THE ‘cleansing’ of the Turkish army has begun with the government arresting 6,000 people involved in Friday’s failed military coup.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told state media that generals, high ranking soldiers and judges have been detained and that the number of people charged is expected to rise.
He said: “The clean-up operations are continuing.”
More than 50 senior soldiers were reportedly arrested in the western province of Denizli today.
At least 265 people died in the attempted takeover of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime.
The Turkish President is using Friday’s coup as a chance to ‘cleanse’ the army and described the rebellion as a ‘gift from God’.
Erdogan has called on his supporters to stay in public squares, saying “this is not a 12 hour affair” and insisting that arrests within all ranks of the army are continuing.
He added that his regime is wiping the “virus” from all institutions of state and said the coup attempt had been stopped because of the national will.
Tens of thousands of people have gathered in the main Taksim square in Istanbul and Kizilay square in Ankara waving the Turkish flag and played songs praising the controversial president.
Smaller protests were also held across the country in smaller towns and cities.
A group of anti-government rebels have reportedly commandeered a warship and taken the head of the Turkish navy hostage at the country’s Golcuk naval base as the government struggles to maintain control of rebels leading an uprising.
The rebellion comes as the government admitted “many” military commanders have been taken hostage at the country’s army HQ and eight men landed a Turkish military helicopter in Greece and asked for asylum.
Turkish rebels are thought to be holding Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu, one of several senior military figures allegedly caught in the ongoing coup attempt, Russia Today reports.
Chaos erupted across the country last night as a bloody military coup in the streets of Ankara and Istanbul saw more than 160 killed and 1,400 injured – and President Erdogan has warned more bloodshed could be on the horizon tonight.
Surrendered Turkish soldiers who were involved in the coup are beaten by a supported of Erdogan
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has asked for Greece to return the eight “treacherous officers” who fled there following the military coup attempt.
A faction of the Turkish military attempted to stage a coup last night, which appears to have failed.
Almost 200 people, including 47 civilians, lost their lives in the night of bloodshed and violence, as more than 2,800 soldiers were arrested.
Heavily armed soldiers and tanks have been overpowered by furious Turkish civilians as they crushed a bloody military coup that saw more than 160 killed and over 1,400 injured.
President Erdogan has warned there could be another uprising tonight as he called on supporters to remain outside after they flooded the streets to overpower soldiers last night.
Officials have warned 2,839 members of the army who have been arrested for the “black stain on Turkey’s democracy” could face the death penalty as they consider reinstating capital punishment, while “many” military commanders have been taken hostage at the army HQ.
So far 161 people have been confirmed dead and 1,154 injured in the night of bloody rebellion as the military attempted to overthrow the government.
Eight men landed in Greece in a military helicopter asking for political asylum this morning, as the uprising continues to bubble in Turkey.
Shocking photographs show armed civilians overpowering and beating soldiers as they take back control.
People were seen celebrating this morning after rebelling soldiers from the Turkish army surrendered on the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.
Supports of President Erdogan waved Turkish flags, cheered and mounted tanks left behind by the rebels as they celebrated their victory.
Plain-clothes policemen and armed civilians were seen embracing and cheering as more than a thousand soldiers were arrested.
Ankara-based photojournalist Piero Castellano told the BBC Turks surged onto the streets after Erdogan’s TV appeal for support.
He said: “People rushed to the main square, to rush to the tanks and the armoured carriers – it was a bloodbath.
“It was unexpected. There is a very strong link, or maybe there was until last night, there was a very strong link between the Turkish people and their military.
“So people were shocked when the military actually fired on the crowd.”
The Turkish Government said 2,839 soldiers have been arrested after army factions used tanks and helicopters to cause ”a bloodbath on the streets”, killing dozens of innocent civilians.
Deputy leader of the AKP Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said the government will introduce a bill calling for the rebel soldier’s to be executed on Friday.
He posted on Twitter: “We will put forward a motion, which will demand the execution of those who have been involved in the coup attempt.”
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says last night was a black stain on Turkish democracy and coup plotters will face the justice they deserve.
He added the death penalty is not in Turkey’s constitution, but said the country will consider legal changes to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Horrified civilians attempted to flee packed areas as heavily-armed coup supporters in 62-tonne tanks called for an uprising against Turkish President Erdogan.
Turkey’s acting army chief General Umit Dundar has said 104 “coup plotters” were killed on top of the 41 police officers, 47 civilians and two soldiers earlier reported.
Turkey’s parliamentary building suffered devastating damage as rebels stormed the surrounding square and set off bombs, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed revenge.
Explosions rocked Ankara and Istanbul, injuring several police officers and parliament workers as a “massive” blast shook the building.
Soldiers opened fire at civilians as they attempted to cross the Bosphorus bridge in popular holiday destination Istanbul, killing several.
One powerful image, echoing the famous photo of a man standing in front of tanks with two shopping bags during the Tianamen Square rebellion, shows a man lying in front of an army tank in a bid to stop the uprising.
He tweeted today: “Regardless at what stage this attempt is, we need to be in the streets tonight. A new coup attempt could take place at any minute.”
It is thought Erdogan’s supporters taking to the streets to fight the rebels led the army to relinquish control.
Some 17 police officers and an MP are among those killed in the bloody battles, as well as at least 16 coup plotters in clashes at Turkey’s military police command.
Police and civilians fought off soldiers who stormed the CNN Turkey newsroom in a bid to take control of the national media.
The rebel army faction, calling themselves the “Peace Council” said they were trying to overthrow the government to “protect human rights” and restore democracy.
Turkey’s night of violence has concerned experts, who say it shows the nation, a key NATO ally in fighting ISIS in Syria, is more exposed to the schisms affecting Middle East countries.
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Erdogan made a triumphant return back to Istanbul from holiday resort Marmaris, warning rebels will pay a “heavy price for their trason”.
The Presidents Justice and Development Party, AKP, has repeatedly faced criticism from human rights groups and Western allies for its brutal crackdowns on anti-government protesters.
Five army generals and 29 colonels have been arrested following the attempted coup, which the government says is now largely under control.
Hundreds of the soldiers in custody are said to have surrendered.
Tanks blocked bridges and surrounded Turkey’s Ataturk Airport, forcing it shut as terrified tourists arrived last night.
Most international flights were diverted to other nearby destinations, but one flight from London Gatwick landed in Istanbul as the airport was surrounded by army vehicles.
The flight landed at 11.09pm Turkish time and it is unclear whether passengers remained at the closed airport or moved on.
British Airways cancelled all flights to Turkish airports today and tomorrow, but EasyJet has said they will continue to fly there on the advice of British authorities.
Turkey is a popular Brit holiday destinations and the Foreign Office has warned anyone in Turkey to remain inside and stay vigilant.
Turkey’s military chief Hulusi Akar has been rescued after being held hostage.
The country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to Istanbul after rushing back from his holiday, vowing: ”The ring leader who plotted all of this will pay the price in front of the nation.”
Turkish MPs are holding an extraordinary meeting in parliament to discuss the night’s dramatic events.
Erdogan has warned those involved in the uprising will “pay a heavy price”.
The President also blamed the uprising on his enemy, exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denied he was behind the coup.
The Istanbul Police Chief named the leader of the coup as Col Muharrem Kose, a former member of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Soldiers driving the coup clashed with protesters in the streets throughout the night after heavy gunfire in the streets of Ankara and Istanbul during the attempted coup which saw the military claim power.
The action continued even after the President returned to the city and the Prime Minister Binali Yildirim telling the state-run Anadolu news agency: “Things are getting better every minute”.
President Erdogan eventually made it back to Istanbul after having been on holiday in Marmaris, which he told media had been also targeted in the bombings.
He said the uprising was an act of treason and advised supporting factions of the army to shoot down any revel jets.
F-16 fighter jets are reported to have bombed tanks positioned by coup backers near the presidential palace in Ankara.
His arrival to Istanbul came after 12 people where injured while gathered in the Turkish Parliament and were bombed.
The MPs refused to leave the parliament with every political party coming out against the coup.
But the military action has suffered several defeats with protesters forcing the soldiers to leave the Bosphorus Bridge with protesters also facing off with soldiers in Taksim Square in Istanbul.
The offical Turkish news agency reported a F16 shot down a Sikorsky helicopter that had been in the hands of the coup plotters.
The people have also taken back the state run TV station after it was seized by soldiers part of the coup with those involved in the attempted overthrow arrested.
Reuters reported around 30 Turkish soldiers involved in the coup surrendered their weapons after being surrounded by armed police, with the soldiers arrested soon after.
He said the chain of command has been disrupted in the army and vowed to restore order to the country.
He added: “I urge the Turkish people to gather at public squares and airports. There is no power higher than the power of the people.”
Protesters have clambered onto the tanks as protesters fight back against the attempted coup
The night’s bloodbath began as soldiers stormed the state-run TRT news agency, takin
The President said he did not believe the coup would succeed and said he believed it would be over within “a short time”.
Many people took to the streets and even held a prayer session as they refused to accept the military coup.
The Turkish President took to Twitter while he was away from the city, praising the country’s democracy and national unity.
He has also warned that any military helicopter or war plane flying over government buildings would be downed with missiles.
There have been protests in Taksim Square with supporters of President Erdogan turning out in force.
Reports of gunfire lasted throughout the night with the Secret Service building as well as helicopters shooting two missiles at the state TV TRT headquarters.
Many civilians were injured on the Bosphorous Bridge while explosions were heard in Ankara with hostages, including the chief of military staff, reportedly taken at military headquarters.
He has since been rescued according to local reports.
Footage has also emerged appearing to show helicopters firing onto the streets in Ataturk.
The military took over CNN in Turkey for a period of time, forcing the anchor off life on air, but the station has since regained control.
During the night, an army commander ordered all soldiers of the Third Army to return to their bases or face prosecution.
It is understood 46 officers involved in the coup attempt have been identified and will be arrested.
An image of a soldier involved in the coup has been released with the frightened man surrounded by protesters.
Reports of several attacks against the soldiers also surfaced with images of those involved in the coup surrounded by protests emerging.
The coup came after the Turkish military released a statement, saying: “Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged.
“All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.”
In a further statement read out on the state-run broadcaster TRT, the military said it had declared martial law and imposed a curfew.
The statement said the country would now be run by a “peace council” with a new constitution to be prepared as soon as possible.
The anchor has since described being made to read the statement out at gunpoint with those who captured the station taken into custody.
A European Union source monitoring the attempted coup told Reuters: “It looks like a relatively well-orchestrated coup by a substantial body of the military, not just a few colonels.
“They’ve got control of the airports and are expecting control over the TV station imminently.”
The source continued: “They control several strategic points in Istanbul. Given the scale of the operation, it is difficult to image they will stop short of prevailing.”
It is understood the Turkish ambassador in a European capital was taken by surprise.
A diplomat told Reuters: “This is clearly not some tinpot little coup. The Turkish ambassador was clearly shocked and is taking it very seriously.”
Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Al Jazeera that the attempted coup was using “illegal methods” and was attacking democracy.
He said: “Stability of Turkey means stability of many other countries and the stability of Turkey means the stability of a safe haven of millions of refugees. If it is harmed, the domino effect cannot be prevented.”
He said he had seen many attempts of coups that had been unsuccessful.
The military have also reportedly set up a blockade at a central hospital in Istanbul.
Some flights managed to land at the airport as the coup began to unfold but many international flights were forced to turn around.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson took to social media, saying: “Very concerned by events unfolding in Turkey. Our embassy is monitoring the situation closely. Brits should follow FCO website for advice.”
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said there was no excuse for violence or abuse of human rights.
The UK Foreign Office has advised British citizens in Turkey to avoid public places and remain vigilant.
The statement said: “We are concerned by events unfolding in Ankara and Istanbul.”
The US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he hopes for stability, peace and continuity in Turkey in the wake of the coup.
US President Barack Obama is also being briefed on the unfolding situation with a spokesman for the White House National Security Council saying: “The President’s national security team has apprised him of the unfolding situation in Turkey.
“The President will continue to receive regular updates.”
Traffic was initially stopped by the military from crossing both the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges in Istanbul.
Prime Minister Yildrim told NTV television: “We are focusing on the possibility of an attempt (coup).
Local media RIA-Novosti reports that Facebook and Twitter in the country have been blocked.
A no-fly zone was declared over Ankara overnight.
Turkey has also closed three of its border crossings with Bulgaria.
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