Updates: Military attempt to seize power in Turkey

Deutsche Welle
43 Min Read

All updates are in Universal Coordinated Time

Erdogan, who had been holidaying on the southwest coast when the coup was launched by a faction of the armed forces, landed in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport before dawn on Saturday and was shown on TV among a crowd of supporters outside the terminal. The uprising was an “act of treason” and those responsible would pay a heavy price, he said.


13.47: US President Barack Obama is set to hold a meeting with his national security and foreign policy team on Saturday to discuss the ongoing situation in Turkey, the White House said in a statement.

13.35: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has “strongly condemned” the attempted coup in Turkey in a statement to the press on Saturday afternoon. She has also urged for an end to the bloodshed and for the protection of minorities.

“It is tragic that many have paid with their lives during the attempted coup,” Merkel said. “The bloodshed in Turkey must come to an end.”

“Tanks on the streets and air strikes against one’s own people are wrong,” the chancellor emphasized.

13.16: The Incirlik air base has been sealed off and power has been cut, according to CNN citing the US Consulate. The airbase is the home to a US-led coalition fighting the militant “Islamic State” group. Many German soldiers are stationed there as well.

13.09: Greece’s government has said they will return a Turkish Blackhawk helicopter “as soon as possible” but will examine the asylum claims made by eight Turkish military personnel who were on board.

“The government is in contact with the Turkish authorities for…the return of the military helicopter as soon as possible,” said spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili.

Concerning the eight military detainees, she said “we will follow the procedures of international law.”

“However, we give very serious considerations to the fact that (the Turkish military men) are accused, in their country, of violating the constitutional order and trying to overthrow democracy,” Gerovasili added.

Greek police said that the arrested Turks include two majors, four captains and two sergeants first class, differing from earlier reports.

13.00: The flight schedule at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport has returned to normal, according to a Turkish Airlines official. However, delays are to be expected.

The US State Department has advised government employees not to travel to and from the airport due to “sporadic gunfire.”

The statement also reiterated that US airline carriers are currently “prohibited from flying to or from Istanbul and Ankara airports.” Likewise, planes departing from Turkey are not allowed to fly into the US.

12.29: Around 100 military officers at the military airbase in Diyarbakir have been detained after an attempted military takeover, reported security sources. The airbase has been a major hub for operations against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Seperately, the state-run Anadolu Agency has said all soldiers involved in the attempted coup at the military headquarters in Ankara are in custody.

Anti-terrorism police will now conduct a “detailed search” at the headquarters, the report said.

12.14: Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the US has not received an order to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. He has invited Turkey to present evidence against Gulen and said the US will assist with “legitimate legislative efforts” and the coup investigation.

The Islamic cleric has lived in the United States since 1999.

12.09: A top aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Tehran supported the Turkish government against a coup attempt despite disputes between the two countries over Syria.

“We disagree with Turkey on some issues, like Syria. We are hopeful that the Turkish government respects the Syrian people’s opinion and votes and lets the Syrian nation choose their government,” said Ali Akbar Velayati according to the Tasnim news agency.

11.53: The EU’s foreign policy head, Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner Johannes Hahn have called for an end to violence in Turkey in a joint statement.

“We underline the need for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order with its checks and balances and stress the importance for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms to prevail,” the statement read.

11.46: Authorities in Turkey removed 2,745 judges from duty after the attempted coup, reported broadcaster NTV citing a decision by the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).

The meeting took place just hours after pro-government forces squashed the attempted coup.

11.37: Greece says the Turkish military Black Hawk helicopter that landed near Alexandroupolis will be immediately returned to Turkey. The eight men who have claimed asylum are due to appear before a prosecutor on Sunday. Ankara has demanded their immediate extradition claiming they are part of the attempted coup.

11.34: Thousands of citizens have heeded the call of the Turkish president and lined the streets of Istanbul, waving red and white Turkish flags. Turkey’s official news agency carried photographs of President Erdogan greeting supporters on the Anatolian side of Istanbul.

11.30: Iran is making arrangements to evacuate an estimated 10,000 of its citizens on holiday in Turkey and is canceling all package tours until further notice. Turkey is one of the few countries that Iranians can visit without a visa.

11.26: Greek government sources say Athens will examine the asylum requests by the eight Turkish military men who landed a helicopter in northern Greece this morning. “We have called for the extradition of eight treasonous soldiers who flew to Greece by helicopter,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.

11.24: Turkey’s intelligence agency chief Hakan Fidan says “systemic operations are complete” but mopping up measures to clear the remaining 5 percent of disloyal military men could take a few more hours.

11.18: Saudi Arabia welcomed the Turkish president’s apparent success in prevailing against a coup attempt, Saudi state news agency SPA reported. “The source expressed the kingdom’s welcome that things are returned to normal led by his Excellency President Tayyip Erdogan and his elected government and in line with the constitutional legitimacy and the will of the Turkish people,” SPA said, quoting an unnamed foreign ministry official.

11.03: Turkish authorities have now reopened the Bosphorus Strait to maritime traffic after briefly shutting the key shipping channel due to security reasons. “The traffic for transit vessels is back to normal … along with non-dangerous cargo carriers,” shipping agent GAC said in a statement.

10.51: A mass text messageblast to Turkish mobile phones signed by the Turkish president went out Saturday imploring citizens to “stand up” for democracy and peace. The message which came from “RT ERDOGAN” and was signed with his full name, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also called on people to take to the streets against a “narrow cadre.”

10.48: Turkish Airlines executive tells CNN Turk that 35 planes have been diverted and 32 flights canceled. British Airways has canceled all flights to and from Turkey today and at least one on Sunday.

10.43: Iran’s National Security Council convened a meeting Saturday to discuss the latest developments in Turkey. “We support Turkey’s legal government and oppose any type of coup – either initiated domestically or supported by foreigners,” National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani said after the meeting, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

10.38: Turkey’s foreign ministry requests that Athens extradite eight fugitives who had landed a Turkish military helicopter in northernGreece.

10.32: Greek military sources claim the Turkish anti-government military faction has seized a Turkish frigate and taken the head of the Turkish fleet hostage at the Golcuk naval base in the Sea of Marmara.

10.30: Turkey has reopened the border with Bulgaria.

10.25: The Iranian Mehr news agency said Iran has temporarily suspended exports of petrochemical products to Turkey due to border closures between the two countries.

10.22: Turkish maritime authorities sealed off the Bosphorus Strait to transiting tankers on Saturday “for security and safety” reasons. The strategic strait is one of world’s most important chokepoints for the maritime transit of oil with more than 3 percent of global supply – mainly from Russia and the Caspian Sea – that connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. It is also a shipping route for vast amounts of grain from Russia and Kazakhstan to global markets.

10.05: An influential figure among Germany’s 3-million-strong Turkish community condemned the coup attempt in Turkey but says Ankara should open dialogue with opposition parties that had voiced support for the elected government. “The government would be well-advised to see this as a chance to talk with others,” Gokay Sofuoglu told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper “Because the parties have not talked with one another for a long time.”

09.58: Greek police say a Turkish military helicopter landed near Alexandroupolis in northern Greece; eight men have been detained and have reportedly requested political asylum.

09.53: UNESCO has called a halt to the world heritage meeting underway in Istanbul. “The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee is suspended until further notice,” the Paris-based body said in a Saturday statement on its website. The meeting was due to end on Wednesday.

09.51: Add Spain to the growing list of countries condemning the overnight coup attempt. Acting Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo told Spanish national television that his government completely supports the Turkish government headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

09.49: Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim has announced a revised casualty figures. He says 161 police and civilians were killed in the country’s overnight military coup attempt. Another 1,400 people were wounded and more than 2,800 people have been detained. That brings the total death toll to 265.

09.48: Here are some updated statistics on the Turkish armed forces. Turkey’s military has 510,600 soldiers, down from 800,000 in 1985. The International Institute for Strategic Studies says as of 2015, the country had 402,000 soldiers (77,000 professionals and NCOs/325,000 conscripts) in its land force, 48,600 in the navy (14,100/34,500) and 60,000 in the air force. Added to this are more than 100,000 members of the gendarmerie, or paramilitary police, who fall under the command of the Ministry of the Interior rather than National Defense.

09.43: Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reports that Putin has ordered all commercial flights with Turkey suspended.

09.40: In a not-so-thinly veiled threat to Washington, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says a country that would stand by Fethullah Gulen won’t be a friend of Turkey and will be considered at war with Turkey. The Islamic cleric has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999.

09.37: The republic of Georgia has closed its border with Turkey citing instability from the coup attempt. Turkey and the former Soviet repubic share a 252-kilometer (152-mile) long frontier.

09.30: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the attempted coup was a “black stain” on Turkish democracy. “The night of July 15, Friday is a black stain on Turkish democracy,” Yildirim said, adding that “we have averted serious trouble.”

09.07: Turkish EU affairs minister Omer Celik says the situation in Turkey is “90 percent under control” but that some military officers are still being held hostage by coup supporters.

09.04: Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reports that pro-coup soldiers who have captured the Chief of General Staff Headquarters have requested to begin negotiations over the terms of their surrender. A Turkish official at the presidency says that building in Ankara is the coup supporter’s last bastion.

09.00: Citing Turkish aviation authorities, Anadolu news agency reports that airspace over the northwest Marmara region (which includes Istanbul) will remain closed to civilian aircraft until 1805 UTC.

08.54: Moscow reiterates its readiness to work with the legitimate leadership of Turkey. “The aggravating political situation (in Turkey) against the backdrop of existing terrorist threats in this country and an armed conflict in the region pose increased danger to international and regional stability,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

08.43: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says Berlin “condemns in the strongest terms” any attempt to subvert “democratic order” in Turkey. “All those responsible must adhere to the democratic and constitutional rules and ensure the prevention of further bloodshed,” the minister said.

08:20: Eyewitness accounts of angry crowds turning on western journalists are surfacing on social media.

08.16: Gen. Umit Dundar has clarified that the overall death toll now stands at 194. That includes 41 police officers and 47 civilians who “fell as martyrs” and 104 suspected coup plotters. He doesn’t account for the remaining two.

08.08: Gen. Umit Dundar, Turkey’s acting military chief of staff, is addressing the nation on live television. He says: 104 suspected coup plotters are dead and blames the organization of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. “Turkey has closed the chapter on coups for good – never to be reopened.” He adds anyone who betrays the country “will not go unpunished.”

07.18: The UK’s recently appointed foreign minister signals London’s support for Erdogan’s government.

07.11: Qatar’s emir telephoned Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to express support for measures taken by the government to maintain stability in the country, its foreign ministry said. “The state of Qatar expressed its strong denunciation and condemnation of the military coup attempt, lawlessness, and violation of the constitutional legitimacy in the Republic of Turkey,” the ministry said in a statement.

07.04: A little background on the makeup of the Turkish military. According to 2013 figures from the Turkish General Staff, it has a standing army of 678,617 personnel. There are 347 generals and admirals in the land, air and naval forces. There are 33,167 officers and 72,061 non-commissioned officers. The majority of the Turkish armed forces is made up of male conscripts completing mandatory military service.

06.53: The official casualty figure now stands at 90 dead, 1,154 wounded, according to Turkey’s state-run news agency.

06.46: Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reports that nearly 200 unnarmed soldiers have surrendered to police at the country’s military headquarters.

06.35: An unnamed official tells Reuters that the number of detained military personnel has risen to 1,563 nationwide.

06.34: Turkish TV is carrying a live extraordinary session of parliament in Ankara.

06.01: More details are emerging on the identities of the suspected coup plotters. DW’s Istanbul correspondent Tom Stevenson writes: “The Turkish authorities have announced that they’ve taken more than 30 senior military officers into custody, including hundreds of lower ranking military personnel. Among them are Rear Admiral Nejat Atilla Demirhan, Major General Ekrem Caglar, and Major General Hasan Polot.

“The initial sense here was that this was likely a junior officers coup; however, these detentions suggest the authorities believe that some of the Turkish army’s top brass may have been involved.”

05.57: Turkey’s state intelligence agency (MIT) says its headquarters had come under “heavy machine gun fire” during the coup attempt. It says MIT chief Hakan Fidan had sheltered in a secure location and had been in contact with the prime minister throughout the night.

05.53: South Korea has advised its nationals to cancel planned trips to Turkey. Earlier the foreign ministry “expressed grave concern” and hoped that constitutional order and stability would return to the country.

05.31: Unnamed Turkish government officials say military chief Gen. Hulusi Akar, reportedly taken hostage by coup plotters, has been rescued.

05.22: Turkey’s police chief tells AP that 16 coup plotters had been killed and 250 detained at the country’s paramilitary headquarters.

05.12: A senior Turkish official tells Reuters that the country’s military headquarters is now held by pro-government forces, but groups of rebel soldiers are still resisting and in possession of military helicopters. He added that the air force is under the control of the government and any renegade aircraft would be shot down.

05.08: Tom Stevenson, DW’s correspondent in Istanbul, writes: “It’s dawn in Istanbul and some semblance of normality is returning to the city. The deafening sound of fighter jets making low passes over the center of the city has been replaced with silence. The streets are all but empty – of both soldiers and residents.

“The Interior and Justice ministries are telling reporters that more than 700 people have been detained in relation to the attempted coup. Military bases around Istanbul are being guarded by special police forces.

“Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed a rare note of party political solidarity, praising the opposition parties for coming out strongly against the coup in a speech early this morning.”

05.05: A columnist for Yeni Safak, a pro-government newspaper, said on Twitter that one of his newspaper colleagues had been killed in the unrest.

05.01: The president’s office says at least 60 people had been killed so far in clashes during the attempted coup.

04.59: Japan’s Kyodo news agency reports that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says democracy must be respected; he hopes peace and order are restored in Turkey.

04.54: Turkish private NTV is reporting that five generals and 9 colonels have been dismissed for suspected involvement in the coup attempt.

04.53: Turkey’s Justice Ministry says 754 members of the armed forces have been placed under arrest.

04.49: The German government supports Turkey’s elected government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said Saturday. “The democratic order in Turkey must be respected. Everything needs to be done to protect human lives,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter. He said Merkel was in close contact with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel on developments.

04.35: European Council President Donald Tusk said political tensions in Turkey “cannot be resolved by guns.” He made the statement from Mongolia.

04.32: An email statement purportedly from the Turkish General Staff’s press office says the faction of officers behind the coup – calling themselves the Peace at Home Movement – are still determined to seize control and would oppose anyone who stands in their way.

04.31: The operator of Istanbul’s second airport Sabiha Gokcen says flights are taking off and landing on a limited basis.

04.25: Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told private broadcaster CNN Turk that authorities had detained 336 people suspected of involvement in the coup.

04.15: Exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whose organization is often accused of plots by the Turkish government, has released a statement.

“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey,” Gulen said. “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.”

04.09: A senior Turkish official says the country has appointed the head of its First Army, Umit Dundar, as the acting chief of military staff. He was appointed after the head of the military, who was initially said to have been taken hostage, could not be accounted for.

03.52: A presidential source says Turkish F-16s have launched strikes against tanks that were outside the presidential palace.

03.48: A military helicopter being used by the coup plotters is shot down outside Ankara, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, television footage shows tens of soldiers, who were involved in the takeover, surrendering on the Bosporus bridge with their hands aloft.

03.42: President Erdogan concedes that there is a small disturbance in Ankara, but that it is hoped this would soon be quashed. He also urges supporters not to leave public squares, where they have gathered in defiance at the coup.

03.35: Jets have dropped bombs near to the presidential palace in Ankara, according to Turkish television. Plumes of black smoke have been rising over the Bestepe district, where the palace is located, NTV television reported.

03.30: Prime Minister Binali Yildirim calls an emergency session of the Turkish parliament for Saturday afternoon. He has appealed for all four parties – each of which has condemned the coup attempt – to take part.

03.21: In both Ankara and Istanbul, the sound of sporadic shooting is still being reported. In Istanbul, fighting was heard around the offices of the national broadcaster TRT. The city’s Ataturk airport is said to be under the full control of government forces.

In the capital, meanwhile, government supporters gathered to pray outside the presidential palace.

03.18: A lawyer for the Turkish government says “there are indications of direct involvement” by Fethullah Gulen and his movement in the coup attempt, the Associated Press reports. Robert Amsterdam said in a statement that he and his firm had “attempted repeatedly to warn the US government of the threat posed.”

03.05: Reuters also quotes a senior Turkish official saying there is some local resistance by plotters in Istanbul and Ankara, but that this will end soon. Bomb attacks continue against parliament. The rebels have been warned they will be shot down if they try to use more military aircraft.

02.56: Reuters quotes a shipping agent as saying that the Bosporus has been closed to tanker traffic “for security and safety reasons.”

02.43: The Reuters news agency says 13 soldiers who attempted to enter presidential palace during the coup attempt have been arrested.

Meanwhile, more tweets with pictures of the damage to the Turkish parliament building have emerged.

02.30: NTV television quotes the Ankara prosecutor’s office, saying at least 42 people have been killed in “attacks” in the capital alone.

02.16: Prime Minister Yildirim says “things are getting better every minute.” He adds that a general who was among the coup plotters was killed, and that soldiers involved had opened fire on civilians with no hesitation. Meanwhile, he says, rebel soldiers are still firing from the air.

02.10: It’s apparently not all over yet, though. DW correspondent Diego Cupolo, in Ankara, says that two explosions have been heard in Ankara and that gun fights are still ongoing.

01.58: Gen. Hulusi Akar, the military chief of staff, is said to be back in control. He was earlier reported to have been taken hostage.

01.48: According to Erdogan, the hotel where he was staying in the Aegean coastal resort of Marmaris was bombed after he left for Istanbul.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is said to have ordered the “annihilation” of military aircraft used by plotters, with planes taking off from an air base near Ankara.

“Fighter jets have left the air base in Eskisehir,” an official said, with pilots briefed to hunt down the “rogue craft.”

01.37: The DPA reports that Fethullah Gulen, the moderate US-based cleric blamed by Erdogan for the attempt, has condemned the attempted takeover. “Governments should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force,” Gulen is quoted as saying.

01.33: Erdogan reiterates the claim that the attempted coup was organized by the Gulen movement, and that the putsch is proof that the Gulen structure is an armed terrorist organization. He adds that millions are in the streets protesting against the plotters’ actions, adding he will stay “with my people.”

01.23: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears on Turkey’s NTV network saying the attempted coup was carried out by a minority within the military that cannot stomach unity within the country. Erdogan claims Turkey is not the Turkey of old, and that the uprising is a reason to clean up the army – vowing that those responsible will pay a heavy price.

01.18: The Associated Press cites an official at Haydarpasa Numune Hospital in the Uskudar district of Istanbul saying they have admitted at least 150 wounded.

01.06: Television shows a large crowd greeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he emerges from a vehicle at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. The Anadolu Agency tweeted a picture of his arrival.

00.59: Gunshots are heard during a broadcast from the CNN Turk studio, where soldiers are reported to be in the control room.

00.54: The Reuters news agency reports that “tens of Turkish soldiers” have surrendered weapons to armed police in central Istanbul’s Taksim Square. The soldiers were taken away in police vans as a fighter jet roared overhead creating a sonic boom that shattered windows.

00.43: Broadcaster CNN Turk says a group of soldiers have entered its studios in Istanbul. News broadcasts from the channel are halted with soldiers in the control room.

00.38: EU chiefs Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker give their backing to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

“Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law,” they said in a joint statement with EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini. “We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order.”

The US also urged support for Erdogan’s government, after President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone. “The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed,” the White House said in a statement.

00.33: Erdogan’s plane has landed in Istanbul, a Turkish official says.

00.27: Broadcaster NTV says that nearly 50 soldiers have been arrested. It says that two people were killed in clashes in Istanbul, and that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to land by plane in Istanbul.

00.24: Ali Seker, a Turkish politician from the Republican People’s Party, tweeted pictures apparently showing damage to the parliament building.

00.18: DW’s correspondent in Istanbul, Tom Stevenson, says the helicopters have stopped circling over Istanbul. “At least one of the attempted coup leaders is in police custody. There are clearly still pro-coup forces in play, especially in Ankara, however the attempt appears to be running out of steam. Military officers have left the state news agency and no senior politicians have been arrested.”

00.16: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the situation is “largely under control,” in comments to NTV television. He also told broadcaster NTV that a no-fly zone had been declared over the capital, Ankara.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s intelligence agency MIT was targeted by hijacked helicopters, but its spokesman said the coup attempt was “foiled.” He added there had been no casualties at MIT.

00.10: DW correspondent Diego Cupolo, in Ankara, says mosques appear to have been urging people onto the streets to support the president.

00.06: The Pentagon says there was no impact from the coup attempt on operations at the Incirlik air base, which is continuing counter-“Islamic State” air operations.

00.04: State broadcaster TRT appears to be back on air and under the control of pro-government troops. Less than three hours earlier, TRT said the military had declared martial law and a curfew, in a statement signed by a group calling itself the “Council for Peace in the Homeland.” A news anchor who read the statement said staff had been taken hostage and forced to carry the message before the channel went off air.

23.48: The Turkish parliament has been hit by an explosion. The state-run Anadolu Agency describes it as having been hit by a bomb, while Fox TV reports that a helicopter fired on the building.

23.39: US Secretary of State John Kerry says, in a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, that he emphasized the United States’ “absolute support” for Turkey’s democratically elected, civilian government. He added that Washington viewed the situation in Turkey with the “gravest concern.”

23.35: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert warns that democratic order must be maintained in Turkey. “Everything must be done to protect human life,” he tweeted.

The Kremlin expressed concern about the situation. “Moscow is deeply concerned about the news coming from Turkey,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that President Vladimir Putin was being constantly informed of new developments by the Russian foreign ministry and intelligence.

New British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson echoed these sentiments.

23.27: One of the vice presidents of Germany’s Bundestag, Claudia Roth, warns of the danger of a civil war in Turkey. “It is a dramatic and dangerous situation,” Roth tells the DPA press agency.

23.20: A group in the United States close to Fethullah Gulen has issued a statement in opposition to the coup attempt. Erdogan has blamed “parallel state” structures, a term referring to the Gulen movement, for the coup attempt. Turkey considers the Gulen movement to be a terrorist organization. Gulen has millions of followers and lives in self-imposed exile in the United States.

23.14: Turkish military forces on Saturday opened fire on grounds near one of the major bridges crossing the Bosporus, which had been sealed off earlier, according to a photographer for the AFP news agency. The photographer said he saw wounded people being taken to ambulances.

23.12: Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency says 17 police have been killed at Ankara’s special forces headquarters. However, there has been no independent confirmation of this.

23.07: CNN Turk reports that an F-16 jet has shot down a helicopter belonging to those involved in the coup. All four parties in parliament have condemned the coup attempt, according to several media sources.

23.00: Zekai Aksakalli, the commander of Turkish special forces, told NTV television that “bandits” behind the coup attempt will not be successful. Meanwhile, Bulent Bostanoglu, the head of Turkish naval forces, said his command was “definitely against this attempt.”

22:53: Mosques in Istanbul and Ankara have reportedly been reciting the call to prayer hours before the scheduled morning prayers.

22:30: Tanks are reported to be deployed outside the Turkish parliament, and are reported to have opened fire. Gunfire has also been heard at the airport, according to Reuters. There are reports of multiple explosions.

22.22: There are reports of an explosion in Ankara at the state run television building. Helicopters are seen above the capital. There are more reports of gunfire.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says military helicopters have also attacked the headquarters of TURKSAT satellite station on the outskirts of Ankara and the Ankara Police headquarters.

Dozens of tanks are seen moving toward a palace used by the prime minister and deputy prime ministers. A civilian car reportedly tried to stop one of the tanks, but it rammed through and past the vehicle as those in the car escaped.

22.14: DW correspondent Tom Stevenson reports that civilians are in the streets and shops have closed. Bars closed in such a hurry that glasses and bottles were smashed in the rush, as word of the coup spread.

“The situation is changing fast right now; we’re trying to find out what is happening but it’s unclear. If this is a coup attempt it will not be accepted, but we shouldn’t speak about this now. The president is safe, that is all,” a Turkish government official told DW as the coup was declared.

22.00: From Mongolia, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urges “restraint” amid events in Turkey.

21.53: The Turkish president’s office will not disclose Erdogan’s whereabouts to the Associated Press news agency, saying he is at a secure location.

21.52: Erdogan tells the news channel CNN Turk that he believes the attempted coup would be over in a short time and that the perpetrators would pay a heavy price in the courts.

Erdogan told CNN Turk the rebel group within the military was tied to loyalists of exiled Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan blamed the “parallel structure,” a reference to the Gulen movement, for the coup attempt.

For the past two years, the government has cracked down on what it calls a “parallel state” and terrorist group tied to Gulen. Gulen is an ally-turned-foe of Erdogan who currently lives in the United States.

21.45: Turkish NTV television is showing a crowd yelling “Soldiers go back to the barracks” at tanks along the main Vatan Street in Istanbul.

21.25: Speaking to NTV television via iPhone app Facetime, Erdogan called on all supporters to take to the streets and town squares to stand up for democracy.

The statement came shortly after the coup plotters said on another channel, TRT television, which appeared to have been taken over, that they had declared martial law.

21.14: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is safe, a presidential source said on Friday, adding that a statement announcing the takeover of the government was not authorized at the highest level of military command.

21.05: The Turkish military takes control of Istanbul’s main Ataturk airport, halting flights, according to the broadcaster CNN Turk. Planes appear to be diverted.

21.00: An official from the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says a “group within the armed forces have made an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government outside the chain of command.” The official says a military statement issued earlier was not issued by the top command.

20.44: In a statement aired on Turkish television channels, the military says it had assumed power over Turkey to protect the democratic order and maintain human rights. The statement said that all of turkey’s existing foreign relations would remain the same, and that the rule of law was a priority. It remains unclear if this is all, or part of, the country’s military as a whole is involved.

20.13: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says a group within the military has engaged in unauthorized action. Binali Yildirim told NTV television: “It is correct that there was an attempt.”

“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV. “We are working on the possibility of an attempt. We will not allow this attempt,” he told NTV television by telephone, without expanding on the nature of the move but saying it was by a group in the Turkish military.

“Those who are in this illegal act will pay the highest price,” he added, saying it would not be correct to describe the move as a “coup”.

19.51: Bridges connecting the European and Asian sides in Istanbul were closed in one direction. Military aircraft reported flying over both Istanbul, the country’s largest city, and the capital, Ankara. Gunfire is also reported.

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