Breaking News: Military Coup in Turkey (Updated X2)

[Content Note: Discussion of military action, violence, deaths.]

According to news reports, a military coup is underway in Turkey. It is unclear who is in charge. The Guardian's live feed is here; please note that there are images. The military claimed in an earlier statement that is has taken over the government. The Guardian is reporting:

Some more detail on the statement said to come from Turkey’s armed forces. They have reportedly said in emails reported on Turkish TV that they have taken power to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights.

They added that all of Turkey’s existing foreign relations would be maintained and that the rule of law would remain the priority. The Guardian has not seen the correspondence and, therefore, can yet verify where it has come from or on behalf of whom - exactly - it was sent.

However, the AP is reporting that the Prime Minister is claiming they have defeated the coup:

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told private NTV television: "it is correct that there was an attempt," when asked if there was a coup.

Yildirim didn't provide details, but said Turkey would never allow any "initiative that would interrupt democracy."

"We are focusing on the possibility of an attempt (coup)," Yildirim said. "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."

There are reports of gunfire in Ankara and military aircraft flying over the capital. It is also reported that people in bridges in Istanbul are being told to go home because of a curfew, and tanks and soldiers have been sighted. Complicating things is the fact that twitter and other social media sites seem to have been blocked.

I am not sure what resolution to hope for, as Turkey's President and Prime Minister are pretty awful, and Turkey is going through some terrible times. Against that must be set the subverting of democratic processes and the fact that military coups don't usually lead to good things. Then there is the question of how Turkey's allies will respond. As Liss noted to me in a private communication (which I am sharing with her permission), "Turkey is a member of NATO. NATO is never going to allow a military dictatorship. If government security forces can't stop this, it's going to mean war." And even if they do restore order, I am fearful for the reprisals that may ensue.

I was privileged to spend some time in Turkey a few years ago, and my thoughts are with the people I met, and with all the residents of that beautiful country. I hope this has the best possible outcome, whatever that is.

Please feel free to leave updates in the comments. Please label any potentially triggering material appropriately, and keep this an image-free thread.

Update: I will be heading to bed shortly. The situation in Turkey is still very unclear, but the Turkish national broadcaster is back on the air. Botht eh military and the government are claiming to be in control. A bomb has been reported as going off outside the national parliament building. Many people seem to be heeding Erdogan's call for them to take to the streets and resist the coup. The National Intelligence Agency and the head of Turkey's special forces are claiming the coup has been repelled and President Erdogan's plane has allegedly landed at the airport. (He was outside the country on vacation.) All of that certainly sounds as if the government may have the upper hand, but I wouldn't want to state anything definitely yet. If you have more updates, please leave them in comments, but again, with proper content notes and no images.

Update 2 at 23.00 ET :The BBC reports:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has flown in to Istanbul, after an army group said it took over the country. He was seen surrounded by supporters, and said the coup attempt was an "act of treason" in a live TV speech. The army group earlier declared that a "peace council" now ran the country and there was a curfew and martial law. But Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later said the situation was largely under control and a no-fly zone was in force over the capital Ankara. Mr Yildirim said 130 people had been arrested. However, the whereabouts of the military chief of staff remains unknown.

The Guardian reports:

Erdoğan said the uprising was an act of “treason” and that those responsible will pay a “heavy price”, according to Reuters. He further said the uprising was carried out by a “minority” within the military who can’t stomach unity of the country. Erdoğan said some in military have been taking orders from cleric Fethullah Gulen and that the attempted coup shows the Gulen structure is an armed terrorist organization. Gulen has denied involvement. According to Reuters’ translation, the president said he would not hand Turkey over to occupiers and said the cabinet is functioning in Ankara. Erdoğan further said he will stay “with my people”. President Erdoğan also said his general secretary was abducted by coup makers, according to the Associated Press. There was no information on the chief of military staff.

Sky News' Twitter feed quotes the president as saying "This event is God's gift to us, because we can clean the army from this grip" of coup plotters." In other reports, there have been clashes in the air between government fighter planes and planes under control of the coup. I saw pictures of the parliament building after a bombing, but members of parliament are reported safe. Unfortunately there have been deaths elsewhere. There are reports of military helicopters attacking civilians on the streets. The situation in Ankara remains unclear but there are continued reports of fighting, with tanks in the streets. Sky News quotes the prosecutors office as saying there are 42 dead in Ankara. Most are reproted as being civilians, with 17 police officers dead. My thoughts are with their families, and with everyone who is in jeopardy and everyone who is wondering if their loved ones are safe.

CNN Turk seems to be back on the air. (You can follow their English language Twitter feed--be aware of images.) Hürriyet, on of the big newspapers, reports via their English language Twitter [CN; images] that soldiers entered the newspaper's building and took journalists hostage.

Turkey has closed its border with Bulgaria.

It also seems significant to note that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has called for an end to the coup, and world governments, including the US, seem to be lining up cautiously on the side of the Turkish government. John Kerry Tweeted: "I spoke tonight with FM Cavusoglu & emphasized our absolute support for #Turkey's elected, civilian government & democratic institutions." President Obama also expressed support for democracy and called for restraint. Hillary Clinton is urging support for the democratically elected government. British Foreign Secertary Boris Johnson said the Embassy was monitoring events and urged "Brits should follow FCO website for advice." Justin Trudeau offered the following statement:

“On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to express our concern about this evening's events in Turkey. We call for restraint by all parties. Canada supports the preservation of Turkish democracy, and condemns any attempt to subvert Turkey's democratic institutions by force of arms. “The Government of Canada is being kept informed of developments in Turkey, and we are doing everything possible to ensure that the safety and security of Canadians in that country is maintained.”

That's it for the night for me, folks, Again, please leave any updates with appropriate content notes, keep the thread image free, but do share updates if they come in.

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