A group within Turkey’s military has attempted to overthrow the government and security forces have been called in to “do what is necessary“, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday.
“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV.
“The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so.”
Those behind the attempted coup would pay the highest price, he added.
Footage on local television channels showed military vehicles blocking bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul and tanks deployed at the city’s main airport. In the capital Ankara, warplanes and helicopters roared overhead. A Reuters journalist heard gunshots.
A Turkish official who did not want to be named said soldiers had been deployed in other cities in Turkey, but did not specify which ones.
Dogan News Agency reported the national police directorate had summoned all police to duty in Ankara.
Turkey has had a history of coup attempts, the last time being carried out in 1997, which forced the resignation of then-prime minister Nemettin Erbakan.
Update: An announcement on the Turkish state broadcaster TRT says that a curfew has been declared across Turkey and that airports are closed. The announcer says they are being made to read a statement by the military.
The statement promises a new constitution for the country and says that democracy and the secular rule of law had been undermined. Martial law has also been imposed, it adds.
The Foreign office has advised British citizens in Turkey to avoid public places and remain vigilant until the situation there becomes clearer. A statement read: “we are concerned by events unfolding in Ankara and Istanbul.”
The Turkish state broadcaster TRT has now gone off air, say the Reuters news agency and sources in Turkey. (Guardian)