A coup orchestrated by a military group appears to have failed, with more than 2,800 coup “plotters” arrested and 104 soldiers killed, according to Turkish state news agencies.
Video footage on social media shows dozens of soldiers surrendering across different locations in Istanbul and Ankara.
According to Turkish prosecutors, at least 90 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the overnight coup attempt. Turkey’s leadership vowed to punish the perpetrators, with Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister saying that the government would consider returning capital punishment to punish “traitors”.
The military coup attempt started with soldiers taking control of key installations and announcing on state television that a “peace council” would now run the country to “reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms.”
The military coup plotters also arrested a number of key political figures, including the Military’s top general and chief of staff, Hulusi Akar, who was later freed by forces loyal to the government.
However, within an hour of the statement, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the coup, calling on civilians to rise up against the coup perpetrators. Hundreds took to the streets protesting against the coup, curbing the coup plotters’ attempts to take over.
Throughout the night, violence broke out, with key installations being struck by air-strikes, bomb blasts, and gunfire. Turkey’s Parliament and National Intelligence Headquarters were among the locations targeted by military helicopters, which were later shot down by fighter jets.
While the specifics remain unclear, the coup plot appeared to have been foiled, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry praising the people for remaining united against the coup. Video footage shows police forces and civilians detaining soldiers across the country, with some instances of soldiers being badly beaten or killed by angry crowds.
Turkish President Erdogan, who had been holidaying in the south of Turkey, returned to Istanbul where he gave a speech promising that his country and its democratic principles had only become stronger as a result of the coup. Erdogan added that the coup was a “gift from God” that would help “cleanse the military”.
While Erdogan blamed Fethullah Gullen, a cleric who lives in the United States and has strongly opposed Erdogan, for the coup, Gullen released a statement strongly condemning the coup.
Turkey has a history of military coups, with four successful coups in the past 60 years.