Military units have attempted an uprising in Turkey. Early Saturday, it was unclear whether the army or the elected government is in control. In the country’s biggest cities, Istanbul and Ankara, there were reports of gunfire. In Istanbul, bridges were blocked by a group of soldiers and military vehicles. The U.S. Embassy reported low-flying military jets.
Here’s what we know so far:
Military coup underway
Military issues statements about seizing control: “The political administration that has lost all legitimacy has been forced to withdraw,” said a Turkish state broadcast anchor, reading from a statement from the “Peace in the Nation” council. The announcement declared the imposition of martial law, with a curfew in effect until further notice.
The Turkish military issued statements to media claiming it has “fully seized control of Turkey” to maintain democratic order, that rule of law must remain a priority and international relations must remain.
Opposition leader claims devotion to democracy: Turkey’s main opposition leader, Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu, of the Republican People’s Party, said Saturday: “Our country has suffered a great deal from coups. We do not want the same hardships to be relived. We claim our republic and our democracy; protect our belief absolutely. Everyone shall know that the Republican People’s Party (CHP) is devoted to the constant of our democracy, that is the free will of our citizens.”
On the ground
Military closes Istanbul bridges: Two bridges in Istanbul are closed in one direction by the military. Cars are flowing from the European side of the city to the Asian, but soldiers and military vehicles are blocking the path to the European side.
Hundreds in public square: A CNN producer said there were 200 to 300 residents in Taksim Square in Istanbul, some of them were waving Turkish flags. At least one army tank and one other military vehicle were at the square. Video and photos posted on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook showed large crowds marching through the streets and taunting soldiers — while Turkish military fire their guns in the air.
About 100 police officers were shooting off tear gas, trying to disperse the crowd and explosions and gunfire were heard in the streets.
Social media outages: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all experienced interruptions or outages.
Turkey Blocks, a group that tracks censorship in Turkey, tweeted that all three services were blocked in the country as of 10:50 pm local time. Dyn, another service that tracks Internet performance globally, reported that Facebook and Twitter were blocked for “about an hour.”
Gunshots near the presidential complex: Gunfire was heard around the presidential complex in the capital Ankara, Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported, citing witnesses. Anadolu reported that helicopters have opened fire at the national intelligence headquarters in Ankara.
Turkish fighter jet shot down: A Turkish F-16 fighter jet has shot down a helicopter used by coup plotters over Ankara, according to CNN affiliate CNN Turk.
All flights canceled: While a few flights have landed in the last hour, Turkish airlines flight status boards shows that all flights out of Istanbul have been canceled or marked indefinitely delayed for tonight. Flight websites show no departing flights from Istanbul.
Troops take control of state media: Turkish state broadcaster TRT was taken over by a faction of the military that was part of the coup attempt. After the military was ejected, Tijen Karas, the female anchor who said she was forced to read the military statement earlier in the evening, told the crowd around her: “We were taken over. I was forced by men with arms and they told us that they would not harm us if we did as told.”
CNN Turk, which is part of the same broadcast center, reported that soldier have entered their building in the Dogan Media Center. “That’s it, we now have to go.” The studio is now being emptied.
Urging people to take the streets: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging people to take to the streets to stand up to the military. Erdogan was interviewed via Facetime on CNN Turk television. “Go to the streets and give them their answer,” he urged. “I am coming to a square in Ankara. .. This was done from outside the chain of command,” he said. He said the lower officers had rebelled against senior officers. “Those who are responsible, we will give them the necessary punishment,” he said.
They will not be successful: Erdogan told CNN Turk, “I do not think that this will be successful. In history, nowhere in the world has a coup been successful. …Sooner or later, they all fail.”
Prime Minister Binanli Yildirim called the uprising “an attempt against democracy and the will of the people.” He said the government remains in control and that an attempted mutiny by junior officers has been thwarted. He told state news agency Anadolu, “Never ever will we allow activity that disrupts democracy.”
The global response
President Obama urges support for democratically-elected government: According to a White House statement, President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the events. The President and secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed.
U.S. State Department confirmed reports: The State Department posted on Twitter, “Confirming media reports of gunshots & possible attempted uprising in #Turkey.” The State Department tweeted that social media is blocked in Turkey and urges Americans to use phone and email to communicate.
The State Department and U.S. Embassy in Ankara also warned Americans in country to be vigilant and shelter in place.
NATO calls for calm: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement: “I have just spoken to the Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. I am following events in Turkey closely and with concern. I call for calm and restraint, and full respect for Turkey’s democratic institutions and its constitution. Turkey is a valued NATO ally.”
CNN’s Barbara Starr says that a coup in Turkey would be a diplomatic crisis for U.S. and NATO because Turkey is home to a military base used to stage airstrikes against ISIS and Turkey has received military support from the U.S.
British government advised nationals: A statement from the British Foreign Office said, “we are concerned by events unfolding in Ankara and Istanbul. Our Embassy is monitoring the situation closely. Given the current uncertainty we advise British nationals to avoid public places, remain vigilant and monitor the FCO website for travel advice.”
Turkey fast facts
Turkey has been a member country of NATO since 1952, and is the only predominantly Muslim member.
Turkey has faced a series of terrorist attacks — the latest, just last month in Istanbul, when terrorists killed at least 42 people and wounded more than 100 at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.