Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has flown in to Istanbul, after an army group said it took over the country. He told a live TV speech that the coup attempt was an “act of treason” and the army must be cleansed, BBC reported. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also said the situation was largely under control.
Sixty people died during overnight clashes, many of them civilians, and 754 soldiers were arrested, officials said. Earlier, one of the helicopters being flown by forces involved in the coup attempt was shot down over the capital Ankara.Sporadic gunfire is still reported in major cities.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the military chief of staff, Gen Hulusi Akar, are still unknown. He is reported to have been taken hostage by rebel soldiers.
Gen Umit Dundar, commander of the 1st Army, has been appointed acting chief of staff.
Reports also say rebel soldiers in some areas have been surrendering their weapons to police loyal to President Erdogan.
The surrender of one unit of 60 soldiers, who had taken control of one of the Bosphorus bridges in Istanbul, was shown live on TV on Saturday morning.
Istanbul’s main Ataturk airport is now under army control, and flights – which had been interrupted for some hours – were due to resume from 06:00 (03:00 GMT).
In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said the coup attempt “was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our president and government are in charge”.
“Turkish Armed Forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the armed forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation.