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Turkey coup attempt: Erdoğan calls military uprising 'treason' – live updates

July 16,2016 06:11

Around 50 soldiers involved in an attempted military coup in Turkey surrendered on one of the bridges across the Bosphorus in Istanbul on Saturday, abandoning their tanks with their hands raised in the air, live footage on CNN Turk showed. A Reuters ...

Reuters has more details as soldiers involved in the coup begin to surrender in Istanbul:

Around 50 soldiers involved in an attempted military coup in Turkey surrendered on one of the bridges across the Bosphorus in Istanbul on Saturday, abandoning their tanks with their hands raised in the air, live footage on CNN Turk showed.
A Reuters witness earlier saw tens of other pro-coup soldiers surrendering to armed police after being surrounded in Istanbul’s central Taksim square.

Broadcasters are now showing live images of soldiers on Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul leaving their tanks with their hands raised.
Turkish government officials say the coup is now over – although Erdoğan did concede that what he called a “small disturbance” continues in Ankara.
Reports from the capital, however, say fighting is still going on, with the state-run Anadolu news agency saying a military helicopter used by coup plotters has been shot down on the outskirts of Ankara.
Government sources say Turkish F-16s have also launched air strikes against tanks outside the presidential palace.

The crowd, numbering in the thousands, is chanting and singing – one nation, one flag, one motherland – and shouting Erdoğan’s name as he leaves the platform.

ErdoÄŸan says he will stand firm and will not compromise.
He says he will address “those in Pennsylvania” – by which he means cleric Fethullah Gülen and his supporters – accusing them of betraying the nation. That’s enough, he says: if you are courageous, come back to Turkey.

ErdoÄŸan speaks in Istanbul

Broadcasts from Turkey show President ErdoÄŸan addressing a sizeable crowd in Istanbul now.
He tells supporters that the government will succeed.
From the highest level of the army to lowest-ranking officers, he says, the armed forces must know they cannot govern the state.
The government is elected and is in control, he says. The people elected a president and that president is here.
He says the coup plotters brought out tanks, but “my people” took them back.

Istanbul’s Ataturk airport – where more than 40 people were killed in suicide attacks just a fortnight ago – is now reportedly back in the hands of officers loyal to the government having earlier on Friday night been targeted by coup backers.
Flights were suspended or diverted, but some are now arriving. A number of flights are being diverted to Istanbul’s second airport, Sabiha, as the situation at Ataturk remains unclear.
Turkish Airlines said it encouraged citizens to “stand up against this attack on our parliament and our public representatives”:

Broadcaster CNN-Turk is back on air, having been closed down on Friday night when soldiers entered the building and ordered journalists to leave.
State broadcaster TRT was also taken off air by those involved in the coup; Carlos Van Meek, its news director, told CNN in the US that its English-language channel remained off the air. Some of its Turkish channels might be restoring signals, Van Meek said:

By taking us off the air, they felt they had the opportunity to control the message.

However, Reuters reports that bomb attacks on the parliament are continuing, with a senior Turkish official saying rebel soldiers have been warned they will be shot down if they attempt to use more military aircraft.

A tank drives on streets in Ankara. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

The Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim has called an emergency meeting in parliament on Saturday, the state-run Anadolu news agency reports.
The parliament complex was bombed overnight, but parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman said no legislators were hurt. There were reports that some police officers were injured or killed but this has not been confirmed.

Erdoğan blames coup on Gülenists

Peter Beaumont

The accusations by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen is behind last night’s attempted coup is part of a familiar rhetoric and a long-running rivalry. So Is there any truth in it?
The traditional rivalry in Turkish society has been between secularists who look to the modern state’s founder Kemal Ataturk – notably the army and other state institutions – and Islamists.
So who are the Gülenists? Gülen, a cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, leads a popular movement – Hizmet or “the service” – ostensibly campaigning for democratic accountability.
The centre of recent tension between the Gülenists and Erdoğan and his AKP is the president’s decision to blame Gülenists in the police and judiciary for initiating anti-corruption allegations in 2013 that targeted his supporters, including Erdoğan’s son Bilal.
Erdoğan responded by launching a purge of perceived Gülenists.
As the coup attempt unfolded on Friday night, a lawyer for the Turkish government, Robert Amsterdam, said “there are indications of direct involvement” of Gülenists. According to Turkish intelligence sources, Amsterdam said: “There are signs that Gülen is working closely with certain members of military leadership against the elected civilian government.”
Gülen’s group, the Alliance for Shared Values, was quick to deny it, issuing a statement saying comments alleging the group’s involvement in the coup were “highly irresponsible” and that the group did not support the military intervention:

Events on the ground are moving quickly and it would be irresponsible for us to speculate on them. We remain concerned about the safety and security of Turkish citizens and those in Turkey right now.
For more than 40 years, Fethullah Gülen and Hizmet participants have advocated for, and demonstrated their commitment to, peace and democracy.
We have consistently denounced military interventions in domestic politics. These are core values of Hizmet participants. We condemn any military intervention in domestic politics of Turkey.

Turkey closes border to Bulgaria

Bulgaria is boosting patrols along the border with Turkey, as Turkey has closed border crossings, Reuters reports:

The foreign ministry appealed to Bulgarians to cancel their travel plans to Turkey.
“We are following what is happening at our neighbours with concern,” prime minister Boiko Borisov told reporters at an emergency meeting with the defence and foreign ministers, as well as intelligence and security officials.
“Let’s hope it will regularise in a lawful and democratic manner … There are ways to topple a government and that in the democratic world happens through elections,” he said.
Bulgarian foreign minister Daniel Mitov spoke on the telephone with his Turkish counterpart and contacts were made by the special services, Borisov added.
The border crossings with Turkey on the Bulgarian side are open. A witness told private national BTV channel that entrance at Kapikule border crossing into Turkey is allowed, but exit towards Bulgaria is not and several cars with Bulgarians were blocked on Turkish territory.
Bulgaria has built a fence at its border with Turkey as part of its attempts to limit illegal crossings of migrants from conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The border crossings from the Turkish side are closed. We have beefed up the border with border police officers and army units,” Borisov said.

International reaction

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says:

I am following the fast-moving developments in Turkey tonight with great concern. We should all urge calm and respect for laws, institutions, and basic human rights and freedoms – and support for the democratically elected civilian government.
All parties should work to avoid further violence and bloodshed, and the safety of American citizens and diplomatic missions must be ensured.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau says:

We call for restraint by all parties. Canada supports the preservation of Turkish democracy, and condemns any attempt to subvert Turkey’s democratic institutions by force of arms.

At least 42 killed in Ankara

We have more information on those killed in Ankara overnight.
The prosecutor’s office says most of the 42 people who died were civilians.
Seventeen of the dead were police officers.
In addition, a senior Turkish official says 13 soldiers who tried to storm the presidential palace have been arrested.

Ömer Çelik, Turkey’s minister for EU affairs, has tweeted these images of the parliament building as dawn breaks in the country:
It was earlier reported that a number of police officers were killed in an explosion at a building in the parliament complex.

Turkey’s NTV television has cited the prosecutor’s office in Ankara saying that at least 42 people have been killed in the capital overnight.
This has not been confirmed and it’s not known at this stage whether those killed include military personnel involved in the coup, protesters who were urged to come on to the streets, or police officers who were reportedly hit in the explosion at the parliament building.

It’s still very unclear what is happening in Ankara, where rebel soldiers are still said to be firing, and an explosion earlier hit the parliament building.
Images from the capital show many people – as well as tanks – on the streets in scenes of protest and chaos. There are also images of people who appear to be dead or injured; we will not publish those.

People take to the streets in Ankara. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

Tanks on the streets in Ankara. Photograph: Depo Photos/REX/Shutterstock

Tanks move into position in Ankara as protesters attempt to stop them. Photograph: Depo Photos/REX/Shutterstock

Although it is evident from reports and images from Turkey that the situation is still extemely tense and unpredictable, prime minister Yildirim has told the state-run Anadolu news agency:

Things are getting better every minute.

Yildirim said people should remain in the streets to support the government.
But he warned that some air force planes flown by those engaged in the coup remain in the air. Those aircraft will be shot down, Yildirim said.

Turkey,World news,Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan

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