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Turkey coup attempt: 161 killed in Ankara

Turkish president blames coup attempt in his country on movement led by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Jul 16 2016 9:49AM | Updated Date: Jul 16 2016 6:24PM

Turkey coup attempt: 161 killed in Ankara

Photo: abcnews.go.com

 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that he was in command of Turkey after thousands of civilians took on army units that had staged a coup, leaving at least 161 people dead.

 

Nearly 1,500 people, were also wounded in the coup attempt that began on Friday night. By Saturday morning, army was beaten back by "People's Power" and 2,839 officers and soldiers were detained, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.

 

President Erdogan called the attempted army coup against his government an "act of treason" and vowed to his supporters that the coup plotters will pay for the chaos.

 

In a televised address, Yildirim dubbed the coup backers as terrorists and said the nation had answered their attempt effectively, the Guardian reported.  

 

Chaos prevailed on Friday night amidst reports that soldiers were trying to take control of bridges and vital areas in major cities. Army choppers began air strikes and shelled key locations in the capital Ankara.

 

Bombs struck near the Turkish Grand Assembly. Airborne shelling at several locations included the ruling AK Party headquarters, the presidential complex and the General Staff, Anadolu News Agency said.

 

The President blamed Fethullah Gulen, a political figure and religious scholar based in the US, for the coup said reports.

 

"If you have the courage, come back to your country. If you can. You will not have the means to turn this country into a mess from where you are," he thundered.

 

However, Gulen denied he was behind the coup bid.

 

"I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey," he said. "The government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force."

 

Gulen's movement promotes a version of Islam that embraces science, education and interfaith dialogue, earning him millions of followers but also the suspicion of many in Turkey's establishment.