As it happened: Turkey coup bid crumbles as crowds answer call to streets

  • Agencies, Ankara / Istanbul
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2016 16:07 IST
A man stands in front of a Turkish army tank at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, Turkey. (Reuters)

An attempted Turkish military coup appeared to crumble on Saturday after crowds answered President Tayyip Erdogan’s call to take to the streets to support him and dozens of rebel soldiers abandoned their tanks in the main city of Istanbul.

Erdogan told the nation his government is in charge after the coup attempt brought a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire across the capital that left dozens dead.

A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would have marked one of the biggest shifts in the Middle East in years, transforming one of the most important US allies while war rages on its border. A failed coup attempt could still destabilise a pivotal country.

Read | Martial law ‘imposed’ in Turkey, PM says will not allow ‘illegal attempt’

Highlights on the incident

3.08pm: Situation ‘completely under control’ after coup attempt: Turkey PM

2.13pm: Turkey coup bid increases threat to regional stability: Russian foreign ministry

1.32pm: Turkey’s acting army chief says coup attempt foiled

12:20pm: 90 dead, 1,154 wounded in Turkey coup attempt: State news agency.

12:15pm: Nearly 200 soldiers at Turkey military HQ surrender: State news agency .

12: 12pm: Turkish parliament at extraordinary session after coup attempt.

12:10pm: A total of 1,563 military officers detained across Turkey: government official.

11.35am: Turkey’s intelligence agency headquarters were attacked by military helicopters and heavy machinegun fire during an attempted military coup overnight, wounding at least three people, an intelligence source tells Reuters.

11.11am: Turkey’s military headquarters are now held by pro-government forces but small groups of rebel soldiers behind an overnight coup attempt are still resisting and control some military helicopters, a senior Turkish official says.

11:10am: Turkish security forces on Saturday rescued the country’s top army general in an operation in Ankara after a coup attempt, taking him to a safe location, the private CNN-Turk television reported.

General Hulusi Akar was rescued after an operation was launched in Akinci air base, northwest of the capital, it said. Earlier reports said he had been taken hostage in the earlier stages of the coup bid late Friday.

11am: Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish military chief is rescued in operation at air base.

10.47am: Turkey’s Police chief Celalettin Lekesiz says 16 coup plotters have been killed in clashes at Turkey’s military police command.

10.23am: Malaysia Airports, the operator of Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, says operations at the airport will continue to process flights in and out of Turkey despite the attempted coup

Supporters of Tukish President Tayyip Erdogan celebrate after soldiers involved in the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey. (Reuters)

10.16am: State-run Anadolu Agency reports 754 members of armed forces have been arrested across Turkey.

10.10am: Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric and former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, denied being behind the attempted coup in Turkey and condemned it “in the strongest terms”.

9.45am: At least 60 people killed, 336 arrested in Turkey during attempted military coup overnight.

9.30am: Turkey appoints new acting army chief of staff after coup bid. Commander of Turkey’s 1st Army, General Umit Dundar, has been appointed. Whereabouts of the head of the armed forces was unknown.

9.17am: Turkish coup soldiers in Istanbul surrender on Bosphorus bridge: TV

9.13am: Turkish F-16s launch air strikes against tanks outside palace: presidential source

9am: Turkey’s Erdogan urges supporters not to leave public squares until situation returns to normal.

8.49am: Jets bomb near Turkish presidential palace in Ankara.

8.45am: Turkey’s Erdogan says still a small disturbance in Ankara, hopefully will be overcome soon.

Maps showing events in Turkey on Saturday (AFP)

8.40am: Bomb attacks on Turkey’s parliament are continuing, a senior Turkish official says.

8.37am: State-run Anadolu Agency says PM Yildirim has called all legislators for an emergency meeting on Saturday.

8.35am: Violence continues in Istanbul; explosion heard in the city.

8.30am: Footage shows the moment a parliament session is attacked:

8.05am: NTV television quotes prosecutor’s office in Ankara saying at least 42 people have been killed in ‘attacks’ in the capital.

8am: Yildirim tells CNN Turk they expect soldiers up to the rank of colonels to have been involved in the coup attempt, but he has no information on who organised it.

7.40am: Rebel soldiers in Ankara and Istanbul are still firing from the air, although fighter jets have taken off to deal with rogue military aircraft, Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim says. He says more than 120 arrested and “things are getting better every minute.”

7.30am: A lawyer for the Turkish government says “there are indications of direct involvement” in the coup attempt of cleric Fethullah Gulen who is living in exile in Pennsylvania.

7.20: Erdogan says prime minister has given orders to “eradicate” those who are shooting from the air.

Turkish solders stay with weapons at Taksim square as people protest against the military coup in Istanbul. (AFP Photo)

7.15am: Erdogan vows will not leave Turkey to ‘occupiers’.

7.13am: Erdogan says attempted coup by a section of Turkey’s military is an act of treason.

7.09am: Erdogan says he doesn’t know whereabouts of Turkey army chief.

7.06am: Erdogan says his hotel on Turkey’s Aegean coast bombed after he left.

7.05am:Erdogan says many arrests of officers are underway, he will finish cleansing of the military.

7.04am: Turkish President Erdogan says this shows Gulen structure is an armed terrorist organisation.

7.03am: Turkish President Erdogan says some in military have been taking orders from Pennsylvania, home of cleric Fethullah Gulen.

People stop a tank at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, early Saturday. (AP Photo)

6.33am: Turkish private broadcaster CNN Turk halted its live news broadcast early on Saturday, as a presenter said soldiers had entered the studio control room.

The channel showed a live shot of its empty red and white studio. The sound of gunfire was heard on the audio, as well as the sound of a crowd outside the station.

6.20am: Turkish broadcaster CNN-Turk says a group of soldiers have entered the headquarters of the Dogan Media group, which owns the television channel.

The newscaster did not provide details on the number of soldiers who entered the building, which is also home to Kanal D television, the Dogan news agency and the Hurriyet newspaper.

The newscaster said she was not sure how much longer the station would be able to broadcast news.

6.16am: A place carrying Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was about to land at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport Saturday after a military coup attempt to bring down his government, a presidential source said.

Turkish soldiers surrender their weapons to policemen during an attempted coup in Istanbul's Taksim Square, Turkey. (Reuters)

6.13am : Turkey has closed border crossings with Bulgaria, says the Bulgarian foreign ministry.

6.13am: Two more explosions hit Turkey’s parliament building in the capital Ankara early on Saturday, a Reuters witness reported, after an earlier blast rocked the building.

Separately, a member of parliament reached by telephone told Reuters that lawmakers were hiding in shelters at the parliament.

6.05am: EU chiefs Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker on Saturday backed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and urged a “swift return” to normal after a coup attempt.

“Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law,” they said in a joint statement with EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini.

“We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order.”

5.57am: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s plane has landed in Istanbul, a Turkish official said.

Separately, broadcaster NTV reported that two people were killed in clashes in the city earlier.

5.46am: Staff at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport hope to resume international departures soon, European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol said early on Saturday.

This still frame taken from amateur video obtained by Reuters shows a tank driving past people, in Ankara, Turkey. (Reuters)

All arriving flights are being diverted until then because there is no room for any more aircraft at the congested airport following the suspension of departures since 2031 GMT on Friday, the agency said in a bulletin to airlines.

“Ataturk hope to re-commence international departures shortly, but until they do, all inbound flights to Ataturk are being diverted,” Eurocontrol said, although the “situation is unclear”.

5.45am:  Turkish media reports have cited MIT, the national intelligence agency, as saying the coup has been defeated.

The MIT website was not immediately accessible from Turkey.

MIT spokesman Nuh Yilmaz said that Gen. Hulusi Akar, the military chief of staff, was back in control.

Yilmaz said “Gen. Akar is back on top of his duties.” He added: “everything is returning to normal”.

5.40am: The movement of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen has denied any involvement in the Turkish military coup attempt.

The Alliance for Shared Values says “we condemn any military intervention in (the) domestic politics of Turkey.”

5.36am: As the crisis unfolded in Turkey, there were reports that access to popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook had been blocked within the country. Facebook declined comment, but Twitter said it suspected “intentional” interference with its service.

The company said in a statement that “we have no reason to think we’ve been fully blocked in #Turkey, but we suspect there is an intentional slowing of our traffic in country.”

A spokesperson would not elaborate.

Separately, YouTube said in a statement: “We are aware of reports that YouTube is down in Turkey, however, our systems seem to be functioning normally.”

5.26am: ‘Situation largely under control’ after Turkey coup attempt, says Turkish PM Yildirim, adding that an attempted coup against the government was an act of rebellion by followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Yildirim also told broadcaster NTV that a no-fly zone had been declared over the capital, Ankara.

5.26am: US defence department Pentagon says there is no impact on Incirlik air base in Turkey and counter-ISIL air operations from there will continue.

Pentagon said that it is taking steps to ensure safety, security of service members, civilians, their families and facilities in Turkey.

5.20am:  Turkey’s MIT spy agency says situation ‘back to normal’ after coup attempt: Spokesman

5.16am: A bomb has hit Turkey’s parliament building in Ankara, state-run Anadolu Agency said, and Reuters witnesses in Istanbul reported the sound of a large blast echoing through the city..

5.06am: The military has taken position at the base of the Taksim monument at Taksim square in Istanbul, occasionally firing into the air to disperse a growing crowd of government supporters.

Military helicopters are flying overhead and many police are in position, separate from the military.

Meanwhile, a nearby mosque just made an anti-coup announcement.

5.05am: The Gulf state of Qatar said on Saturday it denounced and condemned a military coup attempt in Turkey, according to Qatar state news agency QNA.

Turkey set up a military base in Qatar in April as part of a defence agreement aimed at helping the two countries confront “common enemies”.

4.51am: German government spokesperson on Twitter: “The democratic order in Turkey must be respected, all must be done to protect lives”.

4.45am: Turkey’s armed forces do not condone the coup against the government, the commander of the special forces said, after a group the government has described as a small military faction said it had seized power.

General Zekai Aksakalli made the comment to broadcaster NTV, adding that the attempted coup would not succeed and that his special forces were in the service of the people

4.38am: US President Barack Obama on Friday urged all parties in Turkey to back the “democratically-elected” government, after troops in the country launched a coup.

Detailing a call between Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, the White House said both agreed “all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed.”

4.35am: Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency says 17 policemen killed at Ankara special forces headquarters; however, there was no independent confirmation of the incident.

4.33am: Turkish F-16s shoot down helicopter carrying ‘coup plotters’: NTV television

4.24am: Turkish news agency Dogan has reported that soldiers have opened fired on people trying to cross Istanbul’s Bosporus bridge in protest of the attempted coup, and some have been wounded.

TV footage showed people running for cover as shots rang out.

4.18am: The Kremlin said it was gravely concerned about events in Turkey, and that it had instructed officials to help Russian nationals in Turkey return home at the earliest opportunity.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call that President Vladimir Putin was being kept constantly updated on the situation in Turkey, where the government has said a military coup attempt is underway.

Peskov said events were moving too fast to fully understand what was happening, but he said Russia was concerned and wanted to see Turkey return to the path of stability and order, and for there to be a lawful outcome.

4.17am: Prime Minister Yildirim says Turkey is not a third-world country, people who have depicted Turkey in this way will pay a heavy price.

“This is now the time to give necessary response to this heinous and immoral structure”, said the PM, reports Reuters.

4.09am:  Commander of Turkey’s “First Army” division says those attempting coup are small faction, “nothing to worry about”.

4.08am: Turkey’s AK Party is still in charge of the government, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said, after the military said it had seized power in a coup on Friday.

4.02am: Tanks opened fire around the parliament builiding in the capital Ankara, a Reuters witness said.

Gunfire was also heard at Ataturk airport in Istanbul, according to another Reuters witness.

3.55am: Turkey’s minister for EU Affairs, Omer Celik, called on soldiers to disobey orders after the military announced on Friday that it was seizing control of the government in a coup.

Celik made the comment on broadcaster NTV.

3.50am: Loud explosions have been heard in Turkey’s capital Ankara and CNN-Turk reports an explosion occurred at the state-run television building.

Turkey’s state-run news agency report military helicopters have also attacked the headquarters of TURKSAT satellite station on the outskirts of Ankara and the Ankara Police headquarters.

Dozen of tanks were seen moving toward a palace that is now used by the prime minister and deputy prime ministers. A civilian car tried to stop one of the tanks, but it rammed through the vehicle as those in the car escaped, reports AP.

3.38am: Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweets, “Our Embassy in Ankara advises Indian nationals in Turkey to avoid public places and remain indoors until the situation there becomes clearer”.

Read | Indian embassy in Turkey asks Indians to remain indoors

3.39am: State-run news agency reports military helicopters have attacked headquarters of TURKSAT satellite station.

3.37am: UN chief Ban Ki-Moon appeals for calm in Turkey, United Nations seeking to clarify situation, says the spokesperson of the world body.

3:28 am: Turkish president’s office isn’t disclosing Erdogan’s whereabouts, saying he is at a secure location, reports AP.

3.27am: A strong explosion was heard in the Turkish capital on Friday after the army said it had seized power and declared martial law and a curfew, AFP journalists reported.

It was not immediately known what caused the explosion but jets that had been present in the skies throughout the late evening were still flying over Ankara.

3.24am: A British Airways flight to Istanbul has diverted to Sofia, Bulgaria, and a Lufthansa flight to Istanbul is returning to its origin in Frankfurt, company spokeswomen told Reuters.

3.24am: Turkish state broadcaster TRT was taken off the air, after an announcer read a statement from the military saying it had taken over the government in a coup.

3.14am: Celebratory gunfire was heard in Damascus early on Saturday after Turkey’s army said it had seized power from President Tayyip Erdogan, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main regional opponents, reports Reuters.

Witnesses said people also took to the streets in the Syrian capital and in the government-held section of the northern city of Aleppo.

3.01am: Erdogan says he believes attempted uprising will be resolved within a short time.

3.02am: Erdogan says he does not believe coup plotters will be successful and those who attempt coup will pay heavy prices in courts.

2.59am: President Erdogan calls on people to go out on streets. He says, attempted uprising will be given necessary response and that “we will overcome this”.

2.58am: Turkey’s President Erdogan says this is an act encouraged by “parallel structure”. He was speaking to CNN Turk on phone.

2.55am: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is safe, a presidential source said on Friday, adding that a statement made on behalf of the armed forces announcing a takeover of the government was not authorised by the military command.

The source also urged the world to “stand in solidarity” with the Turkish people.

2.54am: A coup attempt in Turkey involves substantial part of the military and “not just a few colonels”, a European Union source monitoring events in the EU candidate country said.

2.48am: White House says President Obama apprised of unfolding situation in Turkey and will receive regular updates

2.43am: Announcer on Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT says martial law has been imposed in the country

2.34am: Russian foreign minister Lavrov says bloodshed should be avoided in Turkey, any issues should be settled within constitutional framework

2.33am: Head of Istanbul branch of Turkey’s ruling AK party says soldiers have entered party building, asked them to leave: CNN Turk

2.33am: France’s foreign ministry has advised its citizens in Turkey to stay indoors following serious developing situation in Ankara and Istanbul: Diplomatic source

2.28am: Access to Facebook, Twitter and Youtube restricted in Turkey: Internet monitoring groups

2.27am: US Secretary of State John Kerry says “I hope there will be peace and stability and continuity within Turkey”.

2.23am : Turkish military releases statement, saying armed forces have ‘fully seized control’ of running the country: Report

2.22am: The Turkish lira fell to a three-week low versus the US dollar trading on Friday

2.20am: All flights from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport cancelled, says Reuters citing pilot at airport.

2.15am: Reports on Turkish state news agency that the country’s top general ‘held hostage’ at military HQ.

2.10am: The Turkish military on Friday said that it had assumed power over Turkey, in what the prime minister has termed an illegal act.

“The power in the country has been seized in its entirety,” said a military statement read on NTV television, without giving further details. The military’s website was not immediately accessible.

1.47am: A group within Turkey’s military has attempted to overthrow the government and security forces have been called in to “do what is necessary”, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday.

“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV.

“The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so.”

1.44am: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says a group within the military engaged in an attempted coup, reports AP.

1.38am: Turkey PM denounces ‘illegal attempt’ by ‘a group’ in military, reports AFP.

1.22am: Gunshots were heard in the Turkish capital Ankara on Friday, a Reuters witness said, as military jets and helicopters were seen flying overhead.

Reuters witnesses in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city, also spotted helicopters overhead.

Broadcaster NTV reported that both of Istanbul’s bridges across the Bosphorus had been closed to traffic.

Read | EU urges ‘respect for democratic institutions’ in Turkey

Read | Social media access restricted in Turkey

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