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FLASH | Attempted Military Coup Unfolding in Turkey

Gunfire was heard and jets were seen flying in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Friday as Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said a group within Turkey’s military had attempted to overthrow the government.

Other security forces had been called in to “do what is necessary,” Yildirim said.

“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV and reported by Reuters.

“The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so.”

Separately, Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge were both closed by military forces on Friday, local television channels reported, without giving a reason. Istanbul is 320 miles away from Ankara.

The Turkish military, however, claimed in a statement that it had taken over the country in order for democratic order and human rights to remain. In the statement, the military said that all existing foreign relations would continue and that rule of law would be a priority.

A Turkish presidential source said in a statement, according to Reuters, that the statement made on behalf of the armed forces was not authorized by military command.

Footage from NTV showed tanks at the entrance to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, and all flights from the airport were reportedly cancelled.

Many social media platforms were blocked in Turkey during Friday’s events, according to internet monitoring groups.

A correspondent for Turkish state broadcaster TRT told Reuters that soldiers had entered TRT buildings in Ankara.

The dollar jumped about 5 percent against the Turkish lira on those reports.

Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance.

Turkey’s current leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, originally came to power as prime minister in 2002 and became the country’s first directly elected president in 2014. He has increasingly centralized most governmental power in that office since then, though the presidency was largely a ceremonial office up until he took the role.

Erdogan has severely curtailed freedom of speech and expression and has brought an increasingly religious bent to the Turkish government. Most of his political support is concentrated in rural, conservative, Muslim areas of the country.

Erdogan did not immediately make any public statements, but CNN Turk reported that he was safe.

CNN Turk also reported that some hostages had been taken at the Turkish military headquarters in Ankara.

Turkey’s military, one of the largest in NATO, has traditionally served as a secular and pro-democratic force in Turkish politics since the reign of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the leader who took Turkey on a secular path in the period following the First World War.

Turkey’s armed forces have been engaged in simultaneous, low-level fighting against both ISIS militants on the border with Syria and with restive Kurdish elements in Turkey and Syria.

The U.S. Air Force operates a base at Incirlik, Turkey, near the Syrian border. The base is home to more than 2,000 American military personnel, and the Air Force has elevated the base to its highest alert level.

That force has grown in size in recent years as the United States has used the base to stage air strikes against ISIS fighters throughout Syria and Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he hopes for stability, peace, continuity in Turkey as the coup was under way.

Dogan News Agency footage showed cars and buses being diverted in Istanbul. CNN Turkey showed two military vehicles and a group of soldiers lined up at the entrance of one of the bridges in Turkey’s biggest city.

A Turkish official who did not want to be named said soldiers had been deployed in other cities in Turkey, but did not specify which ones. Dogan News Agency reported the national police directorate summoned all police to duty in Ankara.

This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.

—The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.

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