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Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounces coup attempt

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced a coup attempt as an “act of treason” and insisted his government remains in charge.A faction of the armed forces is accused of trying to seize power. Officials say the coup is over though this has not been confirmed.The cities of Ankara and Istanbul were hit by a night of bomb blasts, air strikes and gunfire which left at least 60 people dead and hundreds wounded.Some 1,563 soldiers have been arrested.Dramatic images showed dozens of soldiers walking away from their tanks with their hands up on one of Istanbul’s Bosphorus bridges, after they had closed it off to traffic all night.

The Red Crescent in Turkey says 800 people are in hospital in Ankara and 200 in Istanbul after the night of violence.

How did it begin

Events began on Friday evening when tanks took up positions on key bridges in Istanbul, which were blocked, troops were seen on the streets and low-flying military jets were filmed over Ankara, the capital.

A faction of the army then declared that a “peace council” was running the country, and there would be a curfew and martial law.

The group said it had launched the coup “to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms”.

It said that the democratic and secular rule of law had been eroded by the current government, and there would be a new constitution.

President Erdogan was in the south-west holiday resort of Marmaris at the time, but flew on to Istanbul. He said Marmaris had been bombed after he left.

He took to his mobile phone to make a televised statement, urging people to take to the streets to oppose the uprising. “I never believed in a power higher than the power of the people,” he said.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim ordered the military to shoot down aircraft being used by coup plotters.

The army’s top general and military chief of staff, Hulusi Akar, was reportedly taken hostage by the coup-plotters, but has now been released.

Outbreaks of violence

The Turkish parliament and presidential buildings were attacked overnight in Ankara. At least one bomb hit the parliament complex. MPs were believed to be hiding in shelters.

Gunfire was also heard outside Istanbul police HQ and tanks were said to be stationed outside Istanbul airport.

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