Image: defence-blog.com

Image: defence-blog.com

An army group in Turkey says it has taken control of the country, with bridges closed in Istanbul and aircraft flying low over Ankara.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim earlier denounced an “illegal action” by a military group, stressing it was not a coup. He said that the government remained in charge.

Traffic has been stopped from crossing both the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges in Istanbul.

There are reports of gunshots in the capital Ankara.

Other reports said soldiers were inside buildings of the Turkish state broadcaster in Ankara.

Gunfire was also heard outside Istanbul police HQ and tanks are said to be stationed outside Istanbul airport. All flights are cancelled.

CNN Turk reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was “safe” but did not elaborate.

A statement from the military group read out on NTV television said: “the power in the country has been seized in its entirety.” Who represents the group remains uncertain.

Turkish presidential source told Reuters that the statement was not authorised by the military command.

Mr Yildirim told NTV by telephone: “we are working on the possibility of an attempt. We will not allow this attempt.

“Those who are in this illegal act will pay the highest price,” he added, saying it would not be correct to describe the move as a “coup”.

He said: “there was an illegal act by a group within the military that was acting out of the chain of military command. Our people should know that we will not allow any activity that would harm democracy.”

There are reports that a Turkish generals has been taken hostage at the military headquarters.

Visiting Moscow, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he hoped for peace and “continuity” in Turkey.

The full Turkish military statement reads: “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.”

The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is on holiday and outside the country. Reuters has quoted a source within his office as saying that he is safe.

There are numerous reports that hostages have been taken in the Turkish capital, Ankara. CNN Turk say they’re being held at a military headquarters there.

The state-run Anadolu press agency says the chief of military staff is among those being held.

“This is an attack against Turkish democracy. A group within the armed forces has made an attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government outside the chain of command.

“The statement made on behalf of the Armed Forces wasn’t authorised by the military command. We urge the world to stand in solidarity with the Turkish people.”

Gunfire was heard and jets were seen flying in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday as Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said a group within Turkey’s military had attempted to overthrow the government.

Security forces had been called in to “do what is necessary,” Yildirim said.

“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV and reported by Reuters.

“The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so.”

Separately, Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge were both closed by military forces on Friday, local television channels reported, without giving a reason. Istanbul is 320 miles away from Ankara.

Author: Cerebral Lemon