A section of the Turkish military late on Friday attempted a coup, flying warplanes over Istanbul and capital city Ankar. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called the move an "act of treason" and said the army must be cleansed, BBC reported. He blamed the United States-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen for the attempted takeover, while addressing the people through a television channel.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said at least 161 people were killed in the failed coup and 1,440 wounded. He added that 2,839 members of army had been detained so far, and that among the plotters of the overthrow, around 20 were killed and 30 injured, Reuters reported. Reiterating the president's statement, Yildirim said the coup attempt had been foiled, the elected government remains in charge and that the situation was "completely under control".
As many as 2,745 judges were fired across the country for their suspected links with Gülen, state news agency Anadolu reported. US Secretary of State John Kerry said he has asked Turkey to submit evidence they have against the Islamic cleric, who is on a self-imposed exile in the country. Kerry added that they had not received a request to extradite Gülen yet, BBC reported.
Soldiers who had taken over the military headquarters have reportedly requested negotiations to surrender. Also, eight men have landed in Greece in a Turkish military helicopter and requested asylum in the country.
In the late hours of Friday, Turkish troops claimed they had seized power and declared martial law in the country. Soldiers took over TRT state television and ran a message, accusing the government of destroying democracy in the country. The statement said Turkey would be run by a "peace council" that would ensure the safety of its people. TRT went off air soon after and resumed broadcasting early on Saturday.
The Turkish Parliament held a meeting to discuss the coup. According to CNN, Ataturk Airport has reopened, and news channels have begun broadcasting again, after being temporarily shut down by soldiers earlier in the night. However, explosions and gunfire can still reportedly be heard.
The troop, comprising several colonels, shut down airports, two bridges over the Bosphorus waterway in Istanbul and stopped access to social media websites. Later, army tanks reportedly opened fire near Ankara's parliament building and took hostages at the military headquarters. The chief of Turkey's military staff was among the men taken hostage. By Saturday morning, Anadolu reported he was back in power.
As the events unfolded, the United States declared its support for the Erdogan government. Secretary of State John Kerry assured the country's foreign minister of "absolute support for Turkey's democratically elected, civilian government and democratic institutions".