Middle East

Gunfire, military helicopters in Ankara, PM says ‘coup attempt’ by part of army underway

Police officers stand guard near the Turkish military headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, July 15, 2016. © Tumay Berkin / Reuters

Part of the military is attempting a coup in Turkey, the country’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said, following reports of military jets and helicopters flying low over Ankara and Istanbul.

Some people took illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim told news network NTV. “The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so,” he added.

According to the PM, Turkish security forces were doing what needs to be done to resolve the situation.

The Turkish military has issued a statement saying that it has taken over power in the country from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged,” the statement read.

CNN Turk later reported that president Erdogan, was safe, despite claims by the military that they’ve taken over.

According to Reuters, the coup attempt occurred when Erdogan was on vacation outside the country.

According to various reports, a curfew has been declared in Turkey amid the ongoing attempted coup.

State-run Anadolu news agency reported that the Turkish military chief of staff, Hulusi Akar, was among those taken hostage by the pro-coup forces in Ankara. The hostages are being held at military HQ in the capital.

The office of Erdogan’s ruling AKP party in Istanbul has been surrounded by soldiers, according to Twitter reports.

Earlier, a military helicopter has reportedly opened fire in the district of Ankara where the Turkish National Intelligence Organization headquarters is situated.

According to local news agencies, a large number of ambulance vehicles has been sent towards the Turkish General Staff building in the capital.

Ankara’s mayor, Ibrahim Melih Gokcek, used Twitter to call on all the citizens to take to the streets.

Everybody to the streets,” he wrote.

Shooting is being reported in the Turkish capital, Ankara, with military jets and helicopters seen in the sky above the city.

According to reports on Twitter, the authorities have closed the two Bosporus bridges in Istanbul, where military jets have also been spotted flying.

All flights were cancelled at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul where tanks were deployed on Friday night.

Facebook and Twitter services were blocked in Ankara on Friday, RIA-Novosti reported.

According to local media, all security personnel have been urgently called in to work.

Turkish state-run television network TRT has been shut down, Bloomberg reported.

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