Coup attempt in Turkey, 60 killed


A coup attempt by an army faction in Turkey has been put down, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, after thousands of people heeded a call from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and took to the streets.

At least 60 have been killed and 336 people arrested across Turkey, a government official said.

Yildirim also told broadcaster NTV that a no-fly zone had been declared over the capital, Ankara, blaming followers of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
“The coup attempt is foiled,” Turkey`s national intelligence agency had earlier said in a statement.
Sections of the Turkish army had earlier officially declared a coup and martial law, saying they had “taken control of the country” as Istanbul`s main airport was closed and fighter jets were seen in the skies.
Erdogan in a phone call to broadcaster CNN Turk on Friday said he remained the president of the country and the head of the army and called for people to take to the streets against the coup.
“We will overcome this,” Erdogan said, speaking on a video call to a mobile phone held up to the camera by a presenter. He called on his followers to take to the streets to defend his government and said the coup plotters would pay a heavy price.
An official said Erdogan was speaking from Marmaris on the Turkish coast where he was on holiday. Erdogan said he would swiftly return to Ankara.
In the capital Ankara, gunshots and loud explosions were heard, as military jets and helicopters were seen flying overhead, a Reuters news agency witness said. The  state-run Anadolu Agency reported that a military helicopter had attacked the Ankara police headquarters and Reuters said the parliament was surrounded with tanks.
Another Reuters witness reported hearing gunfire at Istanbul airport.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared early on Saturday among a crowd of supporters at Istanbul`s main airport, footage broadcast on local media showed, hours after a dramatic attempt by an army faction to topple the government.
Erdogan`s arrival in Istanbul came after Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told broadcaster NTV on Saturday that the situation in Turkey was “largely under control”.
Speaking at a news conference, Erdogan said those behind the plot would “pay a heavy price”.
He said said he would stay with his “people” and not go anywhere after flying back to Istanbul from Marmaris, a coastal city.
“Shortly after I left, I have been told they bombed those locations where I had been,” he told reporters. “I assumed they thought I was still there when they bombed those places.”
Forty-two people were killed in the capital Ankara, Turkish officials said, confirming an earlier report from the state-run Anadolu Agency. Seventeen of those killed were police officers, Anadolu said.
Erodgan also said that the attempted coup was the work of supporters of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan has long accused of attempting to use his followers in the judiciary and military to overthrow the government.
Gulen condemned the bid to overthrow Turkey`s leader, saying “governments should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force”.


Turkey appoints acting military chief, whereabouts of predecessor unknown

Turkey appointed the head of its First Army, a group of divisions within its land forces, as acting chief of military staff on Saturday while the whereabouts of the head of the armed forces was unknown, a senior Turkish official told Reuters.

Umit Dundar was appointed after the head of the military could not be accounted for in the chaos of an attempted coup by rebels in the armed forces. Local media reports said earlier the chief of staff had been taken hostage.

Turkish F-16s launch air strikes against tanks outside presidential palace

Turkish army F-16s launched air strikes on Saturday against tanks stationed by coup backers outside the presidential palace in Ankara, an official with the presidency said.

“Turkish F-16s have launched air strikes against tanks outside the presidential palace,” the official said, adding that a military helicopter, which was involved in an attack against a Turkish satellite operator earlier, has been downed in the Golbasi district of Ankara.

Istanbul airport under control of soldiers loyal to government

Soldiers took control of Istanbul`s main Ataturk airport on Saturday shortly after President Tayyip Erdogan landed there and condemned what he said was an attempted coup by a faction in the military.
Source: Agencies