There was a coup scare in Turkey late yesterday. A faction of the Turkish army have officially declared a coup and martial law, saying they have “taken control of the country” as Istanbul’s main airport was closed and fighter jets were seen in the skies. The news broke late yesterday and put everyone around the world on their toes, world leaders were all glued to the television sets and mobile phones as they monitored the situation for updates.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was contacted by a CNN broadcaster during a live broadcast a few minutes after the news of the coup broke and said he remained the president of the country and the head of the army and called for people to take to the streets against the coup.
“We will overcome this,” Erdogan said, speaking on a video call to the CNN reporter. He said his supporters and indeed citizens should be calm to take to the streets to defend his government and said the coup plotters would pay a heavy price.
A Reuters witness reported hearing gunfire at Istanbul airport.
“We know they have been acting outside the chain of command,” Cemalettin Hasimi, a government spokesman told Al Jazeera, referring to the sections of the army behind the coup attempt.
“But forces of democracy have managed to take the situation back under control. The parliament will get together in half an hour.”
An Al Jazeera correspondent in the coastal city of Izmir reported an unusually heavy military build-up in the city earlier in the day.
The US department of state and NATO have both issued strong statements regarding the issue and warned the Turkish authorities to take the lives and properties of missions as top priority. The NATO statement assured the Government of continued support stating that “Turkey is a valued NATO ally”; while the statement by the US Department for state urged all US citizens in the country to remain indoors and communicate to their friends and family at intervals.
The situation is still developing and more updates are expected.