ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is safe and the coup attempt by a small group of soldiers was “unsuccessful,” said a statement posted early Saturday on the website of the president’s office.
In his appearance on CNNTurk via a reporter’s mobile phone, Erdogan urged people to take to the streets to protect “democracy. “
“This is an act encouraged by the parallel structure.” he said. “I believe that this act will have the necessary punishment that will be given by our nation.”
The president was referring to the movement led by U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who has been accused of running a parallel state and trying to topple the Turkish government.
“I will be at the squares as well either in Istanbul or Ankara, ” Erdogan said in remarks delivered later on NTV.
There were reports of jets flying low over Ankara, Turkey’s capital, and Istanbul, the country’s largest city, on Friday night.
In Istanbul, the gendarmerie closed the two bridges that connect the city’s Asian and European parts over the Bosphorus Strait, with tanks reported on the bridges.
Tanks were sent as well to Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Friday night, where all flights were canceled.
Dogan News Agency reported that Ankara Police Department urged all staff on duty as extensive security measures were taken around the Turkish General Staff in the capital.
In other developments, Turkish soldiers were leaving the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul early Saturday morning, while some Turks were walking toward the airport, the Hurriyet daily said.
It said supporters of Erdogan were among the throng, as the leader had urged people to gather at squares and airports to protect democracy.
Three people were injured early Saturday morning in Istanbul when people attempted to cross a bridge over the Bosphorus, CNNTurk said.
It was not clear who fired the shots as the throng were trying to cross into the European side of the metropolis, the network said.
On Friday night, the Turkish gendarmerie closed the two bridges over the Bosphorus as word of a coup attempt spread. PNA/Xinhua/northboundasia.com