By Independent Turkey
A faction within the military announced this evening over Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT that the military have assumed control. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and other government spokespeople have asserted that the government is still in power and observers are claiming the attempt has already failed.
The Bosphorous and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges in Istanbul were closed by the military earlier this evening. Quickly followed by reports of tanks in the streets in Ankara and low-flying helicopters and military planes in Istanbul and Ankara. Airports have been closed and the Chief of Staff is reportedly in detention.
Early reports are claiming that 17 police have been killed at the Special Forces HQ in Ankara. There have also been witness reports of tanks firing in crowds. Multiple reports coming in of helicopters firing at ground targets in Ankara.
Twitter users report gunfire in Taksim. Videos on social media also show large crowds on the streets in opposition to the coup. Military helicopters have opened fire in Ankara and at least one explosion has been reported in the city. Witnesses have also reported hearing heavy gunfire in Ankara.
Tanks have been seen in Ankara and Istanbul.
President Erdoğan made a statement over Facetime via CNN Türk, calling on his supporters to take to the streets. Other government officials said the same. In the early minutes of the coup at around 9pm GMT, Prime Minister Yıldırım said that heavy punishment would be meted out on those responsible.
Erdoğan stated, “We had suspicions that something like this would happen…I will be in the streets, the Prime Minister will be in the streets…I invite everyone. I call on the honorable generals to stand up against this movement.”
Interior Minister Efkan Ala supported him, saying “I invite everyone out into the public spaces in order to take possession of your democracy.”
Social media has seen images of snaking queues of people withdrawing cash from ATMs and stocking up on food in case services crash.
There are suspicions that the coup has links to the Gülenist movements, whom President Erdogan has accused of running a parallel state. In relation to this President Erdoğan commented “Turkey will not be a country governed from Pennsylvania” referencing the current location of Fethullah Gülen.
The army has said it has acted out of concern for Turkey’s democracy and the rising instability and terrorism in the country. However, senior army commander Dundar said that the army does not support a coup. MP’s from the opposition MHP, HDP and CHP have denounced the action. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu stated that: “As a people we suffered the dire consequences of coups in the past. We do not want to live through the same distress.” Large crowds have taken to the streets, apparently in resistance. Whether they are against the military or heeding President Erdoğan’s call, or both, is unclear.
A source told Reuters, “It looks like a relatively well orchestrated coup by a substantial body of the military, not just a few colonels.” However others have questioned the legitimacy of the coup, with events seemingly turning quickly in favour of pro-government protesters.
Moments ago, images emerged of what seems to be Turkish citizens holding Turkish flags and occupying tanks:
And the crowds are currently in Istanbul’s Taksim Square:
The police department has seemingly called for people to come to the squares and protest.
The call has seemingly worked as groups gather across the country in protest of the alleged coup.
And anti-coup crowds in Ankara:
More news to follow.