Turkey coup: Military seizes power, Erdogan says he will defend government

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Ankara, July 16 (IANS) Turkey’s military late on Friday night claimed to have seized power of the country, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he would overcome what he called an uprising by a minority.

He told CNN Turk by mobile phone the action was by a “parallel structure” that would bring the necessary response. He has used this term in the past to refer to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric he accuses of fomenting unrest, BBC reported.

Erdogan called on people to take to the streets to oppose the uprising. Following the call, hordes of his supporters chanting against the military have come out in the streets.

He said: “I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports. I never believed in a power higher than the power of the people.”

Erdogan said he was on his way to Ankara and those involved in the action would pay a heavy price. His office said he was in a secure location.

The army has seized media outlets, including the state-run TRT channel. The channel has broadcast a statement on the orders of the military.

An announcer read a statement on the orders of the military that accused the government of eroding the democratic and secular rule of law. The country would be run by a “peace council” that would ensure the safety of the population, the Independent online quoted the statement as saying.

The statement said: “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.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for calm in Turkey.

“The Secretary-General is closely following developments in Turkey. He is aware of the reports of a coup attempt in the country. The United Nations is seeking to clarify the situation on the ground and appeals for calm,” RT.com quoted spokesman Farhan Haq as saying.

–IANS

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