Turkey is in the throws of a coup d’état. The army is trying to take over the government by force. So far signals are mixed as to what is really happening.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has flown in to Istanbul, after an army group said it took over the country.
He was seen surrounded by supporters, and said the coup attempt was an “act of treason” in a live TV speech.
The army group earlier declared that a “peace council” now ran the country and there was a curfew and martial law.
But Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later said the situation was largely under control and a no-fly zone was in force over the capital Ankara.
Government officials in Turkey say dozens of people have been arrested, but the whereabouts of the military chief of staff remains unknown.
Soldiers were earlier seen at strategic points in Istanbul, with jets flying low in Ankara.
Two large explosion were also heard near Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. There were also reports of blasts at parliament building in Ankara. MPs were believed to be hiding in shelters.
Speaking in Istanbul in the early hours on Saturday, President Erdogan promised to clean up the army. “Those who drive around in tanks will have to go back to where they came from,” he said.
He also dismissed the coup leaders as “terrorists”.
The military group’s statement on national broadcaster TRT, read by an announcer, said that democratic and secular rule of law had been eroded by the current government. There would be new constitution, it said.
A Turkish presidential source told Reuters news agency that the statement was not authorised by the army’s command.
Turkey’s military coups
- 1993 – Claims of a “covert coup” intended to prevent a peace settlement with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
- 1980 – Military coup following armed conflict between right-wing and left-wing groups in the 1970s
- 1971 – Military coup known as the “coup by memorandum”, which the military delivered instead of sending out tanks
- 1960 – Coup by group of young military officer outside chain of command, against the democratically-elected Democrat Party