Turkey coup bid foiled, 250 killed

Turkey coup bid foiled, 250 killed

President blames US-based cleric

Turkey coup bid foiled, 250 killed
Turkish authorities said they regained control of the country on Saturday after thwarting a coup attempt by discontented soldiers to seize power from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

More than 250 people lost their lives in the incident.After the bloodiest challenge to his 13-year autocratic rule, Erdogan urged his backers to stay on the streets to prevent a possible “flare-up” of Friday’s chaos in the strategic NATO member of 80 million people.

With at least 2,839 soldiers already detained in a relentless round-up over the coup plot, the authorities blamed the conspiracy on Erdogan’s arch enemy, the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turks woke up early on Saturday to television pictures showing dozens of soldiers surrendering after the apparent failure of the coup, some
with their hands above their head and others forced to the ground in the streets.

“The situation is completely under control,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said outside his Ankara office, flanked by Turkey’s top general who had himself been taken hostage by the plotters.

Describing the attempted coup a “black stain” on Turkey’s democracy, Yildirim said 161 people had been killed in the night of violence and 1,440 wounded. This toll did not appear to include 104 rebel soldiers killed overnight, bringing the overall death toll from the bloodshed to 265.

During a night where power was in the balance, large crowds of flag-waving supporters of Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) defied orders of a curfew and marched out onto the streets to block the attempt to overthrow the regime.

And Erdogan used his Twitter feed to urge people onto the streets to ensure there is no further challenge to his power.

“We should keep on owning the streets tonight no matter at what stage (the coup attempt is) because a new flare-up could take place at any moment,” he said.

As the dust settled on a dramatic and chaotic night, TV pictures showed extensive damage to the parliament building in Ankara that was bombed by rebel jets.

Friday’s putsch bid began with rebel F-16 jets screaming low over rooftops in Ankara, soldiers and tanks taking to the streets and multiple explosions throughout the night in the capital as well as the biggest city, Istanbul.

Rebel troops also moved to block the two bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, culminating in a stand-off with an angry crowd.

As protesters poured onto the streets, an AFP photographer saw troops open fire on people gathered near one of the bridges, leaving dozens wounded.

Soldiers also shot at protesters angrily denouncing the coup bid at Istanbul’s Taksim Square, injuring several. There was chaos in Istanbul as angry crowds jeered the passing tanks, with smaller numbers welcoming the troops.