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Military Coup Thwarted in Turkey, 754 Detained

Chaos reigned in Istanbul as tanks drove through the streets. PHOTO: Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Turkey’s Erdogan declares coup attempt over

  • At least 42 killed so far
  • President Erdogan vows to “clean up” the army, says millions are on the streets, protesting against the attempted coup
  • Turkish PM says situation under control, blames Gulen movement, declares no-fly zone over Ankara

REUTERS (Istanbul/Ankara) —  Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan  on Saturday (July 12) declared an attempted coup over, saying the government is in charge and he remains in power, CNN reported.

A defiant Erdogan addressed crowds in the city, telling them that the coup had been quashed. “The government is in control,” he was quoted by CNN as saying.

Erdogan, who had been holidaying on the south-west coast when the coup was launched by a faction in the armed forces, flew into Istanbul before dawn on Saturday and was shown on TV appearing among a crowd of supporters outside Ataturk Airport.

The uprising was an “act of treason”, and those responsible would pay a heavy price, he later told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference. Arrests of officers were under way, and it would go higher up the ranks, culminating in the cleansing of the military, he said.

Soldiers took control of the airport soon after Erdogan had landed, Reuters witnesses said. A senior official later said the soldiers were loyal to the government.

Rebel soldiers who had taken control of military aircraft were still firing from the air early on Saturday and fighter jets had been scrambled to intercept them, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, underscoring the chaotic situation.

Gunfire and explosions rocked both the main city Istanbul and capital Ankara in a chaotic night after soldiers took up positions in both cities and ordered state television to read out a statement declaring they had taken power.

A senior official said at least 60 people had been killed in the violence in Ankara and Istanbul, most of them civilians. More than 300 people have been arrested over the attempted coup, he added. []

Reuters reporters saw a helicopter open fire in Ankara. Anadolu said military helicopters had fired on the headquarters of the intelligence agency.

HUGE: Crazy footage shows helicopters firing a target on the ground in Ankara.

: Twitter, Youtube, Facebook reportedly blocked in the country.

SOCIAL MEDIA CUT OFF

Airports were shut and access to internet social media sites was cut off in the first hours of the coup attempt.

Soldiers took control of TRT state television, which announced a countrywide curfew and martial law. An announcer read a statement on the orders of the military that accused the government of eroding the democratic and secular rule of law. Turkey would be run by a “peace council” that would ensure the safety of the population, the statement said.

TRT went off the air shortly afterwards. It resumed broadcasting in the early hours of Saturday. []

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