Ankara –A section of Turkey’s military tried on Friday July 15, to overthrow President Tayyip Erdogan who has been in power since 2003. The coup wasn’t successful and led to the arrest od several generals and lieutenants in the army.
Insurgent soldiers took the Bosphorus bridge as tanks fired and an armed civilian vehicle of the police engaged in battle with them. That led to the injury of three persons. Afterwards, they closed the bridge and clash with the police. Shortly after the police was able to control the situation.
Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim then spoke saying “Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command.” He assured that the government elected by the people remains in charge.
Later, an explosion in police special forces training center in Ankara’s Golbasi district was heard.
Events happened quickly later with insurgents taking head of the armed forces General Hulusi Akar a hostage. They then took control of Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport and stopped all flights in and out of Turkey.
Insurgents issue a statement released through state-owned television channel saying the army has taken charge of the country and declared Erdoğan’s government has eroded Turkey’s secular traditions. They claimed the country was being governed by a “peace council”. Sources at the presidency described the statement as piracy.
Few hours after the coup started, Erdogan appeared on CNN Turk television via FaceTime and calls on Turks to respond to the coup by rallying in public. “I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports,” Erdogan says. “There is no power higher than the power of the people,” he continues, adding that the judiciary “will swiftly respond to this attack”.
Meanwhile, insurgents and security forces clashed in Ankara and Istanbul leading to the arrest of several of them.
U.S. sources claimed that Erdogan’s plane was not granted authorization to land in Ankara’s airport and reports said he might have sought asylum in Germany.
International responses soon rose calling for respecting the constitution and supporting Erdogan and the government.
Despite continuous fighting, prime minister announced that the situation is getting better. Later, a coup F16 helicopter was shot down and soldiers who took control of the national tv and radio were arrested. Another helicopter that took off from the military base was shot.
The insurgents continue to attack the Turkish parliament, while the prime minister called all members of parliament for an emergency meeting.
U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon was following the developments in Turkey with concerns. His office issued a statement saying that “At this moment of uncertainty in the country, the Secretary-General appeals for calm, non-violence and restraint.”
Warplanes targeted the presidential palace killing five persons while clashes continued on the Bosphorus bridge. Security forces then surrounced the presidential palace and closed all roads leading to it.
Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag announced that 336 persons have been detained. Afterwards, police clashed with soldiers in military camp leading to the arrest of the soldiers trying to escape the camp. Police also arrested all soldiers in the telecommunication commission.
More than 1,500 members of the armed forces were arrested, among them 29 colonels and five generals, and 200 soldiers who had surrendered.
Rear Admiral Nejat Atilla Demirhan and General Memduh Hakbilen, the chief of staff of Turkey’s command for the Aegean region, were among the detainees.
The coup ended with 90 people dead, 41 of them police and 47 are civilians.