The attempted coup led by a faction of the Turkish military is reported to have failed after citizens took to the streets to isolate and block rebel forces.
Radio and TV stations shut down by the rebels are back on the air and have broadcast statements by President Tayyip Erdogan claiming that his government remains in control of the country.
At least five generals, almost 30 colonels and more than 700 other military personnel have been detained after the insurrection failed. The Red Crescent (The Islamic version of the Red Cross organisation) and a Government news agency have reported at least 90 people, including many police who attempted to thwart the rebels, were shot dead overnight, and about 1150 wounded.
Images distributed on social media show terrified young rebel soldiers taken into custody and manhandled by citizens after the coup was declared to have failed.
— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) July 16, 2016
Mr Erdogan has blamed elements of the Islamic movement Gulen, led by an exiled Islamic activist Fethullah Gulen, now resident in the United States, who fled Turkey in 199 when facing charges of leading a conspiracy against the secular government. His movement promotes infiltration of government and administration by stealth, suggesting supporters work their way up through the hierarchy until they are in a position to seize control and impose Islamic rule.
Mr Gulen’s supporters in the US today denied he had any involvement in or responsibility for the attempted coup.
News of the coup broke about 6am Australian Eastern Time.
This morning The Newsroom reported:
President Tayyip Erdogan has broadcast live via Facetime, relayed by state TV, and appealed to citizens to take to streets to block forces attempting to seize control of public buildings and main roads.
Images broadcast via Twitter show tanks mowing through crowds as protesting civilians cling to the gun turrets in defiance.
— Yunus Paksoy (@yunuspaksoy) July 15, 2016
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs has appealed to any Australians in the country to lie low and stay safe, and urged anyone else to reconsider travel. Airlines have suspended flights in and out of the capital and military jets are reported to be buzzing the capital, Ankara.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim issued a statement claiming the uprising was limited to a “small group” within the military but senior European Union intelligence sources have said the coup appears to involve a substantial portion of the Turkish military.
The national Television and radio service now appears to have been taken over by the rebels and broadcast a statement that the military had taken over to protect the country because Mr Erdogan’s government had failed to ensure democratic and secular rule of law. It said Turkey was to be run by a “peace council” under its control. The broadcaster then went off the air.
Turkey’s governments have for many years attempted to unite diverse forces within the country, from the more westernised political movements demanding greater democracy to a substantial Muslim wing demanding a stricter Islamic style of government. Complicating this is the substantial Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish refugee population swelling Turkey’s own fractious Kurdish population, largely based in the south-east of the country, who seek autonomy.
Mr Erdogan has been under growing pressure not only from disaffected members of his own government but also from the Islamic movement Gulen, which promotes infiltration of government and administration by stealth. He is widely considered to have become too autocratic since assuming the presidency.
Adding to that pressure was the fact that the Turkish military – proud flag-bearers of the secularism promoted by modern Turkey’s founder, Kemal Ataturk – were waiting in the wings. The army has never hesitated to step in when it believes the Government of the day has strayed from its vision of a Turkey that does not bow to any religious persuasion or shows signs of promoting factional rule.
Since the rise of the Islamic State extremist movement in Syria, Turkey has regularly been rocked by terrorism attacks, many claimed by ISIS but several attributed to Kurdish dissidents. Both military and police have been unable to guarantee security and the safety of citizens against terrorism under Mr Erdogan’s government. If the coup succeeds, the army will be under pressure to show it can do a better job without resorting to brute force. – Compiled from agency and other internet sources by The Newsroom Team
Photo tweeted by Ceylan Yeginsu of the New York Times.