Friday, July 15, 2016

Group Within Turkish Army in Coup Attempt
Erdogan calls on citizens to 'gather at squares, airports' after key buildings, bridges blockaded

Anadolou News Agency

A group within the Turkish military has taken illegal action outside chain of command in an attempted coup, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said early Saturday.

“I am calling on our nation. Go to squares, let us give them the best answer,” Erdogan said on video message from a cell phone that was broadcast on a cell phone connection from what appeared to be a private residence. “I do not believe this coup attempt will be successful. No coup-plotter in history has ever succeeded,” he said.

Turks have apparently responded by pouring into the streets across the nation.

First Army commander Umit Dundar has said that the coup-plotters represent a small minority in First Army command. “There is nothing to worry about. We are taking necessary measures with the soldiers who have not joined them and are still acting within chain of command.”

Erdogan said there had not been any attempt against him and the Turkish presidency has said the president is at a secure location.

Erdogan identified the group as belonging to the FETO/PDY terrorist organization, which three years ago staged an unsuccessful overthrow of the government.

“This is an insurgency against democracy and national will,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told the nation on live TV late Friday. “We will not allow it. There will never be any compromise on democracy. The perpetrators will pay the heaviest price.”

Prime Minister Yildirim said “some key buildings” in the capital are under a blockade.

Reports suggest the Chief of General Staff, Hulusi Akar, has been taken hostage that reportedly has taken control of the state-run TRT broadcaster, forcing an anchorwoman to read a statement that said the military had seized power. The presidency said the statement was invalid.

Anadolu Agency has learned that after satellite communications agency Turksat cut the live air feed following the forced statement, the coup-leaders carried out an airstrike on the agency's ground station in Golbasi, 20 kilometers (12 miles) outside the capital of Ankara.

“We will understand who they are and their purpose soon and will do what is needed. Our nation should keep calm. We will never tolerate such illegal activities that interrupt democracy,” according to Yildirim.

Soldiers have been seen blocking both bridges in Istanbul, and tanks are stationed outside the International Ataturk Airport.

The prime minister said police would “retaliate” and that “what is necessary will be done even if it requires death,” Yildirim said.

Leader of opposition Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bahceli has called the prime minister to express solidarity, calling the coup attempt unacceptable, ministry sources said.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kilicdaroglu said: "This country was wracked with coups. We do not want to go through the same troubles."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that he hopes for "stability, peace and continuity" in Turkey, noting that he had no idea what exactly has transpired in the country.

“I heard the reports that others have heard” Kerry said while speaking in Moscow, adding: “I don’t have any details at this point”.

White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price issued a statement that said President Barack Obama was briefed by his National Security team about the events.

The State Department warned Americans in Turkey to "shelter in place & stay indoors" and update their families that they are safe.

"If in #Turkey:monitor local press for updates, avoid areas of conflict, & exercise caution if in vicinity of any military or security forces," the agency tweeted.

"If attempting to leave #Turkey, confirm status of airport/airline/ground transportation before leaving your home," it added.

Anadolu Agency correspondent Kasim Ileri contributed to this report from Washington

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