A military coup erupted in Turkey early on Saturday, with tanks and soldiers in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara. A section of the Turkish has claimed that it has taken over the country and taken control of strategic points in Capital Istanbul and jets flying low in the capital, Ankara. State news agency reported that 17 police officers lost their life in the Turkey Coup attempt.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who returned from a foreign trip appeared on TV immediately, surrounded by crowds of supporters at Istanbul airport.
“This is an action of treason. They (Army) cannot put up their chief and remove an elected government,” said Turkish President
Soldiers blocked entry to Ataturk Airport where four tanks were stationed, according to 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 from crossing both the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges in Istanbul. Gunfire was also heard outside Istanbul police HQ and tanks are said to be stationed outside Istanbul airport.
“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,” Turkish President told media.
There are reports of gunshots and at least one loud explosion in the capital Ankara. Other reports also said that soldiers were inside buildings of the Turkish state broadcaster in Ankara.
It is unclear who the plotting army group is or its level of support. Some top army officials are said to be detained.
The military group’s statement on national broadcaster TRT, read by an announcer, said that democratic and secular rule of law had been eroded by the current government. There would be new constitution, it said.
A Turkish presidential source told Reuter’s news agency that the statement was not authorised by the army’s command.
Saying that the situation is under control and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim declared a no-fly zone over Ankara after the country’s Parliament in was hit by bombing.
Reports also suggest that General Hulusi Akar, one of the top generals of Turkey has been taken as hostage at the military HQ.
Ministry of External Affairs has advised Indian nationals to avoid public places and asked them to stay at homes.
“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, the 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.
However analysts had usually assumed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had good relations with the military.