Saturday, July 16, 2016

Chaos in Turkey: 90 dead and thousands arrested in apparent failed coup

It appears that an attempted military coup in Turkey has left large numbers of people dead, wounded and arrested after a night of violence.

The government of President Erdogan claims that a faction of the Turkish armed forces attempted to overthrow it late on Friday evening, with soldiers taking over some news outlets and tanks and helicopters blocking bridges.

The government has accused the armed forces of "Treason" and issued blood-curdling threats.

2,839 soldiers, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested after an attempted coup that is now over, says Turkey's PM Binali Yildirim.

The attempted coup was a "black stain on Turkish democracy", he added, with 161 civilians and police killed.

Those held include two army generals, Turkish media say.

Explosions and firing were heard in key cities on Friday night and thousands heeded a call by President Erdogan to rise up against the coup-plotters.

The authorities also said 104 suspected coup-plotters had also been killed, and perhaps most alarmingly of all, state media say that some 2,745 Turkish judges have also been dismissed in the wake of the coup attempt.

The Turkish government has accused a former ally of President Erdogan, exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, of complicity in the attempted coup and demanded that the USA arrest and extradite him.

In response, Gülen rejected the conspiracy accusations in a rare interview with the Guardian and other reporters, and suggested that Erdoğan could have staged the coup. He also condemned the coup attempt, saying, “now that Turkey is on the path to democracy, it cannot turn back.”

Only two things are clear today about this coup - the first is that it is a disaster for Turkey, and although I consider that the government of President Erdogan is catastrophically bad for the country, it is nevertheless the elected government and had it been overthrown by force of arms that would have made a bad situation even worse.

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