Tuesday

27th Sep 2016

EU and US urge restraint as dozens killed in Turkey coup attempt

  • Clashes included strikes by Erdogan-loyal F-16 jets against tanks that had taken up positions outside parliament in the capital city. (Photo: svenwerk)

The EU and US have urged Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to show restraint after a failed coup d’etat led to military clashes and dozens of deaths in Ankara and Istanbul.

Turkish officials told local media on Saturday (16 July) that at least 90 civilians and 104 military personnel lost their lives in overnight violence, with more than 1,000 people injured.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The clashes included strikes by Erdogan-loyal F-16 jets against tanks that had taken up positions outside parliament in the capital city.

A bomb inside parliament killed 12 people. Soldiers from the military faction that tried to seize power reportedly also fired live ammunition at Erdogan-loyal crowds on a bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul and in Taksim square in the city centre.

Speaking from an EU-Asia summit in Mongolia the same day, EU Council leader Donald Tusk said: “Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government [of Erdogan], the institutions of the country and the rule of law”.

He called for a “swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order" and said the situation cannot be resolved by firepower alone.

The EU foreign service said "any escalation of violence involving civilians has to be avoided".

The White House said in a statement “all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed”.

The Nato military alliance, of which Turkey is a member, also called for "full respect" for Turkey's democratic institutions.

The shocking events unfolded late on Friday when tanks and soldiers rolled into Turkey’s two main cities, taking control of Istanbul’s main airport, bridges, public squares and some state-run media.

The rogue military group said in a statement that they did it "to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms".

It promised to create a “peace council” to rule the country and to draft a new constitution.

Erdogan was at the time on holiday in the seaside resort of Marmaris in south-west Turkey.

He said in a message broadcast by videophone on CNN-Turk from an unknown location: “I urge the Turkish people to convene at public squares and airports. There is no power higher than the power of the people”.

He added that the “chain of command has been violated. This is a step against the higher ranks, and the judiciary will swiftly respond to this attack.”

He then flew to Istanbul on Saturday morning, amid reports that the rogue soldiers had begun to surrender en masse to Erdogan-loyal crowds.

Addressing one gathering of people in the city, he said: “The government is in control … We are in charge and we will continue exercising our powers until the end. We will not abandon our country to these invaders.”

He later said on TV “It will end well… The most important thing right now is that millions of Turkish citizens are on the streets.”

His office added in a statement that the plotters would “pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey”, amid reports that more than 1,500 military personnel had been detained.

Turkey’s acting military chief, Umit Dundar, said on TV: “The coup attempt was rejected by the chain of command immediately. The people have taken to the streets and voiced their support for democracy”.

Speaking from exile in the US, Fethullah Gulen, an influential Islamic teacher who is hostile to Erdogan, said he “categorically” rejected accusations of his involvement in the events.

The attempted coup is the fifth such event in the country since 1960.

Erdogan’s party, the AKP, won recent elections in a mostly free and fair ballot.

But the president has in the past two years cracked down on opposition parties, journalists, independent judges and prosecutors in developments criticised by the EU.

EU rushing to ratify climate agreement

Environment ministers will try to agree this week to speed up the process to sign up to the Paris agreement. Otherwise it would not be present at the table of the signatories at a conference in November.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  2. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  3. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  4. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  5. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  6. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  7. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  8. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  9. YouthProAktivEntrepreneurship, Proactivity, Innovation - Turn Ideas Into Action #IPS2016
  10. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeDon't Miss the Mega Conference to Master Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. ACCAKaras Report on Access to Finance for SMEs in a Capital Markets Union