Turkey coup attempt: Army group says in control

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Jets and helicopters fly overhead in Turkish capital of Ankara, as military closes two major bridges in Istanbul.

Military units have attempted an uprising in Turkey, the country’s prime minister told a Turkish broadcaster. Troops have been seen in the streets of Ankara and there have been reports of jets flying low over the city.

Sections 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.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call to broadcaster CNN Turk on Friday 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.

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“We will overcome this,” Erdogan said, speaking on a video call to a mobile phone held up to the camera by a presenter. He called on his followers to take to the streets to defend his government and said the coup plotters would pay a heavy price.

An official said Erdogan was speaking from Marmaris on the Turkish coast where he was on holiday. Erdogan said he would swiftly return to Ankara.

In the capital Ankara, gunshots and loud explosions were heard, as military jets and helicopters were seen flying overhead, a Reuters news agency witness said. The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that a military helicopter had attacked the Ankara police headquarters and Reuters said the parliament was surrounded with tanks.

Another 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.

In Gaziantep, a city in the south, Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reported that supporters of Erdogan had taken to the streets, heeding his call for people to protest. Cars streamed towards the airport.

The Dogan news agency quoted the military members on Friday as saying that they wanted “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”.

SOURCE; ALJAZEERA

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