The Turkish military on Friday said that it had assumed power over Turkey, in what the prime minister has termed an illegal act.
“The power in the country has been seized in its entirety,” said a military statement read on NTV television, without giving further details. The military‘s website was not immediately accessible.
The Turkish military had earlier said that it had launched a coup on Friday.
Soldiers were seen on the streets in Istanbul and Ankara as jets flew low overhead, while ordinary citizens rushed for the safety of their homes after witnessing the coup attempt.
“The power in the country has been seized in its entirety,” said a militarystatement quoted by Turkish media.
It said the move had been made “in order to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms and let the supremacy law in the country prevail, to restore order which was disrupted.”
“All our international agreements and commitments retain their validity. We hope our good relations will continue with all countries in the world.”
Television pictures showed tanks deployed outside Ataturk airport in Istanbul. Reports said that flights into the airport had been halted.
AFP correspondents said that Istanbul had been turned into a ghost town after the events, with people who had been outside for a Friday night rushing to the safety of their homes.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Friday denounced what he said was an “illegal attempt” by elements in the military.
“We are working on the possibility of an attempt. We will not allow this attempt,” he told NTV television by telephone, without expanding on the nature of the move but saying it was by a group in the Turkish military.
“Those who are in this illegal act will pay the highest price,” he added, saying it would not be correct to describe the move as a “coup”.
Turkey has a history of coups with governments ousted on three occasions in the last decades by full military coups.
However analysts had usually assumed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had good relations with themilitary.
There has been no comment from Erdogan so far.
But presidential sources said: “This is an attack against Turkish democracy. A group within the Armed Forces has made an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government outside the chain of command.
“The statement made on behalf of the Armed Forces wasn’t authorised by themilitary command. We urge the world to stand in solidarity with the Turkishpeople,” the sources added.
Turkey’s top general was taken hostage at the military headquarters in the capital Ankara after the attempt to bring down the government, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“General Hulusi Akar has been taken hostage by a group in the military who attempted an uprising,” the agency said citing “credible sources”.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said he hoped for “peace and continuity” in Turkey.
Turkish security forces on Friday partially shut down the two bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul as military jets were heard flying low over Ankara, reports and AFP correspondents said.
The Bosphorus and Fatih bridges were closed by the gendarmerie — a branch of the Turkish militarydedicated to internal security — for traffic travelling from Asia to Europe, NTV television said.