On 15 July 2016, Turkey’s military claimed that it had successfully taken over the country. According to reports, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought refuge in Germany:
— 24 Hours Europe (@24heuropegr) July 15, 2016
Footage from its capital city showed jets flying very low overhead:
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Turkey’s Hürriyet Daily News reported that a top general may also have been taken hostage:
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey is facing an uprising attempt from inside the army, with the state-run Anadolu Agency reporting that Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar is being kept as a hostage with a group. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to make a statement, broadcaster CNNTürk said. A CNNTürk reporter said a helicopter shoot on the General Staff headquarters in Ankara. CNNTürk reported that two busses full of soldiers entered the headquarters of the state-run TRT in Ankara. Channels started to broadcast wheather forecast only. “This cannot be called a coup for the moment. This is an uprising,” PM Yıldırım said. The security forces are in action against this he said, in phone call to broadcaster NTV.
The Guardian reports that Turkey’s military has released a statement:
The full Turkish military statement reads: “Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged. “All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.” The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is on holiday and outside the country. Reuters has quoted a source within his office as saying that he is safe.
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and the sounds of jets flying low over the country’s capital, Ankara. The U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans in Turkey:
Social media was blocked throughout the country, according to reports:
Turkey Blocks, a Twitter account that regularly checks if sites are being blocked in the country, reported at 1:04 PM Pacific (11:04 PM Istanbul time) that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were all unresponsive, though Instagram and Vimeo remained available.
Some residents of Turkey appear to be able to get online, likely via a VPN or some other anonymizing service. Many are publishing images of military occupation of important landmarks like bridges, and one tweet shows what appears to be a fighter jet flying very low over Ankara. Tanks have been photographed at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
The country has been increasingly unstable in 2016, as major cities weathered polarized politics and violence under Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian regime. Its last coup attempt took place in 1997.