BREAKING : Turkey Coup Attempt. Military Says It Has Taken Over Government

Turkish prime minister the government remains in charge; military jets and helicopters seen flying low over Ankara and tanks reported in the streets; two major bridges in Istanbul are closed to traffic.

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Turkish security officers detain police officers on the side of the road on July 15, 2016 in Istanbul, during a security shutdown of the Bosphorus Bridge. Credits : Bulent Kilic, AFP

A group within Turkey’s military has attempted to overthrow the government and security forces have been called in to “do what is necessary,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday.

The Turkish military released a statement that it had taken over in the name of democratic order, adding that all existing foreign relations will continue and human rights will remain.

The Turkish chief of military staff is among several who have been taken hostage in Ankara, the state-run Anadolu agency reported.

“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim, the prime minister, said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV. “The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so.”

Those behind the attempted coup would pay the highest price, he added.
The Turkish state broadcaster TRT, whose buildings were said to have been taken over by soldiers, says a curfew has been declared across the country. A military statement carried by the broadcaster says a new constitution is to be prepared soon.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is safe, a presidential source said, adding that the statement made on behalf of the armed forces announcing a takeover of the government was not authorized by the military command.
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Image credits : Emrah Gurel, AP

The source also urged the world to “stand in solidarity” with the Turkish people.
Soldiers have also entered the Istanbul branch of Turkey’s ruling AKP party and asked staff to leave, according to CNN Turk, which cited the head of the branch.
All flights from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport were canceled, a Reuters witness said, citing a pilot. NTV showed footage at tanks at the airport’s entrance.
Earlier, gunshots were heard in the Turkish capital, a Reuters witness said, as military jets and helicopters were seen flying overhead.
Reuters witnesses in Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city, also spotted military jets and helicopters overhead, as well as tanks in the streets. Gunfire was heard near the Istanbul police headquarters.

Broadcaster NTV reported that both of Istanbul’s bridges across the Bosphorus, the strait separating the European and Asian sides of the city, had been closed to traffic.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said all Israeli diplomats are safe; the diplomats were instructed to stay in their homes.
Users on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were reporting difficulties in accessing the platforms.
The events follow increased security on the streets in recent days.