as the coup by memorandum the military did not roll down the streets of Ankara as they have tonight; instead they handed a memorandum to the head of government and gave a deadline to comply, after which the military would assume control.

The third military intervention in September 1980 ended with 650,000 arrests, 53 death sentences and over 1,500,000 people were blacklisted.  

Note: This is a developing story and is being updated as reports flow in.