|Home page World|
Turkish PM says military coup underway, vows those responsible will pay highest price
Turkey's military said on Friday it had seized power, but the prime minister said the attempted coup would be put down.
If successful, the overthrow of President Tayyip Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would amount to one of the biggest shifts in power in the Middle East in years.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the elected government remained in office. There was no immediate word from Erdogan. The Turkish sister channel of CNN said he was "safe".
The armed forces had taken power in the country to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights, the military said in a statement sent by email and reported on Turkish TV channels. All of Turkey's existing foreign relations would be maintained and the rule of law would remain the priority, it said.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said the chief of Turkey's military staff was among people taken "hostage" in the capital Ankara. CNN Turk also reported that hostages were being held at the military headquarters.
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."
Those behind the attempted coup would pay the highest price, he added.
Footage on local television channels showed military vehicles blocking bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul and tanks deployed at the city's main airport. In the capital Ankara, warplanes and helicopters roared overhead. A Reuters journalist heard gunshots.
A Turkish official who did not want to be named said soldiers had been deployed in other cities in Turkey, but did not specify which ones.
Dogan News Agency reported the national police directorate had summoned all police to duty in Ankara.
Gunshots were heard in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday, a witness said, as military jets and helicopters were seen flying overhead.
Witnesses in Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city, also spotted helicopters overhead.
Broadcaster NTV reported that both of Istanbul's bridges across the Bosphorus, the strait separating the European and Asian sides of the city, had been closed to traffic.
It was not immediately clear if the events were related.
Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge were both closed on Friday, local television channels reported, without giving a reason.
Dogan News Agency footage showed cars and buses being diverted.
2016.07.16 / 09:15