Saturday, 16 July 2016
Military coup in Turkey, power seized from president....massive protests, chaos follow
There has been a military coup in Turkey. The country’s Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, announced that some senior soldiers engaged in a “coup attempt.”
Aljazeera quotes Mr. Yildirim as saying on Friday evening that the “perpetrators” will be contained. He said some generals in the country’s military were involved in the attempted takeover.
It is not yet clear how much of the country the coup plotters control. Turkey’s main Ataturk international airport has been shut down and all flights have been cancelled, Aljazeera reports. Major bridges and businesses in Istanbul have also been shut.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urged people to take to the streets to protest against what he described as a coup attempt by a minority faction within the military, vowing that it would meet with a "necessary response", Reuters reports
He told a CNN Turk reporter via cellphone that Turkish people must gather in public squares to show their response to the attempted military takeover, in comments broadcast live on television.
Erdogan said he believed the attempted coup would be over within a "short time" and said those responsible would pay a heavy price in the courts.
He said the act was encourage by the "parallel structure" - his shorthand for followers of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who he has repeatedly accused of attempting to foment an uprising among his followers in the judiciary and the military.
"I certainly believe that coup plotters will not succeed," he said, speaking on FaceTime via mobile phone in his first reaction to the move by the Turkish armed forces.
"I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports. I never believed in a power higher than the power of the people."
Turkey, a member of NATO, has experienced at least three military coups since 1960.
The last attempt, which occurred in 1997, forced the resignation of then-prime minister Nemettin Erbakan. The ruling AK Party has been in power since 2002.
The atmosphere in Istanbul was one of palpable shock.
As military helicopters circled above the city centre and soldiers locked down roads, bridges and airport, people flocked to the streets.
Then, as it became clear that the military was attempting a takeover, some relaxed - and others panicked.
Revellers enjoying a Friday night beer in Taksim hurried home, while dozens lined up at every ATM in the upscale Cihangir neighbourhood.
Soldiers surrounded Taksim Square, appearing calm, but while some shouted in anger at them, others broke out in applause and chanted the name of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Turkish Republic's founder.
"The current government is so bad, a lot of people expected a military takeover. I don't know if I'm happy about this but it can't be worse," said Murat, who applauded the soldiers.
Another woman shouted, laughing: "The AKP is finished!" A young woman screamed: "Traitors!"
The divide in reaction might hint at what is to come. Few expected a military coup, as, after decades of military rule in the second half of the 1950, public opinion is considered as unfavourable to a takeover.