Friday, July 15, 2016

Situation Largely Under Control After Coup Attempt: Turkish PM

Situation largely under control after Turkey coup attempt by a group of soldiers, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.

The press secretary of Turkish intel agency MİT also said the situation was “back to normal” after the attempt that emerged in key state and military buildings in both Istanbul and the capital city of Ankara.

“The coup has been fired back,” Nuh Yılmaz said.

The state-run broadcaster, TRT, which was taken over by the coup plotters, was retaken by the security forces.

The plotters, who named themselves the “Peace in the Country Council,” had forced a TRT speaker to read a declaration, claiming to take the power in the country.

However, unrest continued in a few spots, including the Boshporus Bridge, which was closed by the plotters.

The coup attempters hit by bomb Turkish parliament, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Deputies in parliament also confirmed an explosion.

Further explosions were heard during a live broadcasting from the general assembly of the parliament, which was evacuated.

The plotters killed 17 policemen in an attack on the Gölbaşı Special Forces Department headquarters in the Turkish capital of Ankara, according to the Istanbul governor.

Two employees were killed at the Turkish satellite operator TÜRKSTAT in the same district.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a phone interview on broadcaster CNNTürk that a "minority group" in the military has attempted a coup.

Erdoğan said the parallel state, referring to the followers of the U.S.-based scholar Fethullah Gülen, has promoted the attempt.

"We will not leave the ground to them," he said, vowing to end the "occupation" by the group, called on nation to unite at squares and airports. Erdoğan said he would also be on the streets.

The move is not as part of the chain of command, he said.

"I am the chief commander," he said.

Separately, on broadcaster NTV, Erdoğan said by phone that no attempt against himself was made.

Later, he appeared on television channels in the Aegean resort town of Marmaris, saying that the attempt was against the national will.

A large crowd gathered at Ankara's Kızılay Avenue as another crowed gathered at Istanbul Atatürk International Airport, where Erdoğan was expected to deliver a speech.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the attempters will not succeed.

"Over our dead bodies," he said, thanking all political parties and broadcasters for supporting democracy.

He called on soldiers not to obey the coup attempters, adding that this was not ordered by the chief generals.

Turkey’s First Army Commander Ümit Dündar said he contacted with the Istanbul governor from the first minute of the uprising.

Turkish Navy Chief Bülent Bostanoğlu said “As the commander staff, we openly reject this attempt.

General Staff Special Forces commander Gen. Zekai Aksakallı said "the bandits will not succeed.

The rebels are “a small group in the First Army,” he said.

“There is nothing to be worried about and all measures are being taken with the soldiers who remain in the chain of command.”

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said earlier that Turkey is facing an uprising attempt from inside the army, with the state-run Anadolu Agency reporting that Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar is being kept as a hostage with a group.

Later, the MİT said Akar was on his duty.

Two civilians, advertisement sector businessman Erol Olçak and his son were killed in af fire.

A group of civilians attempted to enter the state-run TRT during the occupation by the attempters, but the group inside fired at the group, wounding one person.

A military helicopter was shooting fire at the TRT building.

The so-called Peace in the Country Council said in the live declaration that it would trial at "fair courts" all those "have betrayed the country.”

The so-called council also declared a curfew. However, Defense Minister Fikri Işık said this was a "pirate statement," saying that it was not linked to the military commanders.

Broadcaster NTV said a Turkish F-16 fighter jet downed an helicopter operated by the coup plotters.

A CNNTürk reporter said a helicopter shoot on the General Staff headquarters in Ankara.

CNNTürk reported that two busses full of soldiers entered the headquarters of the state-run TRT in Ankara. Channels started to broadcast weather forecast only.

"This cannot be called a coup for the moment. This is an uprising," PM Yıldırım said. The security forces are in action against this he said, in phone call to broadcaster NTV.

"We will punish it the hardest way," he also said.

“Our security forces will use force against force,” he said.

The head of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) said on broadcaster CNNTürk on the phone that a group of soldiers were trying to take them out of the building.

He called on citizen to hit the streets against the attempt, similar to pro-government papers on their websites.

Atatürk Airport was closed to traffic, with soldiers waiting in front of it, but later reports said soldiers left the airport.

State-run Anadolu Agency said warplanes and helicopters fired two times on Ankarapolice center.

A number of armored vehicles have cut a main road in Istanbul, where the Istanbul police headquarters is located.

Gendarmerie has blocked entrances to bridges in Istanbul from the Anatolian to the European side of the city on July 15.

Reports said an explosion was heard in Ankara's Gölbaşı district.

Doğan News Agency reported that police in Ankara called personnel to office. 

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