It began on Friday night, when soldiers surprisingly seized two key bridges in Istanbul, took over state-controlled jets and then later seized control of the state-owned television network and forced an anchor to read a script denouncing Erdoğan as a traitor, the Daily Beast noted. The soldiers also stressed that this attack was necessary in order to restore democracy in their country.
During this uprising, the Istanbul airport and major bridges have been closed and the U.S. Embassy has urged all Americans in Turkey to be cautious. Sadly, this coup hasn’t gone down without any fatalities. According to numerous social media accounts, at least 17 people have been killed in Ankara, where the helicopters were reported to have fired on a local police facility, the Atlantic noted.
President Erdoğan, who happened to be on vacation at the time of the coup, stressed that the plotters will pay the highest “price.” Reuters wrote that the country’s justice minister says service members of a movement loyal to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen are behind the attempted coup. However, Gulen has yet to take any responsibility for the attacks.
In response, the White House released the following statement:
“The President spoke tonight by phone with Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the events in Turkey. The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected Government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed. The Secretary underscored that the State Department will continue to focus on the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Turkey. The President asked the Secretary to continue to keep him updated as the situation unfolds.”
In addition, NATO’s top official echoed President Obama’s words of support. “I call for calm and restraint, and for full respect for Turkey’s democratic institutions and its constitution. Turkey is a valued NATO ally,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.