If successful, the overthrow of Mr Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would transform one of the most important US allies in the region while war rages on its border.
“We will overcome this,” Mr Erdogan said, speaking by mobile phone to the Turkish sister station of CNN. He called on his followers to take to the streets to defend his government and said the coup plotters would pay a heavy price.
The army has seized media outlets, including the state-run TRT channel. The channel has broadcast a statement on the orders of the military. An announcer read a statement on the orders of the military that accused the government of eroding the democratic and secular rule of law. The country would be run by a “peace council” that would ensure the safety of the population, the statement said.
The statement said: “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 general security that was damaged.
“All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.”
Aiports were shut across the country, access to Internet social media sites was cut off, and troops sealed off the two bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, one of which was still lit up red, white and blue in solidarity with victims of the Bastille Day truck attack in France a day earlier.
in the meantime, broadcaster NTV quotes MIT Turkish spy agency as saying that an attmepted military coup has been repelled.
Turkey, a Nato member with the second biggest military in the Western alliance, is one of the most important allies of the United States in the fight against Daesh.
It is a principal backer of opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country’s civil war, and host to 2 million Syrian refugees.
The country has been at war with Kurdish separatists, and has suffered numerous bombing and shooting attacks this year, including an attack two weeks ago at Istanbul’s main airport that killed more than 40 people.
A senior EU source monitoring the situation told Reuters: “It looks like a relatively well orchestrated coup by a significant body of the military, not just a few colonels. They’ve got control of the airports and are expecting control over the TV station imminently. They control several strategic points in Istanbul.
“Given the scale of the operation, it is difficult to imagine they will stop short of prevailing. It’s not just a few colonels,” the source repeated.
US Secretary of State John Kerry says he hopes for stability and continuity in Turkey following reports that an attempted military coup is under way in the NATO member state.
Moscow has called on the country to avoid “bloodshed” and Russia’s foreign minister is advising countrymen in Turkey to stay inside amid coup uncertainty