People stand and celebrate on an army tank after taking over a military position on the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul on July 16, 2016. (Photo: BULENT KILIC/ AFP).
“For now everyone is delighted that democracy is restored,” a source told The Sunday Telegraph. “The fear is for what comes next.”
The source added that keeping Turkey on a democratic track would top the agenda at Sunday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers, who have been relying on the country to stem the flow of migrants into Europe since signing a deal with Ankara last year.
“Erdogan’s instinct and priority will now be to clamp down on dissent and consolidate power,” said Mujtaba Rahman, of Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy. “This has to complicate cooperation with Europe over refugees, as it’ll give more voice to already squeamish constituencies in the EU about closer ties with Turkey.”
Some 104 plotters were killed in clashes, while 161 others fell as “martyrs”, the government said.
The coup was defeated with the aid of tens of thousands of Mr Erdogan’s supporters who poured on to the streets after he flew back to Istanbul in the middle of the night, using a hastily arranged press conference to urge them to take back control.
By the time the last plotters surrendered on the Bosphorus bridge, the crowds had descended on the disarmed rebels, beating them with clubs and humiliating the failed soldiers as they cowered on the ground.
Turkish authorities named Akin Ozturk, a former air force commander, as one of the “masterminds of the coup” alongside two army generals, Adem Huduti and Avni Angun.
Turkish authorities are demanding that the US extradites Fethullah Güen, an Islamic cleric who they accuse of leading the coup attempt. (Photo: REUTERS).
Up to 50,000 British holidaymakers were in the country during the attempted coup. Many of them looked for ways to return home after Istanbul’s main airport was temporarily shut and flights cancelled.
Flights have resumed, with Turkish Airlines operating a full timetable and British Airways running a reduced schedule.
Thomas Cook, meanwhile, which takes tourists to coastal resorts several hundred miles away from where the failed coup took place, said it was operating a full holiday programme.
The rebel army faction – which calls itself the Peace Council and denounced Mr Erdogan’s increasingly non-secular and autocratic approach – said it was trying to overthrow the government to “protect human rights”.
Mr Erdogan, caught by surprise as he enjoyed a holiday in the south, was quick to blame his old foe Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric, and former ally, living in exile in the US. Mr Gülen’s followers were known to have a strong presence in Turkey’s police and judiciary, but less so in the military.
The cleric, however, condemned the attempted coup and said he had played no part in it, but Mr Erdogan demanded his US allies hand him over for questioning.
However, there were signs of tension between Mr Erdogan and Washington, with John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, angrily denying allegations that the US had backed the coup.
John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said claims that the US was involved were “utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations.”
Amid fears of a bloody retribution, Stephane Dion, Canada’s foreign minster, has called on Turkey to handle the aftermath of the coup attempt according to “fundamental principles of democracy.”
By Saturday morning, all symbols of the coup had been dismantled or hijacked by government supporters.
Some stood on top of an abandoned armoured vehicle in the middle of the main highway into Istanbul. “Erdogan, Erdogan, he will never fail us,” they shouted into the windows of cars driving past.
US ‘resumes anti-Isil strikes from Turkish base’
The US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group has resumed air strikes from a Turkish air base that were suspended after a failed military coup d’etat, the Pentagon said on Sunday, AFP reports.
“After close coordination with our Turkish allies, they have reopened their airspace to military aircraft,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.
“As a result, counter-ISIL coalition air operations at all air bases in Turkey have resumed,” he added, using an acronym for the IS group.
“US facilities at Incirlik are still operating on internal power sources, but we hope to restore commercial power soon. Base operations have not been affected.”
The Turkish authorities on Saturday imposed a security lockdown at the Incirlik air base in the southern province of Adana used by US and other coalition forces in the fight against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday put down the bloody coup attempt, but it raised concerns in the West about the stability of the country and its continued role in the anti-IS coalition.
US to scale back Isil fight after loss of key Turkish air base
The United States has been forced to scale back its fight against Islamic State after losing access to the main Turkish air base it uses to launch air strikes against jihadists, reports Josie Ensor in Istanbul.
Turkish authorities imposed a security lockdown after a botched coup saw rebel soldiers take control of Incirlik air base in the south-east of the country on Friday night.
A senior air force general stationed at the base was arrested yesterday along with over a dozen lower ranking officers on suspicion of involvement in the putsch, which lasted several hours before it was shut down by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan loyalists.
Ankara suspects Incirlik was used to refuel military aircraft “hijacked” by the coup plotters and used to fly over cities across Turkey in a show of force.
The base has become a key hub for US forces after Turkey last year agreed to allow the fellow Nato member use of Incirlik to carry out lethal raids against Isil jihadists in Syria.
People gather and some stand atop of a Turkish army, armoured vehicle. (Photo: STP).
“US officials are working with the Turks to resume air operations there as soon as possible,” Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement. “In the meantime, US air forces central command is adjusting flight operations in the counter-Isil campaign to minimise any effects on the campaign.”
The Incirlik airbase is of critical importance to the US military, as not only does it facilitate the US aerial operations against terrorists in neighboring Syria and Iraq, but it is also one of six Nato sites in Europe that house tactical nuclear weapons.
Some have speculated that the base may be held “hostage” by Ankara as a bargaining chip ahead of demands for the extradition of Mr Erdogan’s arch enemy, Fethullah Gulen, currently a resident of the state of Pennsylvania.
Foreign office calls for calm
The Foreign Office says in a statement: “We are concerned by events over the weekend in Turkey. Our Embassy continues to monitor the situation closely.
“While the situation appears to have calmed the security environment remains potentially volatile. We are advising British nationals to monitor our travel advice and to check with their airline or tour operator before travelling.
People shout slogans and hold Turkish national flags during a demonstration. (Photo: MARIUS BECKER).
“British nationals requiring assistance in Turkey can contact the Foreign Office on 0207 008 0000.
“We have urged calm, the avoidance of any further bloodshed and support for the democratic institutions of Turkey, a message that the Foreign Secretary relayed to the Turkish Foreign Minister yesterday (Saturday).
“The Foreign Secretary has also spoken to, and been regularly updated by, diplomatic staff in Ankara and in Istanbul. They’re doing a fantastic job, working around the clock to help British nationals.”
6,000 detained in the aftermath of the coup
Turkish authorities have now detained 6,000 people including generals, in action that has sparked international concern.
“The clean-up operations are continuing,” Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
World leaders including US President Barack Obama have strongly condemned the attempted putsch but also urged Turkey to respect the rule of law in its aftermath, especially after pictures emerged showing the rough treatment of some coup plotters when arrested.
Failed coup attempt is a “windfall for Erdogan”
A Turkish soldier, in blue, is apprehended after the coup attempt.
Mahir Zeynalov is a journalist with Turkey’s English language daily Today’s Zaman. She said: “Erdogan has seized every moment in the past few years to empower himself, especially after challenges such as anti-government Gezi demonstrations and the massive corruption scandal of 2013.
“There is no doubt that he is poised to win a possible referendum designed to make him an executive president with expanded powers.
“The failed coup attempt is a windfall for Erdogan in his bid to further consolidate his power.”
Eight soldiers who fled to Greece in helicopter charged
Eight Turkish military officers who fled to Greece by helicopter following the failed coup have been charged with illegal entry and violating Greek airspace, according to their laywer.
The men, who have sought asylum in Greece, arrived by military helicopter on Saturday after sending a distress signal to authorities at the airport in the northern city of Alexandroupolis.
They remain under arrest and will appear in court on Monday.
The soldiers, all married and in their forties, say they played no part in the putsch but fled to Greece after policemen started shooting at them.
Counterterrorism chief shot but alive
Josie Ensor in Istanbul reports that the police department’s Counterterrorism Chief Turgut Aslan is this morning being treated in hospital after being shot in the head by coup plotters.
He is critically injured but still alive. He was held hostage for 24 hours after being captured by putschists during the attempted coup.
Plotters still holding out in Istanbul
Plotters believed to be behind the military coup aimed at toppling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are still at large in Istanbul, according to the Turkish Government.
A senior official said a few groups had yet to surrender, but that they no longer pose a risk to the Government.
These include important military figures who will be captured soon, according to the spokesman.
Thousands take to the streets to support Erdogan
Thousands took to the streets of Turkey Saturday in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after authorities crushed a military coup that claimed at least 265 lives.
After facing down the bloodiest challenge to his 13-year rule, Erdogan triumphantly addressed flag-waving supporters in Istanbul following Friday’s chaos in the strategic NATO member of 80 million people.
Thousands packed into Ankara’s Kizilat Square, the heart of Istanbul and the coastal city of Izmir at a series of rallies across the country.
US State Department warns against travelling to Turkey
Americans have been advised to “reconsider” travel to Turkey following the attempted coup.
“Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organisations,” the State Department has warned.
US airlines ace currently banned from flying to or from Ankara and Istanbul as have all inbound flights from Turkey – both direct and indirect.
John Kerry says claims US backed coup ‘utterly false’
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, called his Turkish opposite number Saturday to offer US support in the wake of a failed coup but also to protest claims Washington had backed it.
The United States was quick to denounce the military revolt in its NATO ally Turkey and to express support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s elected government.
John Kerry. (Photo: FRANCOIS LENOIR).
But some Turkish officials have reportedly suggested the United States was covertly sympathetic to the rogue military officers, a claim Kerry angrily denied.
“He made clear that the United States would be willing to provide assistance to Turkish authorities conducting this investigation, but that public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations,” Kirby said of Kerry’s call to Cavusoglu.
Earlier, Turkey’s labour minister Suleyman Soylu had reportedly suggested the United States was behind the revolt, which triggered fighting that left at least 265 dead.
The Telegraph UK: Turkey coup attempt: Counterterrorism chief critically injured after being shot in the head by coup plotters, as authorities round up more than 6,000 in ruthless crackdown.
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