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Over 1,560 military personnel arrested in Turkey

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Turkish soldiers secure the area, as supporters of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan protest in Istanbul’s Taksim square, early Saturday. Turkey’s armed forces said it “fully seized control” of the country Friday and its president responded by calling on Turks to take to the streets in a show of support for the government.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A tank moves into position as Turkish people attempt to stop them, in Ankara, Turkey, late Friday. Members of Turkey’s armed forces said they had taken control of the country, but Turkish officials said the coup attempt had been repelled early Saturday morning in a night of violence, according to state-run media.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    An injured man is attended by police when Turkish forces soldiers opened fire to disperse the crowd in Istanbul’s Taksim square, early Saturday. Members of Turkey’s armed forces said they had taken control of the country, but Turkish officials said the coup attempt had been repelled early Saturday morning in a night of violence, according to state-run media.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Turkish soldiers block Istanbul’s iconic Bosporus Bridge today, lit in the colours of the French flag in solidarity with the victims of Thursday’s attack in Nice, France.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Tanks move into position as Turkish people attempt to stop them, in Ankara, Turkey, late Friday.

UPDATE 9:40 a.m. (8:40 p.m. Hawaii time)

A senior Turkish official says a total of 1,563 military personnel have been detained across Turkey as the government cracks down on the attempted coup.

The official says most of those arrested lower ranks.

The official was communicating with the media on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

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ANKARA, Turkey » Turkey’s president declared he was in control of the country early Saturday as government forces fought to squash a coup attempt during a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead.

They arrested more than 750 soldiers across the country, fired colonels and generals and rescued the military chief in an operation at an air base in the outskirts of Ankara.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned coup supporters that “they will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey,” according to a transcript of his remarks provided by his office. “Those who stain the military’s reputation must leave. The process has started today, and it will continue just as we fight other terrorist groups.”

Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadlou, says military chief of staff Gen. Hulusi Akar is taking over the command of the operation against the coup plotters, CNN-Turk said.

Fighting continued throughout the morning, with the sounds of huge blasts echoing across the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul, including at least one bomb that hit the parliament complex. Television footage showed images of destruction at the parliament, which according to a lawmaker was targeted by three bombs, with broken glass and other debris strewn across a lobby leading to the assembly hall.

Government officials said the coup appeared to have failed as Turks took to the streets overnight to confront troops attempting to take over the country.

The chaos capped a period of political turmoil in Turkey which critics blamed on Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule, which has included a government shake-up, a crackdown on dissidents and opposition media and renewed conflict in the mainly Kurdish areas of the southeast.

Turkey, a NATO member, is a key partner in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the Islamic State group, and has allowed American jets to use its Incirlik air base to fly missions against the extremists in nearby Syria and Iraq. A coup against the democratically elected government could make it difficult for the United States to continue to cooperate with Turkey.

Addressing supporters outside Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Saturday morning, Erdogan told the crowd assembled there: “They have pointed the people’s guns against the people. The president, whom 52 percent of the people brought to power, is in charge. This government brought to power by the people is in charge. They won’t succeed as long as we stand against them by risking everything.”

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said security forces have defeated coup plotters in several places, including police and government buildings, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

“There is no where they have they have proper control,” Bozdag said. “God willing, they will be defeated in the remaining areas and those in the air will be brought down.”

Turkey’s Police Chief Celalettin Lekesiz says 16 coup plotters have been killed in clashes at Turkey’s military police command. In comments carried by the state-run Anadolu Agency on Saturday, Lekesiz said 250 others in the military police command were arrested. The police chief said clashes at the command are continuing but “are about to come to an end.”

An official in the president’s office says at least 60 people have been killed and more than 330 people have been arrested. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

In images broadcast on CNN-Turk, dozens of soldiers walked among tanks with their hand held up, surrendering to government forces on Istanbul’s Bosporus Bridge. Discarded gear was strewn on the ground. People, some holding flags, climbed onto the tanks.

Anadolu reported that 754 members of Turkey’s armed forces have been detained across the country. At the Etimesgut armored units training command, in the outskirts of Ankara, some soldiers who took part in the attempted coup were arrested by fellow officers or soldiers and handed over to police, the agency reported.

Erdogan, who said his general secretary had been abducted by the coup plotters, flew into Ataturk airport early Saturday and was greeted by large crowds. Hours earlier, as the coup attempt got underway, his office declined to say where he was, and he was forced to give an interview over FaceTime to a television station.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has called all legislators for an emergency meeting Saturday, Anadolu reported.

U.S. President Barack Obama urged all sides in Turkey to support the democratically elected government. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and called for respect for democracy.

The coup attempt began late Friday, with a statement from the military saying it had seized control “to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for law and order to be reinstated.”

Fighter jets buzzed overhead, gunfire erupted outside military headquarters and vehicles blocked two major bridges in Istanbul. Soldiers backed by tanks blocked entry to Istanbul’s airport for a couple of hours before being overtaken by pro-government crowds carrying Turkish flags, according to footage broadcast by the Dogan news agency.

But the military did not appear unified, with top commanders taking to television to condemn the action and order troops back to their barracks.

“Those who are attempting a coup will not succeed. Our people should know that we will overcome this,” Gen. Zekai Aksakalli, the commander of the military special forces, told the private NTV television by telephone.

Fighter jets under the control of loyalist forces were flying over the capital to strike at helicopters flown by coup supporters, the Anadolu news agency said. NTV reported that one helicopter was shot down. Gunfire and explosions rang out.

Erdogan called on Turks to take to the streets across the country, and many did, marching through the streets of Izmir and Istanbul, waving Turkish flags and gathering in the main square in Ankara. The Dogan news agency reported that soldiers fired on a group of people trying to cross the Bosporus bridge to protest the attempted coup, and that some people have been hurt. TV footage showed people running for cover amid gunfire.

Troops also fired in the air to disperse a growing crowd of government supporters at the Taksim monument in Istanbul as military helicopters flew overhead. A nearby mosque made an anti-coup announcement over its loudspeakers. Several blasts and the screech of fighter jets were heard in central Istanbul as dawn approached.

At least 42 people were killed in the capital, NTV quoted the prosecutor’s office as saying. Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman said a bomb hit one corner of a public relations building inside the parliament complex, injuring some police officers. Turkish media broadcast images of plaster and debris strewn on the ground there.

Special forces police appear to be deployed in the grounds of the parliament complex, just across the street from the military headquarters.

In Istanbul, an official at Haydarpasa Numune Hospital said at least 150 people were admitted with wounds but would not comment on whether there were fatalities. NTV reported six dead had been brought to that hospital. An official at Istanbul’s Sisli Hamidiye Etfal Training and Research Hospital said they had also received dead and wounded. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to comment publicly.

In his TV address, Erdogan blamed the attack on supporters of Fethullah Gulen.

Erdogan has long accused the cleric and his supporters of attempting to overthrow the government. The cleric lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.

By Saturday morning, a top Turkish official said the coup attempt appeared to have been repelled. The senior official told The Associated Press that all government officials were in charge of their offices. The official requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

As the crisis unfolded, there were reports that access to popular social media sites like Twitter and Facebook had been blocked within the country. Facebook declined comment, but Twitter said it suspected “intentional” interference with its service.

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  • The army is pro western and pro modern society. I hope they will get rid of islamist president Erdogan and his ilk. Erdogan was starting to act like a fascist emperor, jailing opposing journalists, firing judges and policemen and giving lucrative government jobs to his cronies.

  • To head off any dumb comments from our peanut gallery, President Erdogan has systematically attacked civil liberties in Turkey, using the state to suppress, intimidate and shut down media sources that were critical of him as well as jailing journalists who revealed the massive corruption under his administration. Erdogan has further pushed theocratic laws to replace the long held secularism of Turkey’s culture as well as actively using the state against his political rivals including rival political parties.

      • Only if you can’t read.

        Erdogan, Trump, Xi and Putin are often referenced in the same sentence as authoritarians who suppress or want to suppress civil liberties.

        • Can we add Obama? Makes his own law according to some congressional members. Black Lives matter are considered a terrorist organization by some, like KKK. Attacks on police is an attack on law instead of letting situation play out in the court room.

        • pohaku96744, it appears you lack any capacity to recheck your perspective.

          Erdogan has gotten dozens of journalists convicted for terrorism…for insulting him.

          This place always seems like it’s trying to outstup1d itself from the day before.

        • The unfolding coup in Turkey is reminiscent of JFK’s assassination of South Vietnam president Ngo Dinh Diem which, much to the ecstasy of the Hanoi Politburo, then on the verge of substantially ramping up their strategic trail operations, unleashed utter chaos in our ally and rendered them all but defenseless in the face of a merciless enemy hell bent on conquest.

          Then as now we had a punk kid in the White House in WAY over his head, one totally at the mercy of the consequences he had unwittingly unleashed.

          For that reason ISIS (disdainfully sniffed at as a “JV team” by the current occupant of the White House) must be thrilled at this thundering crack in the NATO alliance, a development that will no doubt give them a new lease on the life of their territorial terrorist adventure in sovereignty.

        • I kinda like Putin. We have have something in common, judo. I have seen clips on how he played when he was in the military…same way when I was in PD. Very aggressive, that’s how he does his business. Just making a comment choyd…I really don’t care one way or another.

    • Agreed. I’d like to see a “7 days in May” really happen. Our politicians need to wake up and face the real world–why should our whole system be ruled by the minority vote??? They have taken away our housing, our restrooms, our political system, our economy–one can’t say a word without being labeled biased or racist. Trump, I don’t know but we need change!!

  • Although Turkey is mostly Muslim its Constitution is secular in nature. The military has a history of being secular also. Yildirim has been pushing his country away from that toward a more Islamic stance. He is also reluctant to fight ISIS which is right on Turkey’s border.
    This may turn out Ito be a real good thing.

  • Thailand has a coup every 4 years. Greedy people. Always trying to get the jobs they want but are not qualified for. So they throw a coup. Love landing in the middle of a turmoil. Less tourists, lower hotel rates, eat all alone in gorgeous buffets with all the service help at your beck and call only, less longer lines everywhere, look it all the deadly scary machine guns, grenades, mean-looking soldiers in dark glasses standing in front of unsanitary food kiosks, beggars everywhere, everybody pointing and yelling at each other, increasing dollar against the Baht, bars and girls are swinging and happy, crime rises because the police no longer have authority, love being assaulted and grabbed and trading Hawaiian punches in return, and I love to take pictures of war like a mercenary journalist. There’s no thrill like the danger of being killed violently. Makes you so alive. So don’t avoid civil unrest. Don’t be scared. Run to it. You might never have another opportunity to witness history. Loved the movie Year of Living Dangerously and my hat’s off you Colvin. Love your pirates eye patch, ya sexy Goddess.

  • What kind of Foreign Policy do we have anyhow. How can it get any worse. One disaster after another disaster.. Where is America? Where is Obama, Clinton, Kerry. Totally inept. Obama will swear on a stack of Koran it’s never been better.
    If I was Trump I’d tell Hilliary to take the job. But, I’m not Trump, He knows what would happen to America. If he still wants the job he is the man!

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