Saturday, July 16, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Looks to Restore Control After Attempted Coup in Turkey (VIDEO)

Here's my post from last night, "Agence France-Presse Updates on Coup Attempt in Turkey."

Events were moving very quickly. Shortly after I posted it looked like Erdoğan was bringing things back in control. He flew into Istanbul's airport and went on television for a national address.

The nation's capital is in Ankara, however, so it remains to be seen if Erdoğan's restored control at the government traditional seat of power.

At the New York Times, "Turkey Detains Thousands of Military Personnel After Attempted Coup: 265 Killed and Many More Wounded as Factions Clash":

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s government rounded up thousands of military personnel on Saturday who were said to have taken part in an attempted coup, moving swiftly to re-establish control after a night of chaos and intrigue that left hundreds dead.

By noon, there were few signs that those who had taken part in the coup attempt were still able to challenge the government, and many declared the uprising a failure.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the insurrection “a stain in the history of democracy” at a news conference on Saturday in Ankara, the capital. He raised the death toll in the clashes to 265, with 1,440 people wounded, and he said 2,839 military personnel had been detained.

As the insurrection unfolded Friday night, beginning with the seizing of two bridges in Istanbul by military forces, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not heard from for hours. He finally addressed the nation from an undisclosed location, speaking on his cellphone’s FaceTime app — a dramatic scene that seemed to suggest a man on the verge of losing power. But in the early hours of Saturday, he landed in Istanbul, a strong sign that the coup was failing.

Mr. Erdogan placed blame for the intrigue on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, who was the president’s ally until a bitter falling out three years ago. Mr. Gulen’s followers were known to have a strong presence in Turkey’s police and judiciary, but less so in the military.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Erdogan said, referring to Mr. Gulen, “I have a message for Pennsylvania: You have engaged in enough treason against this nation. If you dare, come back to your country.”

In a statement released on the website of his group, Alliance for Shared Values, Mr. Gulen condemned the coup and supported the country’s democratic process.

“As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt,” Mr. Gulen wrote. “I categorically deny such accusations.”

Mr. Erdogan also said that Turkish fighter jets had bombed tanks on the streets of Ankara, and that a military helicopter being used by the coup plotters had been shot down.

There was also a battle early Saturday at Turkey’s main intelligence headquarters in Ankara, which government forces later secured, and a Turkish official said the intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, had been taken to a secure location.

In a news conference on Saturday, Turkey’s top military officer, Gen. Umit Dundar, the acting head of the general staff, said that “the coup attempt was rejected by the chain of command immediately.”