Attempted coup overnight in Turkey; Over 90 killed, and over 1,150 injured; Turkish FM reports that “Turkish Armed Forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety”
A faction of the Turkish army declared a coup on the Turkish government Friday evening, officers and soldiers from the Turkish Air Force, armored units and police participating in the coup that lasted only a few hours.
Tanks were deployed and blocked major roads and bridges over the Bosphorus, with Turkish jets and helicopters flying over Ankara and Istanbul. Media stations were shut down and taken over by military personal and social media reportedly blocked overnight. Soldiers of the coup reportedly kidnapped Turkey’s military head, Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar on Friday evening. He was rescued on Saturday morning
The Turkish military claimed Friday night that “The power in the country has been seized in its entirety,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reporting Friday evening that “Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” and that the “group has engaged in treason, they won’t succeed.”
Overnight, 17 police officers were killed in a helicopter attack on Ankara’s police special forces when Turkish fighter jets shot the helicopter down. A helicopter was also reported to have fired at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkish lawmakers forced to hide in shelters. Police and military clashes were reported at Istanbul’s Taksim Square where soldiers reportedly surrendered.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Turkey would “swiftly respond to this attack” referring to the coup as “terrorists” announcing overnight that the coup was immobilized, stating on Saturday morning “They [the coup] have pointed the people’s guns against the people. The president, whom 52% of the people brought to power, is in charge. This government brought to power by the people is in charge. They won’t succeed as long as we stand against them by risking everything.”
President Erodgan was on vacation when the coup broke out Friday evening, Erdogan releasing the statement “Turkey’s democratically elected president and government are in power. We will not tolerate attempts to undermine our democracy… The President is Turkey’s Commander in Chief. The Turkish people, regardless of their political affiliation, will stand against this blatant attack against our democracy. We welcome the commitment of opposition parties, which expressed their objections to the coup attempt, to democracy.” He called on the people of Turkey to resist the coup and take to the streets stating, “I certainly believe that coup plotters will not succeed. I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports. I never believed in a power higher than the power of the people.”
Erdogan claimed the coup was orchestrated by US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen of “Hizmet”, what he referred to as a “parallel structure”. Gulen denied any involvement in the military coup.
On Saturday morning, the Turkish Foreign Ministry reported that the coup “was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our president and government are in charge,” and that the “Turkish Armed Forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the armed forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation.”
The Turkish government announced the appointment of General Umit Dundar as acting Chief of General Staff, claiming a “peace council” late Friday evening. Dundar announced Saturday morning that “The coup has been foiled,” and that the “[Turkish] Armed Forces is determined to clear the army of members of parallel structure” which “rejected by chain of command immediately.” He announced that out of the 90 deaths reported , 41 were police officers and 47 civilians, Dundar referring to the deaths as those who “fell martyrs”. A reported 1,154 people were injured and over 754 soldiers and police forces arrested, with 29 colonels and five generals “removed from posts”.