Coup attempt thwarted in Turkey; 161 killed in clashes

RSTV Bureau
People come on streets in Ankara was hit by bombing on Saturday. Courtesy: Airnewsalerts/Twitter

People come on streets in Ankara was hit by bombing on Saturday.
Courtesy: Airnewsalerts/Twitter

A faction of the Turkish army attempted a military coup in Turkey but the attempt was thwarted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. So far, about 161 people have died and more than 1100 people are said to be injured in the clashes that erupted in Ankara and Istanbul.

The faction of the military that attempted the coup, said that Turkey’s top general was taken in as a hostage at the military headquarters.

However, immediately after the coup bid, Turkey appointed a new acting army chief of staff.

Authorities said most of those killed were civilians who had come out in support of Erdogan. Officials also said more than 336 people have been detained, most of which are soldiers.

Tanks and soldiers had flooded the streets of capital Ankara early on Saturday as a section of the Turkish army claimed that it had taken control over the strategic points in capital.

A group of Army in Turkey has claimed that it has taken over the country. Courtesy: Airnewsalerts/Twitter

A group of Army in Turkey has claimed that it has taken over the country.
Courtesy: Airnewsalerts/Twitter

Erdogan who returned from a foreign trip was surrounded by crowds of supporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. He addressed the crowd and the message was immediately aired on television.

“This is an action of treason. They (Army) cannot put up their chief and remove an elected government,” said Turkish the President.

“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,” Erdogan told the media.

Earlier, reports said jets bombed parts of the Presidential palace in Ankara. Plumes of black smoke were seen rising over the Bestepe district where the palace is located, NTV television reported.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had declared a no-fly zone over Ankara after the Turkish Parliament in was hit by bombing.

Turkish Parliament in Ankara was hit by bombing on Saturday. Courtesy: Airnewsalerts/Twitter

Turkish Parliament in Ankara was hit by bombing on Saturday.
Courtesy: Airnewsalerts/Twitter

Gun fire shots and explosions were also reported in Ankara. Some reports also said soldiers had entered the building of Turkish state broadcaster in the capital.

In Istanbul, soldiers had blocked entry into the Ataturk Airport where four tanks were stationed, reported the private Dogan news agency.

Two other tanks and a military vehicle were stationed in front of the VIP terminal. The report said the soldiers had entered the tower and stopped all flights.

Traffic has been stopped at both the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges in Istanbul. Gunfire was also heard outside Istanbul police headquarters.

The military faction’s statement read by an announcer on national broadcaster TRT, said that democratic and secular rule of law had been eroded by the government and that the coup was needed to build a new constitution.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs has advised Indian nationals to avoid public places and asked them to stay at homes.

Erdogan addresses crowds at the Istanbul airport. Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @AJEnglish

Erdogan addresses crowds at the Istanbul airport. Photo courtesy: Twitter/ @AJEnglish

“Our Embassy in Ankara advises Indian nationals in Turkey to avoid public places and remain indoors until the situation there becomes clearer,” said MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

In a statement released from Washington, US President Barack Obama urged all parties in Turkey to support the “democratically elected government”. NATO too called for “full respect” for Turkey’s democratic institutions.

(With inputs from agencies)