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Turkish military appears divided over coup attempt
Confusion reigns as at least 17 killed
W APTOPIX Turkey Milita Ledb 1
A tank moves into position as Turkish people attempt to stop them, in Ankara, Turkey, early Saturday. Members of Turkey's armed forces said they had taken control of the country Friday as explosions, gunfire and a reported air battle between loyalist forces and coup supporters erupted in the capital. President Erdogan remained defiant and called on people to take to the streets to show support for his embattled government. - photo by Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey — Members of Turkey's armed forces said they had taken control of the country, but Turkish officials said the coup attempt had been repelled early Saturday morning in a night of violence that left at least 17 dead, according to state-run media.

Explosions, gunfire and a reported air battle between loyalist forces and coup supporters erupted in the capital throughout the night and Turks heeded the president's call to take to the streets to show support for his embattled government.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported a bomb hit the Turkish parliament in Ankara. CNN-Turk television reported some police officers and parliament workers were hurt in the bomb attack.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an interview over FaceTime with the CNN Turk station, dismissed the military action as "an attempt at an uprising by a minority within our armed forces." His office declined to disclose his whereabouts, saying only that he was in a secure location.

The chaos capped a period of political turmoil in Turkey blamed on Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule, which has included a government shake up, a crackdown on dissidents and opposition media and renewed conflict in the mainly Kurdish areas of the southeast.

The coup attempt began late Friday, with a statement from the military saying it had seized control "to reinstall the constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms, to ensure that the rule of law once again reigns in the country, for the law and order to be reinstated."

But the military did not appear unified, with top commanders taking to television to condemn the action and order troops back to their barracks.

"Those who are attempting a coup will not succeed. Our people should know that we will overcome this," Gen. Zekai Aksakalli, the commander of the military special forces, told the private NTV television by telephone.

Fighter jets under the control of loyalist forces were flying over the capital to strike at helicopters flown by coup supporters, the state-run Anadolu news agency said. Private NTV television reported that one helicopter was shot down.

By Saturday morning, Nuh Yilmaz, a spokesman for Turkish National Intelligence told CNN Turk that the coup had been quashed, adding that small groups were still active.

During the fighting, 17 police officers were been killed in a helicopter attack on police special forces headquarters on the outskirts of Ankara, Anadolu said.

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