All flights from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport have been canceled, a Reuters witness said on Friday, citing a pilot, after the military said it had taken control of the government.
Turkey’s armed forces said on Friday they had taken power in the country to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reportedly fled the country in a private jet following a military coup.
In the last few hours gunfire has been heard in the Turkish capital Ankara as military jets and helicopters were seen flying overhead.
In Istanbul, the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge have been closed, along with Attaturk airport where tanks and soldiers have been seen.
Erdogan statement to CNN
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan urged people to take to the streets to protest against what he described as a coup attempt by a minority faction within the military, vowing that it would meet with a “necessary response”, Reuters reports
He told a CNN Turk reporter via cellphone that Turkish people must gather in public squares to show their response to the attempted military takeover, in comments broadcast live on television.
Erdogan said he believed the attempted coup would be over within a “short time” and said those responsible would pay a heavy price in the courts.
He said the act was encourage by the “parallel structure” – his shorthand for followers of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who he has repeatedly accused of attempting to foment an uprising among his followers in the judiciary and the military.