15 July 2016 Chaos erupted Friday night when military tanks rolled onto the streets of Ankara and Istanbul and soldiers blocked the famous Bosphorus Bridge.
The Turkish military claim of a takeover was read on state broadcaster TRT. The anchor said the military imposed martial law.
The military said the goal was to maintain democratic order and that the “political administration that has lost all legitimacy has been forced to withdraw.”
But the attempted coup lost momentum after Erdogan returned from vacation at the seaside resort of Marmaris and declared his government in control.
President Recep tayyip Erdogan sent a mobile phone text message to the public for them to take to the streets against the coup plotters.
There were reports of citizens killing soldiers in various cities in Turkey after people took to the streets.
By the time he re-emerged following hours of silence, dozens had died in a night of violence.
Of the 161 deaths, most were police officers killed in a gun battle with a helicopter near the Parliament complex in Ankara, NTV reported. The building was damaged. In addition, Yildirim said, 1,140 people were wounded.
At least 2,839 military officers were detained, a source in the President’s office said. The Ankara chief public prosecutor’s office took nearly 200 top Turkish court officials into custody, Anatolian News Agency reported Saturday.
The officials include 140 members of the Supreme Court and 48 members of the Council of State, one of Turkey’s three high courts.
Those arrested included Huduti and Constitutional Court member Alparslan Altan, CNN Turk reported Saturday.
A former air force commander is alleged to be behind the attempted military coup in Turkey which has claimed almost 200 lives.
A Turkish senior official says that Akin Ozturk, a former air force commander, is one of the “masterminds of the coup.” He says initial evidence suggests ties between the failed coup’s masterminds, including Ozturk and the Gulenist Movement.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.
He said the masterminds’ immediate goal was to seize control of key areas including Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and Taksim Square. They also sought to take down satellite infrastructure and seize telecommunications hubs.
Akin Ozturk was in charge of the Turkish Air Force between 2013 and 2015 but over the last year has been suspected of planning to overthrow the government, the DHA news agency has claimed.
He has been a Member of the Turkish Supreme Military Council since August 2015, and it’s claimed he may have decided to launch the uprising before an upcoming meeting where his possible links with Turkish opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen were to be raised.
Supporters of a Muslim cleric called Fethullah Gulen have already been accused of being behind last night’s coup attempt.
The government said that followers of Gulen, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States for years, were behind the attempted coup by a faction of the military.
Turkey’s government said Saturday it was firmly in control after a coup attempt the night before sparked violence and chaos, leaving 161 people dead.
Friday’s uprising by some members of the military is the latest worrying example of deteriorating stability in a country that a few years ago was being promoted to the wider Muslim world as a model of democratic governance and economic prosperity.
Some 14 years after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political party swept to power in elections, Turkey once again teeters on the brink.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the insurrection “a stain in the history of democracy” at a news conference on Saturday in Ankara, the capital. He raised the death toll in the clashes to 265, with 1,440 people wounded, and he said 2,839 military personnel had been detained.
Mr. Erdogan placed blame for the intrigue on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, who was the president’s ally until a bitter falling out three years ago. Mr. Gulen’s followers were known to have a strong presence in Turkey’s police and judiciary, but less so in the military.
On Saturday morning, Mr. Erdogan said, referring to Mr. Gulen, “I have a message for Pennsylvania: You have engaged in enough treason against this nation. If you dare, come back to your country.”
In a statement released on the website of his group, Alliance for Shared Values, Mr. Gulen condemned the coup and supported the country’s democratic process.