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By Stan Greene
Observer Staff Writer 

Erdogan Returns to Istanbul; But Control of City Uncertain

Turkish Army units have fired on protestors, protesting against the attempted coup.

 

Military coup in Istanbul and Ankara appears to have failed as civilians take the street

Update: 42 people including 17 police officers are dead in the attempted to in and Istanbul. " broad segments of society and the military did not support this bizarre who attempt", said Ivan Shier, a Turkish expert on CNN.

The Turkish government does appear to be in control, as soldiers were seen surrendering with their hands above their heads on bridges across the Bosphorus; The straight that divides Istanbul .

Turkey's military announced on Friday night that the army had taken over "the entire management of the country to restore rule of law."

Military factions in Turkey attempted to seize control of the country Friday night, setting off a furious scramble for power and plunging the crucial NATO member and American ally into deadly chaos in what already was one of the world's most unstable regions.

Early Saturday morning, however, President Recep Tayyp Erdogan, whose whereabouts were unclear through a long night of turmoil, flew to Istanbul Ataturk airport, a presidential aide said. It was a strong signal that the coup was failing.

There were indications that coup leaders, at a minimum, did not have a tight grip on many parts of the country. Supporters of Mr. Erdogan took to the streets of Istanbul to oppose the coup plotters, and there were scattered reports some of its leaders had been arrested.

Early Saturday military helicopters fired on police headquarters in the capital, Ankara. It is the Third military coup in Turkey in 50 years.

The state-run Anadolou Agency reported that 17 police officers had been killed in the helicopter attack on police special forces headquarters. A Turkish government spokesman also confirmed that an F-16 fighter had shot down a helicopter that had been commandeered by soldiers supporting the coup.

More loud explosions were reported in Ankara early Saturday, and CNN Turk reported an explosion at the state-run television building. Turkey's state-run news agency reported that military helicopters also attacked the headquarters of TURKSAT satellite station on the outskirts of Ankara.

Update: Rebellious Turkish Army units have fired on protestors, protesting against the attempted coup.

Turkish news agency Dogan reported that soldiers have opened fired on people trying to cross Istanbul's Bosporus bridge in protest of the attempted coup, and some have been wounded. TV footage showed people running for cover as shots rang out.

Erdogan used his iPhone to call for protestors to take to the streets, as army units attacked State television installations. The situation has suddenly become serious, despite the government's initial efforts to dismiss it.

A political coup staged by Turkish Army Units, appears to be in progress. Other units appear to be loyal to the elected government.

Today's ongoing coup attempt was confirmed by both Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Alleged to have been orchestrated by a faction within the Armed Forces, the perpetrators announced the creation of a Peace Council that would be the governing body of the country

The Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, says that a revolt by part of the military is in progress, but is being put down by most of the military. The situation is fluid and uncertain, reports the UK Guardian.

4pm PST; #Turkey army commander says soldiers involved in coup "represent a small group" and "there is no cause for concern." http://bos.gl/CcFaS9h

The Associated Press is now carrying longer quotes from the Turkish prime minister, who was interviewed by Turkish National Television.

Having confirmed his belief that an attempted coup was underway, Binali Yildirim said: "We are focusing on the possibility of an attempt [coup]. There was an illegal act by a group within the military that was acting out of the chain of military command. Our people should know that we will not allow any activity that would harm democracy."

Yildirim said security forces had been called in "to do what is necessary." Flights out of the capital have been cancelled or delayed. There are reports on Twitter that revolting army units have take hostages.

The Dogan news agency said one-way traffic on the Bosporus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges were blocked. Video footage showed the bridge being blocked by military vehicles.

Turkey's military, combined with the Country's geopolitical position, makes it a regional power and an important Western ally.

Revolting military units have reportedly surrendered, according to Twitter.

Turkey is a charter member of the UN, early member of NATO, and a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, OIC and the G-20. After becoming one of the first members of the Council of Europe in 1949, Turkey became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, applied for full EEC membership in 1987, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European Union in 2005. Turkey's growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power.

The country's official language is Turkish, a Turkic language spoken natively by approximately 85 percent of the population. 70–75 percent of the population are ethnic Turks; and about 25-30% of the population consists of recognized (Armenians, Greeks, Jews) and unrecognized (Kurds, Circassians, Arabs, Albanians, Bosniaks, Georgians, etc.) minorities. Kurds make up the largest minority group.

The Kurds and ISIS have staged recent terrorist attacks in Turkey itself, or against the Turkish army abroad.

 

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