A Turkish “military group” is claiming that they have taken the country from the national government, though Prime Minister Binali Yildirim claims the government is still in control. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is safe after fleeing the country in a private jet and gave a declaration via Facetime.
Erdogan making a statement through Facetime. Says the military coup will be thwarted. Perpetrators will be punished. pic.twitter.com/d5dmVfMMV8
— Mahir Zeynalov (@MahirZeynalov) July 15, 2016
Agence France-Presse reported that a helicopter containing the plotters of the coup had been shot down, which would seem to indicate a swift end is forthcoming for the attempted coup.
#BREAKING Turkish F-16s shoot down helicopter carrying 'coup plotters': NTV television
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 15, 2016
Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, Hulusi Akar, was being held hostage at the military’s HQ, but has now been released, according to Turkish intelligence sources.
— Erdinc Ergenc (@erdierge) July 16, 2016
Military vehicles were used to block bridges in Istanbul, while jets have been seen flying over the Turkish capital of Ankara.
Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport was briefly shut down by military forces, but their forces have been repelled and withdrew from the area. Air traffic control organization Eurocontrol hopes to resume flights shortly, according to Reuters.
US State Dept. says there are reports that social media is blocked in Turkey; urges to use email, phone call, SMS to contact loved ones.
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) July 15, 2016
The armed forces said in their statement that they have taken power in order to protect the democratic order of Turkey and to safeguard human rights. However, there have been numerous videos posted to social media of coup forces shooting at civilians, and Turkish mosques, international governments including the United States, and even Erdogan opposition group leaders have all condemned the coup.
Significant in @Turkey tonight that top military and leaders of all major political parties, not just governing AKP, seem opposed to coup.
— Peter Westmacott (@PeterWestmacott) July 15, 2016
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW