After nightlong battle, Turkey’s coup is declared foiled by PM

After nightlong battle, Turkey’s coup is declared foiled by PM

Cobrapost |
July 16, 2016

After nightlong battle, Turkey’s coup is declared foiled by PM

 Turkey’s government appears to have defeated a coup attempt by a renegade faction of the military, slowly restoring control to the major cities after a night of chaos and clashes that has plunged the already troubled country and close U.S. ally into uncertainty, reports The Washington Post.

At least 60 people were killed in the violence in the capital Ankara, including a lawmaker who died when the parliament was bombed by a helicopter and government forces have arrested 1,563 members of the armed forces around the country, said a senior Turkish official with the presidency.

“This government, brought to power by the people, is in charge,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a huge crowd of supporters gathered at Istanbul airport shortly after dawn.

“Turkey is proud of you,” roared back the crowd.

“I am here, I am with you and I want you to know this,” Erdogan said, following a night of bloodshed that saw Turkey, a major NATO member and key U.S. ally, spin briefly out of control.

Washington Post reported the updates as hours earlier, branches of the police and army had fought pitched battles for control of major government buildings in the capital, Ankara, as protesters swarmed onto the streets to confront the tanks rumbling into their cities. Helicopters flown by coup supporters fired on official buildings and into the crowds gathering to challenge the attempt to overthrow Turkey’s government, in the most significant challenge to the country’s stability in decades.

Gruesome video footage posted on social media showed tanks crushing protesters who tried to block their path, bloodied bodies strewn on the streets of Ankara and helicopters firing into civilian crowds, raising fears that the toll could be higher, reported WP.

By the early hours of Saturday morning, Turkish officials said the government had managed to claw back control from the coup plotters, whose identity and profile remained unclear.

Turkey’s Police Chief Celalettin Lekesiz told Anadolu news agency that 16 coup plotters had been killed at the military police command in clashes that were about to end and 250 members of the command had been detained.

The Interior Ministry also reported that five generals and 29 colonels had been removed from their posts.

The army chief of staff, Gen. Hulusi Akar, was rescued from an air base in Ankara where he had been held hostage since the start of the coup, added the news agency Saturday morning and would now take over operations.

A Turkish warplane shot down a helicopter carrying some of the coup leaders, the officials also said, and the state broadcaster, which had been silent for several hours after it was overrun by soldiers, was back on the air by morning.

Istanbul Ataturk Airport reopened after being closed for hours, and officials said the national airline had resumed flights.

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