ABC–The Turkish government says it foiled Friday’s attempted coup, initiated by a faction of the military that took over state TV, imposed martial law and a curfew and attacked the police headquarters in the capital of Ankara.
“The situation unfolded in Turkey was a coup attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government,” read a statement released by the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C.
“This attempt was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our President and Government are in charge.
“Turkish Armed Forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the Armed Forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation.”
Statement on the Coup Attempt
The situation unfolded in Turkey was a coup attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government. This attempt was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our President and Government are in charge. Turkish Armed Forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the Armed Forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation.
Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim said 161 were killed in the overnight coup attempt and 1,440 people were wounded.
Speaking at a press conference Saturday afternoon local time, Yildirim referred to the dead as “martyrs.”
The prime minister said the government has detained 2,839 military members. And according to Gen. Umit Dundar, who was appointed acting Chief of General Staff, 104 coup plotters have been killed.
According to the Ministry of Interior, 29 colonels and five generals were relieved of their duties.
About 200 unarmed soldiers left Turkey’s military headquarters and surrendered to police, Anadolu Agency reported.
Yildirim described the attempted coup as a “dark stain for Turkish democracy” and blamed it on the “parallel terrorist organization” — a term used by authorities to describe the movement of Pennsylvania-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile.
Early in the coup attempt Friday night, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed his finger at Gulen, saying, “This is not a country that can be run from Pennsylvania.”
Gulen responded in a statement that, “I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey. Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force.”
He continued, “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 … I categorically deny such accusations.”
Before 2013, Gulen and the country’s president were political allies before falling out over corruption allegations leveled at Erdogan.
Late Friday night Erdogan, returned to Istanbul after going to an undisclosed location and vowed that those who carried out the coup will “pay.” Earlier, he urged supporters to take to the streets in defiance.
Upon arrival at Istanbul’s Ataruk Airport, Erdogan addressed thousands of flag-waving supporters, saying the coup won’t succeed.
“They have pointed the people’s guns against the people,” he said. “The president, whom 52 percent of the people brought to power, is in charge. This government brought to power by the people, is in charge. They won’t succeed as long as we stand against them by risking everything.”
Erdogan also called the coup a “gift from God” because it will help Turkey clean out the military from the “members of this gang.”
“The timing of the coup was ‘meaningful,’ because the military will start meetings in the beginning of August, and those who staged the coup were afraid of the decisions that would be made at those meetings,” Erdogan said.
“This is not old Turkey,” he said. “This is new Turkey.”