Turkey’s army said Friday night that it has taken power over the country, local television reported.
The announcement came shortly after Turkey’s prime minister said a group within the military was engaged in what appeared to be an attempted coup, but said it would fail.
“It is correct that there was an attempt,” Binali Yildirim told NTV television, but did not provide details. He said that Turkey would never allow any “initiative that would interrupt democracy.”
“We are working on the possibility of an attempt. We will not allow this attempt,” he told the television by telephone, without expanding on the nature of the move but saying it was by a group in the Turkish military.
“There are certain groups who took the arms trusted to them by the state and pointed them toward state employees,” Yildirim said. “We shall determine soon who they are. Our security forces have acted against these groups.”
He said that, “Those who are in this illegal act will pay the highest price,” but added that it would not be correct to describe the move as a “coup.”
Media reports said ambulances were seen in front of the Turkey’s military headquarters. Sky News quoted reports as saying that the airports in and out of the country had been closed.
Turkish military jets were heard flying low over Ankara on Friday night, along with reports of tanks in the streets of the Turkish capital and the sounds of gunfire.
According to the Reuters news agency, a local witness said that military helicopters were seen also flying overhead in Ankara.
In Istanbul, both of the bridges into the city were closed, local media said, and traffic was reportedly being diverted. There was no explanation for the move, Reuters reported.
CNN Turk also said that the bridges over the Bosphorus River had been closed by military police.
Israel’s Channel 10 television reported that the British Embassy in Ankara was being evacuated.
There were also reports that social media in Turkey had been shut down, even as information from the country still appeared to be filtering through on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Times of Israel