Friday, July 15, 2016

Turkey Army Says It Has Taken Power Over Country
Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:56PM

Photos on social media show tanks and soldiers on the streets of Istanbul and Ankara.
The Turkish army says it has taken power over the country and that the rule of law must remain a priority.

"The power in the country has been seized in its entirety," said a military statement read on NTV television, without giving further details.

The statement added that the military aims to "reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms," and "to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for the law and order to be reinstated."

"All international agreements and commitments will remain. We pledge that good relations with all world countries will continue," the military statement added.

Erdogan vows to overcome situation

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reportedly safe and will make a televised statement soon.

Speaking on cellphone to CNN Turk, the Turkish president said this is an act encouraged by "parallel structure".

He also called on the Turkish people to take to flood the streets and defy a curfew that has been imposed nationwide, adding that the attempted coup will be resolved within a short time.

Reports say the Turkish president is returning to Ankara, contradicting earlier reports that he was leaving the country.

Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News quoted Erdogan as telling CNN Turk that the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen was to blame for the attempted coup.

“We will not leave the ground to them,” Erdogan further said, vowing to end the “occupation” by the “minority group”.

The country’s state news agency reports that Turkey's chief of military staff, Hulusi Akar, is being “held hostage” at the military headquarters.

A correspondent for Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT has told Reuters that soldiers are inside the broadcaster’s building.

Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said an "illegal attempt" by "a group" in the military was underway in the country and security forces were taking necessary measures to resolve the situation.

He said those involved in the coup attempt will "pay the highest price".

Turkish broadcaster NTV is airing footage of tanks at the entrance to Istanbul’s Ataturk airport.

Gunfire can be heard across the Turkish capital of Ankara as military warplanes and helicopters are flying low over the city.

Helicopters have also been flying over Istanbul, the country's biggest city, whose Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges are reported to have been closed by military forces.

Global reactions pouring in

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed his deep concern about the crisis in neighboring Turkey in a message on his twitter account, saying "stability, democracy and the safety of the Turkish people are paramount."

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sain on Saturday that bloodshed should be avoided in Turkey, and that the situation should be settled within a constitutional framework. He also called on his countrymen in Turkey to stay indoors.

The Russian foreign minister made the statement during a joint press conference with his US counterpart John Kerry, who also expressed hope for peace in Turkey.

“I hope there will be stability and peace and continuity within Turkey, but I have nothing to add on what has transpired at this moment,” Kerry was quoted by US media as saying.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for "restraint" in Turkey after the attempted coup.

"In constant contact with EU Delegation in Ankara & Brussels from Mongolia. Call for restraint and respect for democratic institutions #Turkey," she wrote in a tweeted from a regional summit in Ulaanbaatar.

This story is being updated.

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