LIVE BLOG: Coup attempt in Turkey

#TurkeyCoup

Middle East Eye brings you the latest news of the attempted military coup in Turkey

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Last update: 
May 23 May 2017 13:29 UTC
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In summary:

  • Government says attempted coup by group within military has failed
  • Turkish parliament holds extraordinary session on Saturday morning
  • 2,839 rebel soldiers arrested across Turkey, official says
  • At least 265 people killed, including rebel soldiers and civilians
  • Turkish Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar rescued in operation at Akinci air base
  • Soldiers opened fire on protesters on Istanbul's Bosphorus bridges, but later surrendered
  • Officials say coup was instigated by a group within military, rather than the military itself
  • President Erdogan ordered supporters on streets in TV address made via iPhone
  • Erdogan says coup attempt is 'treason', and tells supporters to remain on streets
  • US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen denies any role in Turkish coup plot.

Egypt blocks UN resolution supporting Turkish government

Egypt on Saturday blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution backed by the United States condemning the attempted coup d'etat in Turkey, diplomats said.

The United States, following consultations with officials from key NATO ally Turkey, had proposed a draft statement calling on "all parties in Turkey to respect the democratically elected government of Turkey."

But Egypt, currently a non-permanent member of the Security Council, objected.

Its relations with the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been particularly tense.

Erdogan supports the Muslim Brotherhood of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed by the Egyptian army in 2013.

The Turkish leader has denounced that move as a "coup d'etat," drawing the wrath of the Egyptian general behind the ouster, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is now president.

During the UN debate, Egypt argued that it was "not for the Security Council to decide whether the government is democratically elected," and it demanded that the relevant language be deleted, a diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Despite US insistence, Egypt would not budge.

Turkey and several Security Council members including the United States worried the statement would have been too weak without wording explicitly supporting the Turkish government.

"So there won't be any statement," the diplomat said.

LIVE STREAM: Festive moods in Taksim

Merkel, EU urge Erdogan to treat coup plotters lawfully

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and senior EU officials on Saturday condemned "in the strongest terms" the failed coup in Turkey, but called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to deal with the plotters lawfully.

The treatment "of those responsible for the tragic events of last night can and should only be handled according to the rule of law," she said after the coup bid, which left more than 250 people dead.

Several senior military figures, and a top judge have been detained since the coup attempt, and over 2,500 other judges across the country dismissed.

The government also said that almost 3,000 soldiers had been arrested in a major purge of the armed forces.

Addressing Erdogan but not mentioning him by name, Merkel said that "democracy, which respects everybody's rights and protects minorities, is the best foundation (for the rule of law)".

Germany stands by "all those who, in Turkey, defend democracy and the rule of law," she said, adding that political change should only take place through parliament.

Senior European figures echoed Merkel's message, with EU parliament president Martin Schulz stressing that the Turkish government "must not use this occasion to breach democratic rule, restrict freedom of speech and fundamental rights".

"One-man rule and arbitrary decisions are not acceptable in a country which is not only a strategic ally but also an accession candidate to the European Union," he said.

Earlier, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in a joint statement with the bloc's enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn, condemned the coup attempt and voiced support for Turkey's "democratic institutions".

The statement urged restraint from the police and security forces in their response to the coup plotters, "to prevent further casualties".

"Societal tensions can only be addressed through democratic processes," Mogherini said.

LIVE: Protests in Taksim, Istanbul

Erdogan calls on US to extradite preacher Gulen in Istanbul speech

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday urged the United States to extradite the preacher Fethullah Gulen, who he accuses of masterminding the failed coup, to face justice in Turkey.

"The United States - you must extradite that person," he told thousands of supporters in Istanbul, referring to Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and has denied any involvement in Friday's attempted coup.

Gulen said that he condemned the coup attempt "in the strongest terms".

"As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations," Gulen said in a statement late Friday.

"I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey," read the two-paragraph statement. 

"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," he said.

Gulen, 75, was once a close ally of Erdogan but the two fell out in recent years as Erdogan became suspicious of Gulen's movement, Hizmet, and its powerful presence in Turkish society, including the media, police and judiciary.

The preacher moved to the United States in 1999, before he was charged with treason in his native country.

 

US suspends strikes against IS group from Turkey base

The US military has suspended air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq from a base in southern Turkey, a US official said.

Operations from the Incirlik air base were suspended because of the closure of the airspace used by the missions, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.

US forces "were adjusting flight operations in the counter-ISIL campaign to minimize any effects on the campaign," he said, apparently suggesting missions against the Islamic State (IS) group - also known as ISIL - could launch from other locations.

The Turkish authorities imposed a security lockdown at Incirlik on Saturday following the attempted coup d'etat by military officers overnight.

US forces use Incirlik to launch bombing missions against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq. They have notably deployed drones, Prowler electronic warplanes and A-10 ground attack aircraft from the base.

LIVE: Protests in Amniyet Fatih, Istanbul

Live feed of protests in Amniyet Faith

Constitutional Court Judge removed from post after coup

Turkish media outlets have reported that the Constitutional Court Jude Alparslan Altan was removed from post after the coup attempt. No reason was give as to why but Daily Sabah have reported that Altan was linked to the Gulen movement. 

Judges arrested after failed coup attempt

Senior members of the Turkish judiciary have been arrested after yesterdays failed coup attempt. According to various reports by Turkish media, 11 court of appeals members and four members of the Supreme board of judges and prosecutors were also arrrested. 

Two military commanders arrested in connection with yesterdays failed coup

MEE's Suraj Sharma reports that two military commanders have been arrested by Turkish security services.

The commanders arrested include:

  • Adem Huduti: Commander of the Second Army
  • Avni Angun: The Malatya Garrison commander.

Video footage of Turkish helicopter that fled to Greece with military Personnel

Footage has emerged of a Turkish army helicopter which landed at Alexandroupolis airport in Greece containing seven men in military fatigues and one man in plain clothes. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted that "eight traitors" had escaped by helicopter to Greece and called for their immediate return. 

'Extraordinary session' convened in Turkish Parliament

Parliamentarians from across the political divide have come together to show a united front against yesterdays attempted coup by factions within the Turkish Army.  The national anthem was sung before a joint declaration was read out by all four major parties present in the parliament, condemning the attempted coup that was foiled.

 



(Screengrab from TRT Haber)

Incirlike airbase shut down and power cut off

Turkish Newspaper Cumhuriyet is reporting that the Incirlik airbase has been shut down and power to it has been cut off. The report is being based on a note to US citizens by its consulate in Adana that they should stay away from the base until further notice.  The airspace around the airbase has also been shut down by Turkish authorities. A move most likely done in conjunction with the closure of airspace in other parts of Turkey being closed down. CNN international have also reported that Turkish officials have stopped entering or leaving the base.  

John Kerry earlier this morning said that Incirlik airbase was still functioning and that US-led operations against the Islamic State (IS) group have not been disrupted. When the airspace was shut down, there were still American fighter jets conducting missions against IS targets.  

The base is the home of the 10th Air Wing of the 2nd Air Force Command of the Turkish Air Force. It is also has a US Air Force complement of about five thousand airmen, with several hundred airmen from the Royal Air 

More details as it emerges. 



Istanbul: From bloodshed to business as usual in one night

Many Turks who spoke to Middle East Eye believe the calm in Istanbul to be temporary and preparing for another night of resistance. Despite the deaths of 161 people across the country, citizens are ignoring the risks to prevent another Egypt in their country. Read more here.



Source AFP

Revealed: Ranking of Eight military personnel seeking asylum Greece

Two Turkish Majors, a captain and five privates have requested asylum in Greece after landing in a Blackhawk military helicopter. 

More details on army personnel seeking asylum in Greece

  • Eight military personnel have sought asylum in the Northen Greek Town of Alexandoupolis
  • They have removed all insignia from their uniforms thus making it impossible to know their ranks 
  • Greek officials are in contact with the Turkish embassy
  • Turkish officials have called on Greece to extrade the eight men seeking asylum

Head of Turkish coastguard fired

The head of the Turkish Coastguard was fired this morning. No reason was given as to why but it is believed that he is believed to be aligned with the individuals behind the coup.  

FM Mevlut Cavusoglu requesting Greece extradite eight people requesting asylum

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called on Greece to extradite the eight men requesting asylum. According to Greek media outlets, the men landed in Greece this morning on board a Turkish helicopter and may be connected to the failed coup attempt. 

Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan meanwhile has said that operations are now complete, with other planned operations scheduled to take a few more hours to complete. 

 

AFP: Turkish military helicopter lands in Greece and eight request asylum

AFP have reported a Turkish military helicopter landing in Greece where eight men allegedly connected to the failed coup attempt have requested asylum  

 

Angry mobs attack surrendering troops after coup attempt

Erdogan urges Turks to control the streets as coup falters

Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan called on Turks to remain on the streets, after mass civilian protests overnight helped foil a military faction's coup attempt to bring him down. 

Erdogan in a message on Twitter called on citizens to fill public spaces with Turkish flags to 'celebrate' its democracy. 

More info here: 

Text message "from" President Erdogan sent to Turkish mobile phones

Turkish citizens received a text "from" Erdogan early this morning calling on Turks "to take to the streets" to stand up for democracy. Erdogan also made similar calls himself on live TV via FaceTime. 

1563 army personnel held over coup attempt

Turkish state news agency Anadolu have released images of Turkish soldiers involved in yesterdays attempted coup being arrested and stripped down. 

PM Yildrim: "Commanders are safe and sound"

PM Yildrim said:

  • Turkey to consider legal change to permit death penalty for military involved in failed coup
  • 2639 military personnel have been arrested
  • 161 people dead excluding the 104 dead from the coup plotters. 
  • Attempts have been made to extradite Gulen from the United States
  • President Erdogan is on his way back to Ankara 

 

Prime Minister Yildrim commends the press for standing with the government and 'the nation' and 'democracy. Praising the press for continuing to broadcast information to the people and political parties for overcoming political divide to support the government. 

PM Yildrim: "Those who fired on our own people are lower than the PKK"



PM Yildrim: "Friday evening is a stain on Turkish Democracy"

Speaking live on Turkish state TV Prime Minister Yildrim said:

"Friday evening is a stain on Turkish Democracy. Congratualte and kiss every citizen who stood up to this parallel state (Gulen) coup attempt. 

This uprising had nothing to do with the command structure of the armed forces. 

It was an uprising by the Terrorist Parallel state. I congratulate our brave commanders and officers.

In addition I would like to thank all our citizens, NGOS and the political parties who stood for our democracy.



(Screen Grab MEE)

 "

Key Turkish Commanders held hostage by coup plotters

MEE's Suraj Sharma who is in Istanbul said the following:

"The main fight appears to be in the military headquarters in Ankara which appears to be the key stronghold for the coup plotters.  Based on reports from various sources it seems that the army was not united and only certain sections was supportive of this coup. The acting chief of staff has also said that key commanders who were against the coup have been held hostage by the coup plotters with their whereabouts unkown"

Turkish Chief of Staff: 104 soldiers killed in failed rebellion



Footage of Turkish Army helicopter shooting at protestors in Ankara