Turkish officials on Saturday said the government had appeared to have repelled an attempted military coup following a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire across the capital that left at least 17 dead, according to state-run media.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an interview over FaceTime with the CNN Turk station, dismissed the military action as "an attempt at an uprising by a minority within our armed forces." His office declined to disclose his whereabouts, saying only that he was in a secure location.
A file photo of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Reuters
Turks took to the streets of cities across the country waving national flags throughout the attempted coup to show their support for the government.
By Saturday morning, a top Turkish official said the coup attempt appeared to have been repelled. The senior official told The Associated Press that all government officials were in charge of their offices. The official requested anonymity
because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Earlier, Nuh Yilmaz, a spokesman for Turkish National Intelligence told CNN Turk the coup attempt had been quashed. Yilmaz added that Gen. Hulusi Akar, the military chief of staff, was back in control and "everything is returning to normal."
The chaos, included a reported bomb explosion at the parliament, capped a period of political turmoil in Turkey blamed on Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule, which has included a government shake up and a crackdown on dissidents and opposition media.
Critics also have blamed Erdogan for taking a hard line on Turkey's Kurdish rebels after the collapse of peace efforts, leading to deadly clashes that have increased military casualties. His government has also come under scrutiny for allegedly tolerating the flow of fighters and weapons to rebel groups fighting the government in Syria in the early years of the civil war there, fueling the growth of the Islamic State group.
That policy, according to analysts, backfired when Turkey took on a more active role in the U.S.-led coalition against the extremists, who have since been blamed for a series of deadly bombings on Turkish soil.
The coup attempt began late Friday, with a statement from the military saying it had seized control "to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for law and order to be reinstated."
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Updated Date: Jul 16, 2016 15:31:43 IST