A military coup attempt in Turkey appears to have failed

ISTANBUL (TCA) — An attempted military coup in Turkey appeared to be failing as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to Instanbul early Saturday and told crowds of supporters he’s “not going anywhere,” RFE/RL reported.

Dozens civilians were killed and hundreds wounded in night-long battles and street fighting in Istanbul and other cities. The heaviest casualties of some 60 dead were reported in Ankara, the scene of the heaviest fighting, according to Turkish authorities in Ankara.

Calling the uprising that led to a night of confusion, fighting, and casualties an “act of treason,” Erdogan vowed to exact the most “severe” punishment on the coup supporters and “cleanse” the military of unloyal elements.

“They will pay a heavy price for this act of treason,” Erdogan said at Istanbul’s airport. “We will not leave our country to occupiers.”

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that more than 130 people have already been arrested for the coup attempt and said a general who helped organize the coup was killed.

Yildirim said he had ordered Turkish fighter jets to shoot down any aircraft hijacked by the coup plotters, some of whom remained at large and in the air.

“Those who drive around in tanks will have to go back to where they came from,” Erdogan proclaimed, describing a narrow escape from death as coup plotters bombed the hotel where he was staying on holiday in the Marmaris sea resort, but he had already left.

While Erdogan and his deputies fingered a handful of military leaders for leading a “minority” uprising in the military, overall they blamed the coup attempt on a political opponent: the reclusive Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who lives in exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Gulen, a one-time Erdogan ally with many followers in Turkey’s military and government offices, vigorously denied any involvement, saying “governments should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force.”

During the fighting, 17 police officers were killed in a helicopter attack on a police special forces headquarters on the outskirts of Ankara, the Anadolu news agency reported.

NTV reported that a helicopter used by soldiers backing the coup was shot down by a military jet.

The struggle was marked by multiple takeovers of television and news outlets by armed factions. The targeted outlets which often showed footage of soldiers entering their premises and forcing statements to be read on air or demanding the shutdown of operations.

By morning, most news stations appeared to be up and running again.

Turkey’s army has been methodically marginalized during the last 13 years under President Erdogan’s leadership of the country.

Analysts say Erdogan has long considered the army as a potentially dangerous adversary. Turkey’s military has forced four civilian governments from power since 1960.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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