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Turkey: military report 194 killed in quashed coup attempt

An attempted coup by a faction of the armed forces has been quashed, Turkey's acting military chief of staff says.
Turkey: military report 194 killed in quashed coup attempt

Turkey’s acting military chief of staff Umit Dundar said 104 coup plotters had been killed and 1,563 arrested in a night of gunfire and explosions in Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere, BBC reports.

A further 90 people died and 1,154 people were injured as thousands of Turks heeded President Erdogan’s call to rise up against the coup-plotters.

It is not known who was behind the attempted putsch.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed a “parallel structure”, in a clear reference to Fethullah Gulen, a powerful but reclusive US-based Muslim cleric he accuses of fomenting unrest.

However, in a statement, Fethullah Gulen rejected any suggestion he had links to the events, saying he condemned “in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey”.

Events began on Friday evening when tanks took up positions on two bridges over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, blocking it to traffic. Troops were seen on the streets and low-flying military jets were filmed over Ankara.

Shortly after, a faction of the army released a statement saying that a “peace council” was running the country, and there would be a curfew and martial law.

The group said it had launched the coup “to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms”.

It said that the democratic and secular rule of law had been eroded by the current government, and there would be a new constitution.

President Erdogan was in the south-west holiday resort of Marmaris at the time. He made a televised address, via his mobile phone, urging people to take to the streets to oppose the uprising.

He then flew on to Istanbul, saying Marmaris had been bombed after he left.

In a speech at Istanbul airport, President Erdogan said: “What is being perpetrated is a treason and a rebellion. They will pay a heavy price.”

The Turkish parliament and presidential buildings in Ankara were attacked. At least one bomb hit the parliament complex. MPs were believed to be hiding in shelters.

Gunfire was also heard outside Istanbul police headquarters and tanks were said to be stationed outside Istanbul airport.

There were reports of fierce clashes in Taksim Square in the centre of Istanbul, and gunfire and explosions were heard near the square.

One of the helicopters being flown by rebels was shot down by government troops in Ankara.

Sporadic gunfire was still being reported in some areas by morning.

The situation was still confused on Saturday, but Gen Dundar said the coup attempt “has been foiled”.

He said 47 civilians, 41 police officers and two soldiers had been killed in the violence, and many commanders were taken to “unknown locations”.

Around 200 unarmed soldiers have left Turkey’s military headquarters in the capital Ankara and surrendered to police, the state-run Anadolu news agency says.

Earlier, dramatic images showed dozens of soldiers walking away from their tanks with their hands up on one of Istanbul’s Bosphorus bridges, after they had closed it off to traffic all night.