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Turkey coup: 265 killed in clashes, almost 3,000 soldiers detained

Hundreds of people took to the streets to show their support for the country’s leader, clashing with armed forces.

Updated 11am

TURKEY’S PRIME MINISTER has said 161 civilians were killed in last night’s attempted military coup and some 2,839 soldiers have been detained.

Speaking outside his palace in Ankara, flanked by top general Hulusi Akar, who was held hostage during the attempt, Binali Yildirim described the putsch bid as a “black stain” on Turkish democracy.

He added 1,440 people had been wounded overnight. The death toll of 161 did not include assailants, the prime minister emphasised. Turkey’s acting army chief Umit Dundar had earlier said 104 soldiers involved in the coup had been killed.

Source: Emrah Gurel

Yildirim said the situation is now “completely under control”.

He 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.

‘Treachery’

Crowds of supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came out onto the streets to try to block the coup yesterday.

After hours of chaos unseen in decades, President Recap Tayyip Erdogan ended uncertainty over his whereabouts, flying into Istanbul airport in the early hours where he made a defiant speech and was greeted by hundreds of supporters.

Source: Associated Press

Erdogan denounced the coup attempt as “treachery” but said he was carrying out his functions and would keep on working “to the end”.

“What is being perpetrated is a treason and a rebellion. They will pay a heavy price for this act of treason,” Erdogan said at the airport. “We will not leave our country to occupiers.”

Parliament bombed 

The sound of F16 fighter jets flying over the capital Ankara signalled the start of the attempted coup last night, with troops also moving to block the bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul.

Source: Deborah Hogan/YouTube

As protesters took to the streets, an AFP photographer saw troops open fire on people gathered near one of the bridges, leaving tens wounded.

Soldiers also opened shot at protesters angrily denouncing the coup bid at Istanbul’s famous Taksim Square, injuring several.

Turkish army F-16s launched air strikes against tanks stationed by coup backers outside the presidential palace in Ankara, while the parliament was also bombed.

Regular explosions could be heard from the AFP office situated near the complex.

World leaders called for calm, with US President Barack Obama and other Western countries urging support for the government which they said had been elected in democratic elections.

Source: Burhan Ozbilici

The night of drama and bloodshed brings new instability to the Middle East region, with Turkey a key powerbroker in the ongoing Syria conflict.

With uncertainty over the fate of Turkey’s top general Hulusi Akar — reportedly taken hostage — General Umit Dundar, commander of the First Army, has been appointed as acting chief of staff, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.

Coup bid ‘to restore order’ 

After the initial dramatic military movements, state broadcaster TRT said the troops behind the putsch had declared martial law and a curfew, in a statement signed by a group calling itself the “Council for Peace in the Homeland”.

“The power in the country has been seized in its entirety,” the statement said.

It said the coup had been launched “to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms and let the supremacy of the law in the country prevail, to restore order which was disrupted”.

Source: Associated Press

No named military officer claimed responsibility for the actions although Yildirim claimed a key pro-coup general had been killed.

Turkey’s once-powerful military has long considered itself the guardian of the secular state founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923.

It has staged three coups since 1960 and forced out an Islamic government in 1997.

Erdogan’s critics have long accused him of undermining modern Turkey’s secular roots and of sliding into authoritarianism — but the president was believed to have won control of the military after purging elements who opposed him.

Military out! 

The Turkish strongman urged people to rally in his support, prompting hundreds of supporters to gather in Turkey’s three main cities of Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir.

Source: STR

There was chaos in Istanbul as angry crowds took to the streets to boo the passing tanks, with smaller numbers welcoming the troops.

As a helicopter flew over the famed Taksim Square, scene of massive anti-Erdogan protests three years ago, the crowd began to boo, shaking their fists at the night sky before they were shot at by the soldiers.

“The people are afraid of a military government,” a 38-year-old man who gave his name as Dogan told AFP. “Most of them have been in military service, they know what a military government would mean.”

But some Turks were welcoming news of the coup attempt.

“Turks are on fire,” Fethi, a 27-year-old tour guide in Taksim Square, told AFP.

“We have hope now,” he added. “Turkey has been in a very polarised state for almost 15 years now… This is the manifestation of all that anger.”

Global concern 

Erdogan immediately pinned the blame on “the parallel state” and “Pennsylvania” — a reference to Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, his arch-enemy who he has always accused of seeking to overthrow him.

But the president’s former ally denied any involvement in the plot, calling the accusation “insulting”.

Source: Emrah Gurel

“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,” he said in a statement.

Turkish airlines said flights to Istanbul’s main international airport had resumed after a night-longshutdown. The Bosphorus bridges remained closed.

There has been a flood of concerned reactions from around the globe, with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini calling for “restraint and respect for democratic institutions”.

Obama has been briefed, while the Kremlin said it was “deeply concerned” by the developments.

“Everything must be done to protect human lives,” said a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

- © AFP 2016.

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