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Failed Military Coup in Turkey…Erdogan: We Trust Our army | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People rally on a tank after they take over military position on the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul on July 16, 2016. (AFP / Bulent KILIC)

Ankara and Athena – The Turks witnessed a terrifying night, one they are likely to remember for years to come, after a failed coup attempted on Friday.

Incidents happened rapidly like one of those horror movies with planes buzzing and bullets everywhere.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed his long-running rival U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup.

He said that that those loyal to Gulen had ‘penetrated the Armed Forces and the police, among other government agencies, over the past 40 years.” Erdogan then added, ‘What is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason,” and he warned that those participating in the coup will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.

Turkish President then called on President Obama to arrest or hand over Gulen who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S. had not yet received an extradition request but would consider sending Gulen back.

“We haven’t received any request with respect to Mr. Gulen,” Kerry said. “We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen. And obviously we would invite the government of Turkey, as we always do, to present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny. And the United States will accept that and look at it.”

Military sources told Anadolu Agency, that the plans for a coup were made by Chief of Staff of the Turkish Advisor Colonel Muharram Kusa, who has been dismissed from position a short time ago.

More than 1,500 members of the armed forces were arrested, among them 29 colonels and five generals, including Rear Admiral Nejat Atilla Demirhan and General Memduh Hakbilen.

According to Anadolu, the failed coup left over 90 dead and 11154 injured persons. NTV channel reported that an F16 helicopter carrying a number of soldiers participating in the coup was shut down.

Following the failed coup, authorities began series of arrests while the parliament held its urgent session.

Prime Minister Binali Yildrim described the failed military coup as a “democracy fest” day for Turkey.

“Our people gave the best response to this terror gang. July 15 has now turned into the fest of our democracy,” he said. He praised and thanked the citizens who stood in front of tanks in Istanbul and elsewhere in the country.

“Those who have committed terror by using the state’s weapons, tanks, warplanes, ammunition against the Turkish people were much more inglorious than the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party),” Yildirim added.

PM confirmed that all officials continue their work normally and things are getting better. He confirmed that over 130 anti-government forces were arrested and asked civilians to be patient.

Turkey’s four parties issued a joint statement denouncing the coup. Chairman of Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu, rejected the coup attempt.

“We absolutely do not accept a new military coup. Supporting democracy is everybody’s duty,” he said.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli said that he spoke with Prime Minister Yildirim after the coup and stressed that his party supports democracy and people’s free will.

Also, Former Turkish President Abdullah Gul told CNN Turk that “Turkey is not a Latin America country … I’m calling those who attempt to overthrow the government should go back to their barracks.”

Admiral Bulent Bostanoglu said that all military coups are rejected whether in Ankara or Istanbul.

Following the coup, hundreds of Turkish citizens took the streets to denounce the attempt, while Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that he and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias have been in constant communication, working in a “good atmosphere.”

Cavusoglu said on his twitter account that Nikos had informed him that Athens will work for the extradition of the eight people, thought to be part of the coup, who landed a Black Hawk military helicopter in Greece.

Saturday morning, a Turkish Blackhawk military helicopter landed in Alexandroupolis airport in Greece with eight passengers on board. The eight passengers were seeking asylum

The eight men, including two majors, a captain, and five privates were arrested by Greek police on charges of entering the country illegally. Greek government spokesperson said that the Greece will return military helicopter to Turkey.