Turkey in mid army coup. Erdogan absent
All Turkish airports are closed and a nationwide curfew imposed as a section of the armed forces claimed to have taken the country over. It is not clear if this coup has succeeded. The coup leaders have seized national television and the phone network. Gunfire was heard in Ankara and military jets flew low over Ankara and Istanbul where the bridges over the Bosphorus were blocked. The situation appeared fluid as Erdogan in his first response told a local news service that a minority in the army had tried to remove the government and would face retaliation. Speaking from an unknown situation, he said he would soon return to the capital.
In Istanbul, Turkish Gendarmerie and soldiers blocked entrances to bridges over the Bosphorus while tanks blocked Ataturk airport. A TV announcer read out a statement saying that a ‘peace committee’ had taken over the country against autocratic rule and will write a new constitution restoring democracy, whose institutions have been eroded by autocratic rule, and restore secular law.
According to unconfirmed reports Turkish generals are being held hostage at Istanbul HQ, including the chief of staff. This indicates the coup was staged by junior officers. So far the intelligence service and army units loyal to the president including the presidential guard.