Turkish PM: ‘This is an attempted military coup’
The Turkish military apparently staged a coup on Friday night, deploying military onto the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s largest city and capital respectively.
The Turkish armed forces released an official statement saying it had seized power and taken over the government.
“Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law, and the general security that was damaged,” the statement read.
“All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relations with all countries will continue.”
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who took office in May, confirmed reports of an “attempt” at an “uprising” by sections of the military.
“We’re considering it as an uprising attempt, we will not allow it to succeed,” Yildirim said on private television channel NTV. “The insurgency by the military won’t be tolerated.”
“The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so. Our security forces will use force against force.”
The military closed two major bridges leading into Istanbul and has reportedly been telling residents that a “curfew has been imposed” and to “go home.”
Yıldırım said intelligence agencies have been cleared to confront the military in Turkey’s cities. Turkish president Recep Erdogan is apparently out of the country.
On Twitter, Ankara’s mayor called for citizens to take the streets in protest.
“Assuming this is a coup, don’t underestimate the power of the government to get its supporters into the streets,” Michael Koplow, policy director of the Israel Policy Forum and an analyst of Middle Eastern politics analyst, tweeted. “Erdogan has millions of true believers.”
Gunshots were heard Ankara, Turkey’s capital, a witness told Reuters, as military jets and helicopters were seen flying overhead.
The military was reportedly disarming regular police officers, and Istanbul’s governor said the military was trying to arrest government officials.
YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have reportedly been blocked, and reports have emerged that the military has seized and turned off the state-run TRT television station.
“Shutting state media is a hallmark of coups,” Istanbul-based professor Lucas Thorpe noted on Twitter. Turkey’s military has a long history of coup attempts, with at least three since 1960.
A Turkish airfield has been closed to military planes, according to Turkish media reports, and all military flights have been ordered to land immediately. Turkey’s airport has been closed, and no flights are taking off, Reuters reported.
Details to follow