Attempted coup in Turkey: What we know so far

A coup attempt in Turkey was launched by a faction of the military on the Government led by President Tayyip Erdogan.
People on a tank run over cars on a road in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016.
People on a tank run over cars on a road in Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

ANKARA (AFP, REUTERS) - A Turkish army faction backed by tanks and fighter jets was waging a coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday. Here is what we know so far:

  • Greek military source says anti-government group at Turkey’s Golcuk naval base has taken over frigate, head of Turkish fleet taken hostage.
  • Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the situation was fully under control in a press conference in Ankara.
  • Coup attempt was mainly by troops from air force, gendarmerie, and some “armoured elements” said Acting chief of staff of the armed forces, Umit Dundar.
  • Mr Erdogan called on people to remain on the streets, warning against a fresh flare-up.
  • Officials said early Saturday 161 people have been killed and 1,440 wounded, including civilians.
  • President Erdogan has sworn to purge the armed forces. More than 100 coup plotters were killed and 2,839 soldiers detained.
  • Mr Erdogan, who was on holiday, returned to Istanbul airport during the early hours of Saturday, saying the hotel he was staying at on Turkey's Aegean coast was bombed after he left.
  • Addressing a crowd of thousands of supporters at the airport, Mr Erdogan said the government remained at the helm.
  • Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar was captured and taken hostage, and Mr Erdogan appointed General Umit Dundar, commander of the First Army, as acting chief of staff. General Akar was later rescued.

Turkish General Umit Dundar was appointed as acting chief of staff after General Hulusi Akar was captured and taken hostage. PHOTO: REUTERS

  • Government-backed jets have downed pro-coup aircraft and bombed tanks surrounding the presidential palace in the capital Ankara. Dozens of soldiers backing the coup surrendered on the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul that they had held throughout the night, holding their hands above their heads as they were detained.
  • Mr Erdogan put the blame the coup on supporters of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Mr Gilen's Hizmet movement has a powerful presence in Turkish society, including the media, police and judiciary.
  • Mr Gulen denied being behind the coup attempt and condemned it "in the strongest terms".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (right) with Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar during the Balkan Countries Chiefs of Defence Conference in Istanbul, Turkey May 11, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

  • Mr Erdogan called his supporters out onto the streets, and in several locations they outnumbered putsch soldiers. 
  • Troops moved to block the bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, and an AFP photographer saw soldiers open fire on people gathered near one them, leaving dozens wounded. Soldiers also opened shot at protesters angrily denouncing the coup bid at Istanbul's famous Taksim Square, injuring several. 
  • Explosions rocked areas near official buildings as government aircraft sought to eject pro-coup tanks.
  • A group calling itself the "Council for Peace in the Homeland" declared martial law and a curfew in a statement, saying it had launched the coup "to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms and let the supremacy of the law in the country prevail..." No named military officer claimed responsibility for the actions.
  • The coup forces used tanks and attack helicopters, some strafing the headquarters of Turkish intelligence and parliament in Ankara, others seizing a major bridge in Istanbul.
  • Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says attempted coup under way, calls for calm.
  • Gunshots are heard in Ankara, military jets and helicopters seen flying overhead. Helicopters seen overhead in Istanbul.