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Turkey Declares Three-Month State Of Emergency After Failed Military Coup

Turkey has been cracking down on what it says are anti-government forces and institutions after a failed military coup killed hundreds. BuzzFeed News correspondent Borzou Daragahi is reporting from Turkey.

What We Know So Far

  • 265 people have died after a faction in Turkey's military attempted to topple the country's government Friday.
  • The country's president has declared a three-month state of emergency.
  • Images from Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, showed low-flying military aircraft, tanks, and huge crowds in the streets.
  • Explosions hit the Turkish parliament building in Ankara, causing several injuries.
  • Speaking from Istanbul's Ataturk airport, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the failed uprising was a "gift from God to us because this will help us clean our military from the members of this gang".
  • The country's Prime Minister said in Ankara Saturday the situation was now "completely under control", and suggested the death penalty could be brought back to ensure such an attempt on the government could not happen again.
  • 6,000 arrests have been made following the coup, including high-ranking military and judicial figures.


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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday declared a three-month state of emergency following a failed military coup last week.

"The institution of the state of emergency is to protect those (democratic) values against any attack," Erdogan said during a late-night address to the nation Wednesday. "No one should have the slightest reservations about this."

More than 260 people were killed as fighter jets, military helicopters, and tanks roared through the streets of Turkey on Friday, looking to wrestle control from the democratic elected government.

Erdogan said the state of emergency was declared after meeting with the country's national security council and cabinet.

Anticipating criticism over the decision, Erdogan said during his address that European countries have taken similar measures after terror attacks, and detractors "have no right to criticize our decision. They should first look to themselves."

"We just want to be left alone," Erdogan said. "This nation can determine its own fate."

It was not immediately clear what impact the state of emergency would have, but Erdogan said the nation's governors would remain in place and the military would stay under their control.

"We have never compromised from democracy, and we will not do from now on," he said.

–Salvador Hernandez

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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — Selahattin Demirtas feared something ominous was happening. More than 20 years ago, he had fulfilled his obligatory military service in Istanbul. So, when he saw photographs late Friday night that showed armed soldiers blocking traffic on the two suspension bridges connecting the European and Asian sides of the city, he quickly suspected something out of the ordinary.

"I knew this was illegal," Demirtas, the 43-year old co-leader of Turkey's leftist, Kurdish-rooted opposition People's Democratic Party (HDP), told BuzzFeed News in an exclusive interview on Saturday at a residence in Diyarbakir on Saturday.

He was right. Factions of Turkey's long opaque military were staging a coup against the government led by Demirtas's arch-nemesis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For more than a year, Erdogan and his allies in the government and the press have been aggressively seeking to punish Demirtas, his party, and its supporters for alleged ties to Kurdish separatists, who are now fighting Turkey's armed forces in the southeast.

Yet as the ugly, noisy cacophony of the failed coup resounded across the world, Demirtas's voice stood out as a note of reason and principle. To the surprise of some observers, his party quickly voiced support for the government — one that has arrested its members, sought to strip its lawmakers of immunity, and repeatedly ignored, tarnished, and insulted it.

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Coup plotters acted quickly after finding out they had been under investigation, Turkish official says

An official for the Turkish government told reporters including BuzzFeed News on Monday that plotters of the failed coup were "known members of the Gulen Movement" and had been under investigation by authorities "for some time."

"They launched the coup on Friday out of a "sense of emergency when they realized that they were under investigation," the official said. However, he conceded that the faction had been hard for intelligence agencies to detect, and that authorities did not believe a coup was imminent.

The government had a list of people suspected of conspiring to stage a coup ahead of Friday's events, according to the official. However, there had been no arrest warrants in place.

Addressing why Turkish intelligence services were seemingly caught unaware by Friday's events, the official said that it was "a very secretive organization operating cells across the government."

"Their chain of command isn't hierarchical within individual institutions but cells typically include members from various agencies," he said. A number of judges were also linked to the military faction, the official added, who could have "assumed control of government agencies and court martial had the coup succeeded."

The official also said "at least several dozen" soldiers involved in the plot were still at large.

"Our concern is that, without the necessary precautions, there might be new attacks on government buildings and civilians by members of the failed junta," he added.

The government has detained around 6,000 people since Friday, and on Monday, the state-run Andalou Agency reported that the country's Interior Ministry suspended nearly 8,000 personnel.

— Francis Whittaker and Borzou Daragahi

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In a rare interview, self-exiled Turkish cleric calls coup allegations "slander"

Fethullah Gulen, a 75-year-old imam and leader of a Turkish religious sect who lives in a small town in Pennsylvania, told reporters that "Their rhetoric amounts to slander and nothing more," adding that the coup itself may have been staged.

"I don't believe that the world believes the accusations made by President Erdoğan. There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup and it could be meant for further accusations," Gulen said to reporters through an interpreter on his religious movement's compound in the Pennsylvania Poconos area.

Gulen also told reporters that the Turkish people shouldn't view a military coup "positively" because "through military intervention, democracy cannot be achieved."

In the interview, given to a handful of local and international news organizations, Gulen also compared the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the SS of the Nazi party.

"They have confiscated properties; they have confiscated media organizations; they have broken doors; they have harassed people in a fashion similar to Hitler's SS forces," Mr. Gulen was quoted as saying.

​President Erdogan asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen as the remaining soldiers who participated in the coup were arrested on Saturday.

"I say if we are strategic partners then you should bring about our request," Erdogan said in a televised speech on Saturday. US secretary of state John Kerry told reporters that no official extradition request has been made but that he expects "that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen."

Talal Ansari

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Britain's crisis response committee "working around the clock" to bring tourists home from Turkey

Following a meeting of COBR, the British government's emergencies committee, on Sunday morning, officials are said to be focussed on brining back tourists from the UK who remain stuck in Turkey.

"British consular staff are working around the clock to support and reassure British nationals in Turkey at the moment, with a particular focus on supporting those waiting for planes in Turkey's main airports," a Downing Street statement said. "Flights are starting to get back to normal and backlogs of passengers are beginning to ease."

Travel advice to Turkey from the UK will remain under review while the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the intelligence agencies, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and the Department for Transport, which were all represented at the meeting, continue to monitor the situation closely.

While they were satisfied that the situation in Turkey had began to stabilize, officials agreed that Britain must continue to work with the Turkish government to focus on the situation and its developments.

The Ambassador and embassy staff in Ankara also joined by video link. – Laura Silver

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"The clean-up operations are continuing," Turkey's justice minister Bekir Bozdag told state media Sunday.

He said the number of people being detained by police, which now totals 6,000, is likely to rise even further.

Several senior military commanders and judges have been arrested in the government's sweep of arrests.

Where do you keep 6,000 new prisoners in 30C/85F July heat?

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Though the coup attempt failed hours after it was launched, the sudden uprising in Turkey Friday night exposed the steep challenges the country faces.

The country may have avoided a military coup, but it still faces steep challenges as it tries to prevent future ISIS attacks, bolster international ties and tamp down a war with separatist Kurds.

Now, the country's leaders are looking for stability.

As one Middle East expert told BuzzFeed News: "This is a coup where everyone loses."

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A Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and accused by Turkey's president of inciting a failed military coup condemned the bloody uprising in a statement.

"Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force," Fethullah Gülen said in a statement released by his foundation, Alliance for Shared Values. "I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey."

On Saturday, as hundreds of soldiers who participated in the coup were arrested and as the country appeared to be under the control of its elected government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on the U.S. to extradite Gülen.

Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly met with Turkey's Foreign Minister to discuss the attempted the coup, and touched on Turkey's request to extradite Gülen, according to the state run Anadolu Agency.

According to a summary of the meeting from the State Department, Kerry "urged restraint by the Turkish government."

That included any information Turkey may uncover in its investigation about who were involved in the coup.

"(Kerry) made clear that the United States would be willing to provide assistance to Turkish authorities conducting its investigation, but that public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to bilateral relations," the statement read.

In his own statement, Gülen denied having any connection to the failed coup.

"As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt," the statement read. "I categorically deny such accusations."

– Salvador Hernandez

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday called upon the U.S. government to either arrest or extradite Fethullah Gülen, the self-exiled cleric he believes incited the coup attempt.

Gülen currently lives in Pennsylvania.

"Dear Mr. President: I told you this before. Either arrest Fethullah Gulen [sic] or return him to Turkey. You didn't listen," he said in Turkey late on Saturday, according to the New York Times.

"I call on you again, after there was a coup attempt. Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey. If we are strategic partners or model partners, do what is necessary," he added.

The moderate Islamic movement established by Gülen in the 1960s and 1970s has since become a secretive religious and political movement with schools and other establishments located all over the world. Its influence has even seeped into American politics, according to a BuzzFeed News report from 2014.

More recently, the Gülen-linked group was found to have hired a lobbying firm, called the Podesta Group, with strong ties to the Clintons.

Saturday evening in Turkey saw continued protests spill into the streets. While demonstrators opposed the coup, they were not necessarily defending Erdoğan.

"These people do not support Erdoğan, but they oppose the idea of a military coup," one unnamed academic told the Guardian.

"Turkey has a history of very painful, traumatic military interventions, so I was not surprised to see such united opposition to this attempt," he added

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Hundreds of people gathered outside Turkey's parliament buildings in the capital Ankara Saturday afternoon. Many waved Turkish flags in defiance to those who tried to overthrow the government.

Inside parliament appeared to be in ruins after it was bombed by troops who attempted the coup in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The government declared that order had been restored across the country after almost 3,000 military personnel involved in the coup were arrested on Saturday morning.

104 "coup plotters" were killed, authorities said.

In a text message sent to all mobile phone users in Turkey on Saturday morning, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan encouraged citizens to "take to the streets against the movement by these military staff members who believe they can suppress the Turkish nation".

Erdoğan described a public show of defiance as the "duty" of Turkey's people.

"Reclaim your democracy and peace, proud Turkish nation," Erdoğan wrote.

At height of tensions last night, Erdogan texted nation, urging people into streets and take control.

Many could be seen gathered around police vehicles as members of the military arrested after the coup were driven into the building.

More people still had gathered there to show support for the the government.

Erdoğan waved to the gathered crowds as he returned home.

– Laura Silver

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The extent of the damage from Friday night's violent events began to emerge Saturday.

Images from inside Turkey's parliament buildings in Ankara showed scenes of devastation after several explosions were reported in the area in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Initial reports said that twelve people were injured – two critically – in the incident.

Trees appeared to have been torn down as a result of the explosions in the area surrounding Turkey's parliament buildings.

Civilians had battled against troops throughout the night on Friday to regain control of the bridge.

"The English would never be able to do this, but we did, we're Turkish," one woman was heard to shout at a passing foreigner, according to journalist Patrick Kingsley of Britain's The Guardian newspaper in Istanbul.

Earlier Saturday, Turkey's prime minister Binali Yildirim said that the "situation is completely under control".

– Laura Silver

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Foreign minister demands return of soldiers who arrived in Greece by helicopter

Helikopterle Yunanistan'a kaçan 8 hain askerin derhal teslim edilmesini istedik

Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has demanded Greek authorities hand over eight "treacherous" soldiers who arrived in the country via helicopter Saturday.

Eight men were arrested after landing in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, whereafter they claimed political asylum, Greek station ERT reported.

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Flights from Turkey prohibited from flying into United States, US embassy says

A statement released by the US embassy in Turkey Saturday said that airline carriers from the US would not be traveling to Istanbul and Ankara airports, and that airline carriers traveling from Turkey, even via third party countries, would not be allowed entry into the US.

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Istanbul's Atatürk Airport Security - July 16, 2016

The embassy encouraged American citizens in Turkey to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel.

US government employees were also told not to attempt to travel to or from Istanbul's Ataturk airport due to "significantly diminished" security.

– Laura Silver

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2,839 military personnel have been arrested following Friday's attempted coup, Turkey's prime minister Binali Yildirim said in Ankara Saturday.

Speaking in the Turkish capital alongside senior ministers, Yildirim said the figure included high-ranking officials and that the "situation is completely under control".

He said that 161 people had been killed and 1,440 had been injured over the course of Friday night and Saturday morning. With the 104 "coup plotters" killed, the total death total is understood to be 265.

Even though Turkey does not have the death penalty, Yildirim said that to ensure something like this does not happen again, legal changes could be considered.

He said that the coup was a "black stain on Turkish democracy", and the work of a "terrorist military organisation" against which the country had remained strong.

"It was not an uprising with the Turkish command, it was a terrorist uprising," he said, according to Sky News' translation of the address, which was delivered in Turkish.

He added that Turkey's military and security forces had fought like heroes and that from now on 15 July would be known as a celebration of democracy in the country.

– Laura Silver.

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104 "coup plotters" have been killed, the Turkish army's acting chief of staff Umit Dundar told a news conference Saturday

Around the country, 90 more people had been killed, including 41 police officers, 47 civilians and two soldiers.

Breaking: Turkey military official says 194 people killed in putsch attempt, among them 47 civilians and 104 "coup plotters"

The total death toll is now 194.

Dundar said that the coup had failed as a result of "historic cooperation between the state and the people of Turkey".

He added: "we are grateful to every citizen who has stood for democracy. Turkey has closed the era of military coups once and for all and it is not to be open again".

– Laura Silver

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The British Foreign and Commonwealth office said "some flights to airports in Turkey are being diverted or cancelled," in a statement issued Saturday morning, and advised passengers to check with individual airlines before traveling.

EasyJet, a major carrier between the UK and Turkey was still running flights to the country as usual on Saturday morning. "Current advice from the British authorities is to continue our flying programme," their statement read. But, they added, "this will be kept under continuous review."

British Airways said it had cancelled all its Saturday flights to and from Turkey.

"We are keeping flights to Turkey under review," a BA spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "The safety and security of our customers and colleagues remains our top priority at all times."

For those already visiting Turkey, the Foreign Office advised travelers to stay indoors, avoid public places, in particular demonstrations, remain vigilant and avoid areas of conflict if you are in the vicinity of any military or security forces.

Just spoken to #Turkey foreign minister @MevlutCavusoglu. I underlined #UK support for the democratic elected government & institutions

Britain's newly appointed foreign secretary Boris Johnson said he had been in touch with Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to highlight the UK's "support for the democratic elected government & institutions".

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90 people have been reported dead and more than 1,000 injured during the coup attempt across Turkey, according to state news agency Andalou

Turkish authorities told Reuters they had detained 1,563 military personnel as the attempted coup began to falter into the early hours of Saturday.

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16 coup plotters killed, 250 others detained, Turkey's police chief says

"So far 16 officers have been killed and almost 250 coup plotters have been arrested," Police Chief Celalettin Lekesiz said, according to state-run Turkish broadcaster TRT.

The report said the deaths took place after clashes at military police headquarters.

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More than 750 members of the Turkish armed forces have been detained across the country after the attempted military coup, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkey's interior minister said five generals and 29 colonels had also been relieved of duties.

Earlier, television footage showed dozens of soldiers surrendering to pro-government forces on Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.

— Jon Passantino

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Video captures coup-backing soldiers surrendering bridge in Istanbul

Soldiers that had been occupying a bridge in Istanbul, Turkey surrender

Video footage aired on CNN Turk Saturday morning showed soldiers surrendering their position to government forces on Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.

However, even as the surrender took place, fighting continued in other parts of the nation, particularly in the capital city of Ankara, where multiple explosions were reported.

Moments earlier in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that the attempted coup had failed and vowed to bring those behind to justice. —Jason Wells

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The death toll in the coup attempt in Turkey overnight Friday rose to at least 60 on Saturday, CNN Turk, citing federal prosecutors, reported.

Turkey's Haberturk newspaper reported that the deaths were reported across the country.

Though the attempted coup appeared to be winding down early Saturday, with government forces prevailing and soldiers surrendering, there were ongoing reports of gunfire and continued clashes.

— Jim Dalrymple II

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At least 42 people were killed in the capital city of Ankara during an attempted coup in Turkey overnight Friday, local media, citing the federal prosector's office, reported.

News of the deaths came amid reports that pro-government forces had regained control of from the coup plotters who had tried to seize power. For several hours, there were reports of soldiers in support of the coup clashing with crowds of people. Images showed crowds trying to overwhelm tanks and injured people receiving treatment.

Multiple explosions also reportedly rocked Ankara, including a bomb that hit the parliament building. Initial reports had indicated that 12 people were injured in the blasts, including two critically.

—Jim Dalrymple II

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said those responsible for the attempted coup "are going to pay for this in the harshest way" and vowed to eradicate the military of opposition forces.

"This attempted uprising is a gift from God to us because this will help us clean our military from the members of this gang," Erdogan said after arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk airport early Saturday.

He went on say that F-16 fighter jets were flying above the country, and that those who plotted to take over the government were wrong to direct weapons at their own people. He also claimed that the hotel he had been staying at was bombed after he left.

"You have been given these weapons by this nation, and if you point your guns to the nation, that won't be forgiven," he said, according to translated live broadcast.

Erdogan also indicated those who plotted the attempted coup were taking orders from Pennsylvania — a reference to a secretive religious and political movement inspired by the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who lives in the Pennsylvania.

Started in Turkey as a moderate Islamic movement in the secular 1960s and 1970s, Gülen-inspired organizations now run schools, businesses, and media outlets around the world.

Gülen left Turkey in 1999 following charges that he was attempting to undermine the Turkish state. And his relationship with Erdogan soured in 2013 over a corruption investigation that rocked the president's party and that was blamed on Gülen and his followers.

(Read more about Gülen's U.S.-based movement here.)

In a statement issued as the military action unfolded, Gülen's Alliance for Shared Values strongly condemned "any military intervention in domestic politics of Turkey."

"Events on the ground are moving quickly and it would be irresponsible for us to speculate on them," the group added. "We remain concerned about the safety and security of Turkish citizens and those in Turkey right now."

— Jim Dalrymple II

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Clinton says she is watching the rapid developments in Turkey "with great concern"

Hillary Clinton in a statement on Friday called for calm and urged peaceful support for the "democratically elected government."

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Turkish president arrives in Istanbul amid fighting with opposition forces

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was on vacation Friday as military forces attempted a coup. However, after using a cellphone to FaceTime a call to action among citizens, his plane arrived in Istanbul Saturday morning, Reuters reported.

Erdogan's arrival coincided with reports of explosions in Ankara, Turkey's capital, as well as claims from government officials that the coup was winding down and had failed.

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Turkish national broadcaster TRT freed from military forces, CNN Turk broadcast disrupted

Turkish national broadcaster TRT and CNN Turk were both briefly occupied by coup plotters but ultimately were freed and returned to broadcasting early Saturday.

Live video broadcast from the TRT headquarters showed members of the newsroom giving statements and a crowd of people cheering after they were liberated by pro-government forces.

A short time later, however, CNN Turk was forced by to end its broadcast of live events, it's camera trained on an empty studio.

BREAKING Coup plotters are ending @cnnturk's broadcast now. #TurkeyCoupAttempt

Pro-government demonstrators, however, stormed the studio early Saturday and short time later, CNN Turk had resumed broadcasting.

Instead of airing an empty studio like CNN Turk, a TRT anchor read statements announcing martial law and a curfew on air Friday after the newsroom was seized.

The statements indicated the attempted coup had been successful. However, by Saturday morning, pro-government officials said that they were regaining control of the nation. Not long after that, the station was freed from the military forces who had taken it over.

A TRT anchor said on air Saturday that she had been forced to read statements at gunpoint while other members of the newsroom were restrained.

Turkey state TV journalist who read coup statement now says she did so at gunpoint

— Jim Dalrymple II

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Bomb hits Turkish parliament building in Ankara

Meclis'de son durum. Geçmiş olsun.

Multiple explosions rocked the Turkish parliament in Ankara, injuring 12 people, two critically, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The first explosion was reported in the early morning hours of Saturday, as members of the military attempted to wrestle control of the country from the democratically elected government.

Some of the most aggressive fighting during the attempted coup was observed from Ankara, which is located more than 270 miles of Istanbul.

Tanks were seen moving into the city and military helicopters fired from the air in Ankara during the military coup.

The state-run agency also reported that 17 Turkish officers had been killed when a helicopter attacked the police special forces headquarters nearby.

—Salvador Hernandez

Video captured an explosion at the parliament building

View this video on YouTube
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WASHINGTON — U.S officials appeared caught off guard after an attempted coup in Turkey Friday night.

The State Department scrambled to alert citizens in Turkey, urging them to shelter in place and check in with family members in the U.S. The White House said President Obama had spoken with Secretary of State John Kerry, and both urged "all parties" in Turkey to support the democratically elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and "avoid violence or bloodshed," but the statement avoided using the word "coup."

Turkey is a key U.S. ally in the war against ISIS, and also a member of NATO, where it's considered a critical launching pad for Western operations in the Middle East — and Western officials will be parsing reactions carefully. Turkey is not a major recipient of foreign aid dollars from the U.S. — but it's a key military ally. It's one of the top 10 recipients of U.S. military gear, and a critical partner in the fight against ISIS.

U.S. law "restricts assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree," so the answer to this question would steer the answers to all others.

—Ali Watkins

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The Associated Press, citing Turkish media, reported that soldiers opened fire on people as they tried to cross the Bosphorus bridge in Istanbul in protest.

Images from the scene showed people carrying the wounded away and treating their injuries.

Large crowds took to the streets across the country and residents flooded supermarkets and bank machines in anticipation of a prolonged crisis.

In one image from Ankara, a crowd of people could be seen attempting to overwhelm a tank.

In a video, purportedly also from Ankara, gunfire could be seen raining down from an aircraft.

HUGE: Crazy footage shows helicopters firing a target on the ground in Ankara.

Other video aired on Turkish media showed people lying on the ground and being dragged away amid the sound of gunfire.

Here's video of the crowds in Turkey, some people lying on the ground.

—Jim Dalrymple II

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17 Turkish officers killed in helicopter attack, state media reports

BREAKING: 17 Turkish officers reportedly killed in helicopter attack on police special forces headquarters on outskirts of Ankara.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported 17 Turkish officers were killed during a helicopter attack.

The attack occurred just outside of Ankara, which is more than 270 miles east of Istanbul.

The helicopter reportedly attacked the headquarters for the police special forces during an attempted coup orchestrated by what Turkish officials have said is a faction within the military.

Anadolu Agency had reported jets and military helicopters flying over Ankara.

— Salvador Hernandez

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"Pro-democracy forces" regaining control of Turkey, senior government official says

Cemal Hasimi, an advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, said told CNN that the attempted coup was orchestrated by a "faction" within the military and that the majority of the armed forces support the democratically elected president. He also said pro-democracy forces were regaining control.

"Within 24 hours we hope to regain control," he told CNN.

The comments echo those of President Recep Erdogan, who earlier blamed the uprising on a faction within the government loyal to the Fethullah Gulen, a secretive cleric exiled in Pennsylvania who is a longtime enemy of the president.

Gulen and his Alliance for Shared Values issued a statement Friday denouncing the military action, but declining to speculate on the motivations behind what was unfolding.

"We condemn any military intervention in domestic politics in Turkey," the alliance said in a statement.

Turkey's armed forces have repeatedly staged coups against elected government, including in 1960, 1971, 1980, 1993 and 1997. The moves have earned it the mistrust of Turkey's Islamists and liberals, some of whom originally backed Erdogan.

Steeped in Turkey's secular traditions, the military has had a strained relationship with Erdogan and signs of discontent have emerged. In a startling succession of events over the few months, Erdogan has released a group of military officials previously accused of plotting a coup, backtracked on an ambitious foreign policy to restore normal relations with Russia and Israel, and handed control of the ongoing war against Kurdish militants in the southeast from politically appointed governors to the army.

—Jim Dalrymple II and Borzou Daragahi

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Turkey's military said that it had taken control of the country's government overnight Friday, fueling reports of a coup.

"Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was damaged," the Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement. "All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue."

A military statement read on state TV cited increasing autocratic rule and terrorism as reasons for the apparent coup, the AP reported.

A source within the administration of Turkish President Recep Erdoğan told journalists that a group within the military was behind the action.

Erdogan said early Saturday that the attempted coup was the work of a "minority" and vowed that "they will pay for this."

Erdogan spoke on live TV via FaceTime and said the orchestrators of the coup would not be allowed to take over.

"They will pay for this," he said. "We will end this occupation. We are inviting everyone to come out on to the streets."

Erdogan added that the people behind the takeover "can't oppose the public."

"I know no power greater than the power of the public," he said.

A source in Erdogan's administration told reporters that he was in a "secure location," but did not say where that was.

Martial law was declared just hours after the coup began.

Turkey's national broadcaster TRT read a statement from the military on air announcing martial law.

Istanbul's Ataturk Airport — one of Europe's busiest and the scene of a terrorist attack in June — was also reportedly closed late Friday night.

A curfew was announced on state TV as well.

Several hours into the coup, images broadcast on live TV show large crowds in the streets, in some cases swarming around tanks.

Images shared online showed low-flying aircraft over Ankara, the nation's capital.

One video appeared to show gunfire from an aircraft as well.

Images also showed military personnel conducting bridge closures in Istanbul.

Other images from Istanbul showed armored military vehicles and people in military uniforms telling people to go home.

In one video, someone could be heard asking if a drill was going on.

"No, it's not a drill, everyone, go home," a man in a uniform replies, later adding "the military has taken over."

The U.S. State Department encouraged Americans in Turkey to make contact with friends and family, while Secretary of State John Kerry said he hoped for stability.

Kerry was in Moscow when the coup began. He told the AP that he also hoped for continuity in Turkey, which is a member of NATO.

Kerry also said it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on what was happening.

President Obama was briefed on the situation Friday by his national security team.

The State Department tweeted that U.S. citizens "should shelter in place and stay in doors." Americans were also urged not go to the U.S. Embassy or consulates, but rather to reach out to friends and family to let them know that they are safe.

This is a developing story. Check back later and follow @BuzzFeedNews on Twitter for updates.