194 dead as Turkish people thwart coup attempt
KABUL (Pajhwok): At least 194 people were killed in overnight clashes, many of them civilians, and 754 soldiers arrested following a botched military coup against the Turkish government, media reports said on Saturday.
In Istanbul, the foreign ministry said the coup attempt was frustrated by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. “Our president and government are in charge. Turkish Armed Forces were not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the armed forces.”
The coup-makers received a well-deserved response from the nation, the ministry added. However, it remains unclear who was leading the coup faction or how much support it enjoyed. The group earlier declared a "peace council" ran the country and there was a curfew and martial law.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew into Istanbulafter the army group said it had taken over the country. He was seen surrounded by cheering supporters, saying in a live TV speech that the coup attempt was an "act of treason" and the army must be cleansed.
In Kabul, the national unity government said in a statement expressed its deep concerns over the military coup in Turkey. It hoped that the people of Turkey would live a peaceful life under the elected government. The peaceful transfer of power should be given preference because it was the legal and true manner of change, it added.
Currently on a visit to Russia, US Foreign Secretary John Kerry spoke to his Turkish counterpart and expressed America’s absolute support for Turkey's democratically elected, civilian government and democratic institutions". The US viewed with gravest concern events unfolding in Turkey, Kerry remarked.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed the need for avoidingbloodshed, saying "problems in Turkey need to be resolved in accordance with the constitution". Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia's priority was to secure the safety of Russian institutions and citizens in Turkey.
Erdogan told reporters at Ataturk Airportthe architects of the coup attempt would "pay a heavy price" and vowed not to surrender the country to intruders. According to the Associated Press, 1,563 military personnel have been detained.
Erdogan said: “They have pointed the people's guns against the people. The president, whom 52 percent of the people brought to power, is in charge. This government brought to power by the people, is in charge. They won't succeed as long as we stand against them by risking everything."
Sixteen coup plotters were killed in a clash at parliamentary headquarters. Erdogan’s general secretary was reportedly abducted by the coup makers. But he was later freed as a result of an operation on an air base.
An F-16 fighter shot down a helicopter that had been commandeered by soldiers supporting the coup, a government spokesman was quoted as saying. Helicopters also attacked the headquarters of TURKSAT satellite station on the outskirts of Ankara.
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