Turkish army ‘fully seizes control of running country’

An army group in Turkey says it has taken control of the country, with bridges closed in Istanbul and aircraft flying low over the capital Ankara.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim earlier denounced an “illegal action” by a military “group”, stressing it was not a coup and insisting that the government remained in charge.

The Turkish military released a statement last night saying armed forces had “fully seized control” of running the country.

A statement from the military group read out on NTV television said: “The power in the country has been seized in its entirety.” Who represents the group remains uncertain.

Earlier Yildirim said that Turkey would never allow any “initiative that would interrupt democracy’’.

But the statement attributed to the military later said the takeover had been successful.

Earlier, military jets were heard flying over the capital, Ankara. There were reports of gunshots in Ankara. Other reports said soldiers were inside buildings of the Turkish state broadcaster in Ankara.

Media reports said ambulances were seen in front of Turkey’s military headquarters.

“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.’’

The Dogan agency reported that the statement said that the military did this “to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for the law and order to be reinstated”.

The military statement went on to say that “all international agreements and commitments will remain. We pledge that good relations with all world countries will continue”.

CNN Turk reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was “safe” but did not elaborate.


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