16 July 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appears to have survived a lightning coup attempt by a section of the military, after he called on the public to take to the streets in defiance.Erdoğan was on vacation in Bodrum in southwestern Turkey when part of the army, air force, and gendarmerie seized key positions in Istanbul. The forces occupied bridges across the Bosphorus and stationed tanks at the Ataturk Airport — closing it to all flights — as jet fighters flew as low as 1,000 feet above the city. The military’s Chief of General Staff was taken hostage.
Soldiers took over State TV, evicting staff and having an anchorwoman read a statement about their seizure of power. The statement said that, to “restore democratic order” and ensure human rights, martial law was being imposed with a Peace Council running the country.
Erdoğan responded initially with a statement via the Internet and iPhone, calling on the public to resist. Declaring that the uprising was by “junior officers”, linked to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, h asserted, “We will overcome this. Those who attempted this act will pay the highest price.”
The President, who has been in power since 2003, then returned to Istanbul and held a quickly-arranged press conference to denounce the “act of treason”. He said that arrests of officers were underway.
Erdoğan later speaking to supporters at the airport:
Footage of dissident soldiers surrendering on the Bosphorus Bridge:
Gulen, once an ally of Erdoğan but now accused by the President of plotting against him, denied any role in the uprising. He said in an e-mailed statement:
I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey. Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force.
“I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly.
100s of Dissidents Arrested
Loyal soldiers took control of the airport soon after Erdogan landed, although rebels were still firing from the air early Saturday.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said fighter jets had been scrambled to intercept those were resisting.
Meanwhile, there was gunfire and explosions in both Istanbul and Turkey’s capital Ankara, with reported fights between dissident soldiers and loyal police.
A senior official said 42 people were killed in Ankara alone, included some civilians and 17 police at a special forces headquarters. More deaths were reported in Istanbul.
State news agency Anadolu said 754 members of the armed forces have been detained, including a brigadier general in northeastern Turkey.
Anadolu said 29 colonels and five generals have been removed from their posts.
Reuters journalists saw about 30 pro-coup soldiers surrender their weapons after being surrounded by police in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. They were taken away in police vans.
MPs were still hiding in shelters inside the Parliament building in Ankara, which was being fired on by tanks. An opposition MP said people had been wounded.
The main opposition party CHP rejected the coup soon after the dissident military’s statement was read on State TV.